In Oak Park & River Forest… we have old homes. And I am always sooooo fascinated by how a homeowner and/or their designer can blend the modern luxury features we crave today with the 100+ year old house they own. Sometimes… I see it go oh so seriously wrong. The hot-tub in the basement? You know… in the basement that holds your heat boiler and pipes? That basement that is unfinished and never meant to be finished and then in the middle is… this hot-tub!! Wrong.
I have this new house (new listing of an OLD house) on the market and this owner just … everything they did to this house… they did RIGHT! Sure it is my job to boast about my client’s homes and tell the buying community “how awesome is this home?” But I just had to show you photos of this 900 Columbian so you can see for yourself. The home is a NW Oak Park classic meaning there are a number of these lighter brick center entrance Colonials in this particular area of the Mann School district. I’m not talking about the dark red brick Colonials that are another staple in this area. I am talking about the Colonials that have that touch of Mediterranean influence in them. You know them if you see them… ornate concrete forms on the exterior… arched windows… not your usual Colonial layout. It is almost as if these specific Colonials were the transitional tests for the full-blown Spanish Revival architecture Colonials that we also have in this area. The 900 Columbian has very little of this Spanish-ness to it but there are hints.
Anyway… I banter…
So take a look at these photos of the more traditional rooms in the 900 Columbian. The sunken living room is so bright and beautiful.
(This photo was taken by Christina Frances a most awesome photographer for VHT.)
(This photo by: Me… Steve Scheuring)
Transition through the classic grand entryway and into the formal dining room with perfect custom lighting touches. And look at the sun pouring through these windows! How can you not be happy with all that vitamin D!!
(Photo by: Christina Frances of VHT)
And look at these arched French doors that separate the dining room from the formal entry foyer! Original… unpainted… amazing.
(Photo by: Me… Steve Scheuring)
But look what you find when you enter the kitchen. It is new as of 2011. Is it modern? Absolutely not! Is it beautiful and does it fit this home? The white marble. The custom cabinetry painted and NOT just one color! The subway back-splash. Price the home well and it is a kitchen like this that can be the reason a home sells. My client built this kitchen to cook and bake with her child. What better reason is there to build a kitchen like this? My wife Julie and I re-did our kitchen almost ten years ago and there is no better end to the day then coming home knowing a great meal is waiting for the two of us to prepare. No better snowy Saturday than seeing your daughter baking on her own. No better anytime than seeing Julie and the kids making something in the kitchen… from scratch. Do you need a $70,000 kitchen to have these everlasting memories? Certainly not. But if you are renovating a kitchen and you plan that kitchen with this vision in mind… no matter the budget… I really do not think you can go wrong.
(Photo by: Christina Frances of VHT)
(Photo by: Me)
If you know me or this blog you know I am all about the details. So a homeowner has created this masterpiece of a home. It is classic vintage with all the upgrades you could want. Beautiful new kitchen, zoned central HVAC, water prevention systems and the master bath even has a steam shower! But what did they leave? What details did they look at when they were renovating and say… “How can we save that?… How can we incorporate that into are new vision ’cause that needs to stay!!?” The 900 Columbian again impresses. The below crystal door hardware with what looks to be brass back plates remains as originally built throughout the home.
Bathrooms… I think renovating a bathroom in a classic home is one of the hardest tasks when it comes to preserving the details set in the home when it was originally built. The trends pressure us to go ultra modern, high tech, bright and new! But an ultra mod or new looking bath can really throw the balance of a beautifully vintage home. So what can be done? Do you have an old vintage bath? What can you save in this bath that can keep the character of the home yet still offer you a fantastic new place for everyday use, comfort and luxury?
Take a look at what the owners of the 900 Columbian did with one of the 2nd floor full baths. They replaced the plumbing fixtures, retiled the floor and kept this beautiful wall tile with unique gold accented accent tiles. Is it the most amazing update bath job in the world? Did it cost a fortune? No but is it fun? Is it cheerful? Yes!! I loved this bath and this tile so much I had to get a detailed shot.
Now take a look at this 1st floor half bath photo above. How awesome is this bath?!?!?! Are you sitting there saying, “Really, Steve?!?!? I can’t stand it!!” Ok… I get it. I show these vintage homes all the time. And the reactions to the original vintage tiles in the baths is one of the funnest parts of my job. You either love it or want to rip it out! I love it. It is dramatic, bold, completely functional and in amazing condition. I wouldn’t touch this bath. Look what the owner did. The owner completely played off the darker original tile and just ran with it to the deep edges of darkness. Black trim, black walls, deep purple fabric… Awesome!
Vintage homes are not for everybody. And for many who love vintage homes the love stops at the front door and they cannot wait to rip out the entire inside. The 900 Columbian is about keeping the vintage and adding the new where you can. As of the writing of this post the 900 Columbian is under contract and scheduled to close in March of 2014.