List Price: $750,000
The Property: Dating to the 1850s or 1860s, this Victorian delicacy was recently fitted out as a bed and breakfast. But once its owners, Cyndi and Paul Busse, learned they were expecting a baby, they opted instead to put the place on the market as a private home, says their agent, Sharon Sodikoff.
In our video, you will see that the house has all the comforts of a cozy inn, from its broad, sheltering porch and backyard gazebo to the grand historical rooms and glass conservatory. But it also works as a home, with a large, open kitchen and four high-ceilinged bedrooms. One of the bedrooms, which probably combines two older rooms, is a suite that contains a master bathroom. The second-floor family room can also be used as a very large bedroom; the Busses had finished it as the owners’ suite for the B&B.
The transoms have been refurbished, the vintage hardware redipped to restore its luster, and the old Italian marble fireplaces preserved. The plumbing was upgraded and new windows, furnace, and air conditioning installed in the past five or so years. There is an attached two-car garage, rare for a 19th-century home.
The home was built for Horace Singer, who owned 800 acres of rock quarries around Lemont. He also served in the Illinois General Assembly and as a leader of Cook County Republicans. In the late 1880s, after a bloody strike by quarry workers, Singer divorced and moved to Chicago, leaving his ex-wife the house. He later remarried and moved to California; the families of his first and second wives battled over the circumstances of his 1896 death and ultimately had his body exhumed. The Chicago Tribune reported that the autopsy proved his death was “not as a result of any poison or undue means.”
The large blocks of limestone flooring on the back porch are the same type of stone used for Chicago’s Water Tower (I couldn’t learn whether the tower’s stone came from Singer’s quarry or another Lemont quarry). There is more limestone on the basement walls, and the floor-to-ceiling windows in the front parlor must have once provided a view down the bluff to the quarries (they now look into the neighborhood’s trees). Sodikoff says that much of the wood for the house is believed to have come from a Wisconsin lumber company owned by Singer.
Price Points: The house went on the market in June, priced at $800,000; the price came down to $750,000 in late August. The Busses are also offering the home’s furniture for an additional $50,000.