Modernist Evanston home

List Price: $1.1 million
Sale Price: $1.1 million
The Property: Sitting low and austere on a block of frilly Victorians in Evanston, the former home of the modernist architect David Haid is easy to overlook. But it sure attracted notice when it went on the market: “We had two full-price offers within 24 hours,” says Peter Cummins, the @Properties agent who represented the property for his father and stepmother, Robert and Deborah Cummins.

While the sidewalk-level view of the blank front wall that you see in my photo may not show it, the home exemplifies the modernist architects’ ideals of simplicity and pure function. Look at some of the listing photos, and you can feel Haid, who built the house in 1968, stripping away anything that’s not essential. He kept only simple rectilinear spaces, a few interior walls, and the walls of windows (not seen from the street) that allowed light to pour in.

The Evanston home and the neighboring home

The design was a direct response to its grandiose neighbors. Shortly after Haid’s death in 1993, his heirs were selling the house and invited me inside. They explained that the family had previously lived one door north in a large Victorian (at left in the photo, right), whose every interior wall and bit of trim Haid had painted a stark, modernist white. Later he split off the side yard, built today’s two-bedroom pavilion, and sold off the big house.

Haid’s best-known work is the glassy pavilion that hangs over a ravine in Highland Park. It played a key role in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, standing in as the garage where Cameron’s father kept his sports car. (Along with the adjacent house by another architect, the pavilion had been on the market for $2.3 million and then $1.8 million; it has been off the market for renovations since last summer.)

A protégé of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Haid also designed the Dyett Middle School (now Dyett High School) in Washington Park, as well as an Illinois Tollway oasis in South Holland that looked like this until a recent renovation made it look like this.

The same year his tollway oasis went up, Haid completed today’s house for himself and his family. There are two bedrooms, a walled courtyard and a walled backyard, and terrazzo floors throughout. “It’s not the biggest house, but it’s amazing space,” Peter Cummins says.

Robert Cummins, an attorney, and Deborah Cummins, a poet, bought the house from Haid’s estate in March 1994, paying $735,000, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. They renovated the kitchen and the bathrooms. Now older and spending much of their time in Maine, according to Peter Cummins, the couple put the house on the market on June 6, 2011, and had it under contract a week later. The sale closed on February 17. Cummins says that the sellers wanted the long closing time so they could pack up. The buyers, who are not yet identified in public records, were people, he says, who “understood that you’re buying a practical piece of art—art you can live in.”

Price Points: Cummins suggests the house distinguished itself from the big Victorians around it in another way: by selling at a higher per-square-foot price than they would. He could not provide figures and I was unable to find good recent sales of Victorians in southeast Evanston for comparison. But at 2,936 square feet, this house went for $374 per square foot; Trulia says that the going price for all Evanston homes (not only impressive Victorians) is $283 per square foot.

Listing Agent: Peter Cummins of @Properties, 847-710-6798