List Price: $4.7 million
The Property: The 1880s charm of this Lincoln Park home is intact in its detailed brick façade and its tall Italianate windows, but a big rear addition opens the home up from the usual beeline-straight city-house floor plan to an L-shape that invites both family living and entertaining.

When David Van Zandt and Lisa Huestis bought the house in 1996, it already had an addition. “But it hadn’t been done very well,” says Nancy Joyce, their real estate agent then and now. “It really had to go.” Working with the architect Gerhard Zinserling, they took down that small addition and created a new one that contains a parlor, the kitchen, and a large family room on one level and a three-car garage and other spaces below. What resulted was a main floor whose two major living spaces—the formal (original) living room and the informal (new) family room—meet at the corner kitchen, a contemporary area punctuated by a big island of cabinetry.

The two spaces are like fraternal twins: while they look different, they have similar genes. Each is about 600 square feet and brightly illuminated from numerous windows. Joyce says that the flow between those formal and informal spaces was key to the couple’s frequent entertaining when Van Zandt was dean of the Northwestern University School of Law. (In August, he was tapped to be the president of the New School in New York City, a post he assumed in January; Huestis, an associate professor at Northwestern’s law school, went to New York as well.)

The update brought at least one new feature to the old structure: a hexagonal bay of windows in the dining room that looks out over the yard. The upper floor of the addition contains a large master suite that includes two bathrooms, closets for two, a sitting room, and an office. Also on that floor, in the original section, are three family bedrooms and two baths. The basement has a bedroom, a rec room, and a rentable one-bedroom apartment.

The L-shape of the addition was possible because the home sits on one half of an unusually wide lot—55 feet, compared to the city norm of 25. The addition stands at the rear of the side yard, separated from the street by a deep, nicely landscaped garden and mature trees. As I mention in the video, the yard is big enough that passersby could mistake it for a pocket park—but its privacy is protected by an antique iron fence.

Price Points: The couple paid $922,500 for the property 15 years ago, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. In the years since, they have spent extensively on the remodeling and addition, approximately doubling the size of the house. Joyce would not specify their total investment in the home.

Listing Agent: Nancy Joyce of Koenig & Strey Real Living; 312-339-4949