A renovated row house with a striking façade was listed for sale this month in Hyde Park. It is the latest project by designer Todd Schwebel, whose namesake company has been busy flipping houses in the area for 30 years.
The five-bedroom row house at 5217 South Blackstone Avenue was built in the late 1880s as part of the first wave of development that followed the 1893 Columbian Exposition. You will rarely find arched Turkish windows beyond this row of houses; soon after these buildings were completed, graystones and Victorian–style houses swept through the neighborhood. The middle house—the one for sale—also features by far the most ornate façade of the row, as well as some extra flair with a large roof pediment.
Schwebel picked up the 2,500-square-foot house from the bank in May 2014 for $315,000. The façade—with its brick, limestone, and wooden “gingerbread” details—hasn't changed much since he took ownership, but the interior needed a makeover. (See this previous listing for photos of the "before" condition.)
First he cleaned up all the details, repainting and upgrading the stairs and hardwood floors. Then he completed the lower level, previously uninhabitable, with an extra bathroom and guest bedroom (a bonus if you're looking to rent it out). The original skylight and high ceilings remain, and Schwebel added extra closet space and rebuilt the double decker back porch and balcony. An all-new kitchen completed the modern look.
Now the downsides: The property backs onto one of the parking lots of Harper Court, a hotel/office tower, meaning you would have to deal with its activity and glow at night. The list price is a bit high for the neighborhood, too: The most a two-story row house in the surrounding area has ever sold for was $815,000. That house was sold two months ago.