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List Price: $8.9 million
List Price (with side lot): $10 million
The Property: What does $10 million buy in Lincoln Park? A whole lot—plus the lot next door.

Joe Nicholas has put his 11,000-square-foot Lincoln Park house up for sale. He’s asking $8.9 million—and for another $1.1 million, he’ll throw in the lot next door, a space big enough for another house but currently used as his kids’ play yard.

As you will see in today’s video, the deep side yard is not the only outdoor space this house offers. From the living room, French doors open onto a raised front terrace overlooking the street; on the opposite side of the room, another set of French doors lead out to a more secluded terrace and bring light into the living, dining, and breakfast rooms.

Though grandly scaled, the living and dining rooms, with their high ceilings and tall doorways, are relatively simple, their walls and moldings painted a serene white and their wood floors a handsome herringbone. “The luxury is in the simplicity,” says Janet Owen, the agent representing the seller. She notes that the interiors are inspired by the work of the French interior designer Jean-Michel Frank, who emphasized minimal adornment and a lack of clutter.

The Frank connection is visible in the kitchen section of the house, where the kitchen, large breakfast room, and family room are elegant with their oak cabinetry and doors and tall windows. The three rooms open into one another via cutouts and doorways and flow out to a sizable rear terrace.

Beyond and above the terrace, on top of the garage, is an outdoor sports court with a basketball hoop. All of this outdoor space—and more on the top floor of the residence—come with the house, of course. The side lot, which is separate from all these and runs along the north side of the house, won’t be sold separately unless the buyer of the house doesn’t take it, Owen says.

With or without the lot, there’s ample play space, including not only the sports court but also a very large playroom at the rear of the second floor. It spans the entire 45-foot width of the house. On that floor there are also four bedrooms. There’s another in the basement, along with a movie theatre, a gym room, and a billiards room.

All of that is separate from the tranquil master suite, which is on the third floor at the top of a curved staircase that hangs beneath a big skylight. The master floor has a walnut-paneled library on the east end, with a wrap-around balcony revealing terrific views of the neighborhood and the downtown skyline. There’s a large master bath with long, sleek vanities on two opposite walls and a big soaking tub framed beneath windows. The master bedroom, enlarged by Nicholas after he bought the house, has two large dressing rooms and the same waterfall ceiling moldings, stylish ridged door hardware, and other fine touches that were visible throughout the main floor. The bedroom opens onto a balcony that is about the size of my first apartment.

Price Points: Nicholas paid $8.5 million for the house in August 2010. At the time, I reported that it was the highest price paid in the city in a little over four years. That was during the doldrums; the luxury market has been hotter lately, as evidenced by the $15 million sale of a Park Tower penthouse in November and the $12.25 million sale of a lakefront mansion in Winnetka in December. Owen says that the asking price for today’s house reflects the improvements Nicholas made and the current state of the market. She says she doesn’t know why Nicholas is selling less than three years after buying.

Listing Agent: Janet Owen of Prudential Rubloff; 312-258-0700 or