Fans of midcentury modern design, take note: here's a rare opportunity to own a meticulously preserved North Shore home by architect Ed Dart, of Water Tower Place fame.
The four-bedroom house, located at 565 Meadow Road in Winnetka, was listed last week for $600,000 by its current owners, Erin and Robert Paul. The couple bought the property in 2012 after moving from Evanston — but the sale almost wasn't meant to be.
“At the time, we had a two-year old daughter and another child on the way, but couldn’t find another house in Evanston,” Erin says of the family’s hunt. “I expanded my search criteria and this house popped up. [I] told my husband that I should just drive by and look at it.”
Days after Erin first passed by the property, the couple decided to attend an open house.
“My husband had a profound emotional response to it. But from a pragmatic position with a two-month old, I thought, ‘You are crazy,' ” Erin says of the 2,366 square-foot home.
Still, the Pauls couldn't pass up the find, and paid $510,000 for the property in December 2012.
Constructed in 1954, the brick, steel, and glass home was built into a small hill, integrating it with its surroundings. The home's interiors include wood paneled walls, exposed cedar ceilings, and original Shoji screen doors. It also boasts a substantial outdoor porch with a steel and wood overhang.
Originally, the Pauls weren’t big midcentury buffs, or even deeply knowledgable about Dart’s work. But after moving in, the couple joined various online groups and went on tours of Dart's other properties to learn more about his style and influence. Eventually, they decided to make some improvements to the home, but wanted to remain sensitive to preserving the home's architectural integrity.
“We were trying to figure out a way to expand the house without destroying it,” Erin says. “One thing that was suggested was walling off the porch and making that a bedroom, but that porch really makes the house.”
The Pauls ended up replacing the roof using custom-milled panels and oversized gutters that matched the original set. Past that, the house ended up being less of a fuss than the couple had anticipated. “It just needed a good cleaning and some TLC to bring it back to life,” Erin says.
Listing agent Ryanne Bumps of @properties adds that the home is rare for the area, not only for its architectural merit, but as a largely untouched example of Dart’s work.
“Dart only worked between the 1950s and 1970s and did only a handful of residential homes,” Bumps says. “He’s up there with Frank Lloyd Wright in that sense.”
In recent years, Winnetka has earned a reputation for its hands-off attitude toward preservation. Developers have demolished a number of architecturally significant homes in the area in favor of building larger ones. Erin says that some neighbors were surprised it wasn't developers who'd bought 565 Meadow Road in 2012, given its position on a valuable double lot.
“It sold for the value of the land,” Erin says. “Some of the neighbors were so grateful that we were living in the home.”
After thoroughly exploring the idea of expanding the home, the Pauls decided to move on. However, they'll pass along their plans and draft drawings for a proposed addition to the home's next owner.
“Our plans just changed and we decided it was something we didn’t want to continue with, but there’s so much potential to the house.”