Despite having 15 owners since being built in 1893, this Frank Lloyd Wright–designed home in La Grange, IL, is in pristine condition.
If you’re a Wright aficionado, this five-bedroom, 2.5-bath home is your dream pad. Much of the home’s beauty is thanks to renovations that took place two owners ago. The baths and kitchen were updated and pushed this Prairie-style home on a lushly landscaped lot into posh territory.
Referred to by historians as the W. Irving Clark house, the nearly 4,000-square-foot residence is now on the market for $1.2 million, listed with Judy Ellison of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
“Many, many features in the home are original features,” says Ellison. They include doors to the front of the house and to the vestibule, all hardware, and the light fixtures in the family room and main hallway. Floor tile in the vestibule is also original, and stained-glass windows in the living and dining rooms were also preserved, as were built-ins throughout. Four original wood-burning fireplaces are in working condition, ready to crackle during the next polar vortex.
Original stained-glass windows on the staircase leading to the second floor are also among the home’s examples of historic preservation. The tall, front gable—with its Palladian window in the center—is a feature also found on Wright’s former home in Oak Park, IL.
Tucked into La Grange’s historic district, the neighborhood’s roots were as a summer-home community for well-heeled Chicagoans. Downtown Chicago is only a 20-minute train ride, but downtown La Grange’s recent renaissance can also be experienced within a two-block walk. Restaurants, upscale shops, and a renovated theater are among the “rejuvenated and renovated” attractions, says Ellison.
Designed for “lush entertaining,” the home was built for an attorney who worked from home. (His clients used the side entrance.) A third-floor ballroom was used as a game and recreation room by the current owners. What used to be the coatroom for guests entering the former ballroom is now a closet.
In keeping in perfect pitch with period details, custom William Morris wallpaper was installed at a cost of $50,000 a few years ago. This was an extensive three-year process.
In 2008, the second-floor master suite underwent a face-lift, taking over space originally used for a fifth bedroom. Now a steam shower and radiant heating bring the suite into the 21st century, and a walk-in closet serves as a convenient update from the sparse closet space normally found in older homes. There’s also a laundry area in the suite, negating the need to walk to the basement to access a washer and dryer.
The kitchen was remodeled in 2012 with quartz countertops and custom cabinetry.
“There would never have been a kitchen this large (at the time of the home’s construction), but it was really done in keeping with the house,” says Ellison.
Another example of successfully bridging the original with the new design is the back door, featuring the same pebble glass as the front door.
“The curved back door was done to match the front door design,” says Ellison.
The infrastructure also saw improvements. A whole-house generator, in-ground sprinkler system, and four AC zones were added. With all these updates, the value of this home has only gone up. In 1997, it was sold for $628,000. The last time it went on the market, in 2007, it was sold for $1.15 million.
While other homes on the block are also historic, this one is larger. A second-story apartment above the 2.5-car garage was once living quarters for the stable staff. And a screened porch serves as a stylish and functional extension to the interior thanks to a ceiling fan, wood flooring, and beadboard ceiling.
“The pictures don’t do it justice,” says Ellison. We tend to agree!
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