Chicago recently changed its zoning policy regarding Accessory or Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) to help ease the housing shortage in the city. Sometimes known as backyard or coach houses, ADUs are existing structures directly behind single-family homes or apartment buildings on the same lot. Now — for the first time in 65 years — the ban on building or converting coach houses, basement units, and attic apartments has been lifted and they’re legal once again. While the following properties for sale may not be brand new ADUs, this housing type is currently in high demand for a number of reasons. High costs of living have made ADUs an affordable option for both elderly and disabled adults as well as multi-generational households. These small but versatile independent housing units can also serve as rental income as well as additional work and/or living space for families. So let’s take a look at five coach houses currently for sale.
Set behind a historic single-family home in East Lakeview, this 1890s coach house might cost a pretty penny, but the nearly 2,000-square-foot dwelling has a lot going for it. From an architectural standpoint, the light-filled space has the feeling of an urban loft with its exposed brick, glass blocks, and soaring double-height ceilings. The modern white SCIC Italia kitchen contrasts beautifully with the colorful backsplash and original brick walls. Its design is flexible with a ground-level third bedroom that can also be used as either a guest room or den. Additional space can be found outside on the private garage roof deck, a perfect place to enjoy the warm summer months.
In Lincoln Park near Fullerton and Ashland avenues is this cozy two-bedroom, three-bathroom coach house directly behind an 1880s duplex. It’s a perfect setting for anyone looking for a private oasis away from all the street noise but in the middle of everything. This ADU is walking distance from dining, shopping, and Wrightwood Park. Although it seems small (the unit comes with a murphy bed), there are two outdoor spaces with a private patio tucked underneath the deck. And don’t worry about storage: The coach house comes with an entire insulated attic as well as an organized closet off the primary bedroom.
In historic Bronzeville is a beautifully impressive 1896 greystone at the corner of 48th Street and MLK Drive. A remnant from this time period sits at the rear of its lot, a brick coach house where you will find this one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo for sale at a reasonable price of $159,500. ADUs are becoming popular not just for their low-maintenance and overall privacy, but also for their affordability. It might be just 900 square feet of living space, but this unit just above the garage has been updated to fit contemporary living. Unlike other condos where neighbors share walls, in a coach house like this one you are free to stomp around and play music as loud as you want.
Think back to the 19th century when Chicago was dependent not on cars and the elevated train, but on horses and buggies. Coach houses were built to store this form of personal transportation with apartments above for coach drivers and groomers. Imagine the stories this nearly 150-year-old coach house could tell. It sits on the back of a lot in West Town, hidden away by a front wooded garden. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom residence is being marketed as a tear down, but I see it as a perfect opportunity for anyone looking to rehab a historic building. Who wouldn’t want a private oasis in the middle of a lively city neighborhood?
Leaving Chicago to cross the border into Oak Park’s Ridgeland Historic District to share with you a property for sale that includes not just a coach house but the entire three-flat in front of it. Designed by local architect E.E. Roberts for J.L. Heigh in 1914, the main Prairie School-style building needs a lot of work, which is probably why it’s being sold as-is. But this fixer-upper offers a perfect opportunity for anyone looking for a rehab project. The adorable coach house and three-flat have plenty of charm with their art glass windows, built-ins, and original woodwork. What a versatile property with plenty of options as the new owner could turn it into multi-family or rental units.