Price: $1.25 million
A brick French country manor painted white and gray is for sale in Old Edgebrook. A contributing structure in the 41-house landmark district buffered from the city by Forest Preserve, the 1921 four-bed also claims the largest lot at one half acre. The house's soft, inviting façade framed by a deep setback is the work of Clarence Hatzfeld, a champion of Craftsman homes who was best known for designing Masonic Temples and Park District field houses. The checkered marble foyer at the foot of a broad engraved wooden staircase sets expectations high, and there’s no letdown.
Attached to the foyer are dining room and living room, each with French windows and high fretted ceilings. The carpeted living room offers a large fireplace and steps down into a solarium. The dining room brings the hardwood with a Greek key edge design. The sellers, Jim Kartheiser and Kathy Kennedy-Kartheiser, purchased in 1990 and have babied the property since.
“As a market researcher, I used to analyze neighborhoods by mounting aerial blow-ups on giant display boards,” says Jim, a lifelong Chicagoan spending more and more time in Arizona. “One day I noticed houses in the middle of woods, so the next weekend I drove up in the snow to find a herd of deer walking down the street. I was sold right then and there.”
Appreciation for the home grew as the couple waited for an opportunity to buy. They missed a shot at the house in 1985 and started with something smaller a few blocks away. Finally, the property came back on the market and they pounced. At the time, the sellers were living in Uptown and wanted more space and tranquility without being marooned in a distant suburb. They paid $740,000 for the 4,300-square-foot home and are asking $1.25 million. The kitchen is just a few years old, new built-ins match the historic elements, and the living room, theater room, solarium, and huge family room with a bar were renovated. Jim found a guy on the South Side who could make molds to match old trim and wainscoting.
The home’s fluidity ties most rooms together and to the garden. It can handle a couple hundred partiers with ease, anchored by the family room with its wooden vaulted ceiling. The story of the in-ground pool is that it began life as a reflecting pond. The property was considerably larger then, and included tennis courts. Still, the lot is large enough to keep the pool from dominating. Exquisite English gardens, a sculpted lawn, and a stone patio enrich the outdoor space. The angled lot dodges utility lines and creates broad street frontage.
Railroad executives developing land along the Burlington Northern spurred on Old Edgebrook. This included the 18-hole Edgebrook Golf Course, now public, and a lot of the land that would make up the preserves. The wooded block of Central Avenue as you drive into Old Edgebrook is platted lots but can never be built on. Woods on three sides are threaded with footpaths and the North Branch trail is a short walk away at Devon Avenue. It will soon be extended south of Old Edgebrook to Foster Avenue.
The neighborhood has houses dating to 1890 and it has several 1960s ranch homes. The last house built here is 20 years old, Jim tells me, and strict landmark regulations govern anything that might come along. But this isn’t Alta Vista Terrace; there’s enough architectural variety that no home is beholden to any one style.
Baird & Warner’s Mike McCallum has the listing.