Frank Lloyd Wright designed four houses in Beverly/Morgan Park; Walter Burley Griffin has several to his name, plus his own historic district on 104th Place. But H.H. Waterman, a Wright contemporary, spurred development of the ridgeline with stately and adventurous architecture. He is behind at least 15 structures here. One of his smaller works, an Arts & Crafts home with Prairie Style influences completed in 1911, is listed for sale at $445,000. It is pleasingly symmetrical, stucco and brick, and set amongst a dozen oaks almost its age in the Ridge Historic District.
As the first home on the block, it claims a chunk of hilltop on an oversized lot (large even by neighborhood standards, at 75’ x 198’). The house's footprint is small, so the property manages a park-like feel with a professionally landscaped backyard fit for forts and hammocks. Stepping inside, lavish mahogany woodwoork covers the cozy foyer. A grand brick fireplace anchors the living room and Stickley furniture makes a smart period accompaniment to the architectural finishes.
The home has about 2,400 square feet of living space, and it’s not wasted on excessively large bedrooms. There are four of them, two 12’ x 13’ and two 12’ x 11’, with a total of eight closets. Further favoring the ratio of common rooms to bedrooms are solarium and lounge—stacked at the back of the house with three walls of windows. Most of the home’s 74 windows are refurbished originals, though those in the solarium had to be replaced because their accordion design had begun to sag.
Other special touches include a laundry chute, ornamental doorbell, a decorative spice cabinet, and a powder room first meant as a butler’s pantry. The sellers put on a new roof several years ago, built a patio, and tweaked the kitchen with soapstone counters and an island. “We’re not flippers where we come in and tear things out,” says Madeleine McClellan, who has owned the house for 10 years. Madeleine and her husband Benjamin are moving to the West Coast with their two boys to be near relatives.
Waterman was ahead of his time in building with sensitivity to the sun’s position in the sky. The kitchen faces east to capture morning rays and the living room is oriented to the setting sun for cocktail hour.
Price Points: “For a long time our higher end homes [in Beverly/Morgan Park] were not selling,” says listing agent Nancy Hotchkiss of Berkshire Hathaway Biros Real Estate. “In the last year-and-a-half, big places have been selling again in $800,000s and $900,000s. And beginner homes are going very fast.” Hotchkiss represented the buyer of one area Wright home at 93rd Street and Pleasant Avenue. It went under contract last winter a short time after listing and closed for $980,000. Today’s listing is high-end for Morgan Park, but affordable for Beverly. The McClellans are offering for just $40,000 more than they paid in 2005. Three blocks south of the neighborhood line and just off of Longwood Drive, the home jibes with Beverly’s historic stock. At this far end of the ridge, you get considerable value and more tranquility than in the heart of historic Beverly a mile north.