Sold Price: $1,020,000
List Price: $995,000
The only leg of the Chicago River—North, South, or Main—where single-family residences come with real frontage, private docks, and earthen banks is the three-quarter-mile stretch between Berteau and Lawrence Avenues. Ravenswood Manor, on the west bank, has the choicest river homes on several streets dead-ending at the water. My sale of the week hails from one of these gridiron stubs—a splendid Arts & Crafts bungalow spun sideways along the river.
The seller of this 2,180-square-foot two-bed on Sunnyside Avenue laid out some major improvements in the late 1990s. Chiefly, along with a thorough restoration of the home’s sumptuous 1919 woodwork and built-ins, the work centered on knocking holes in the living room’s long brick face to open up interiors to the river. French doors were inserted leading to a terrace and side yard. There was an accompanying small expansion of living space affording a more elegant dining area and the addition of a grand waterfront balcony off of the master suite. Most of the home’s rooms have point-blank river views.
“Now the eye goes right to the windows overlooking the river,” says the buyer’s agent Leigh Marcus of @properties. “The whole living room and dining area are newly oriented.” This was the seller’s dream home, according Patrick Duffy, also of @properties. He’s making an age-related move. And the buyer, originally from the Pacific Northwest and long in search of a degree of natural tranquility in Chicago, is apparently quite ecstatic to be taking over.
Ravenswood Manor isn’t a mansion district—the housing is on the whole of average size. It was built as a very early transit suburb with the density to reflect that. Its brick homes are very handsome, however, and the neighborhood’s calm, isolating layout can produce big prices. At press time, the priciest listing is a 1917 four-bed several blocks from the water. It’s asking $895,000. Several sales have breached the million-dollar mark, most recently a gut-reno’d four-bed one block in from the river that fetched $1.14 million in October.
The river can present ups and downs, but lately it’s been more of a magnet than a repellent. River rats, or Nutria, are an occasional thing, but so are several species of heron and turtle. And there are more boaters all the time with public and private dock improvements and the facilities offered by a number of fine parks from Belmont north. Horner and Ronan are the closest sizable parks to the house, and the former is undergoing a multi-year ecological restoration of its half-mile of river frontage—prairie grass, sure, but also complete native habitats and improved access.
For more shots of the property, click over to the listing.