Living in an architecturally historic community, one will see renovation taking place everywhere. And what does the historic governing board of a historic village love to see?… Returning to original.
The 239 S. Grove, in Oak Park, was a beautiful CV (Charming Victorian) lovingly cared for by my friend and client, Susan and her husband. The exterior was stucco and you could tell that the stucco was most likely NOT the original siding. The interior was full of some of the most beautiful woodwork I have ever seen. There was no central air… no fancy kitchen… no new baths (it only had one!!!)… but the character inside this rather small Oak Park home was like no other I had seen in the past 15 years of residential real estate.
Look at the house (above) after the stucco has been stripped off. The original clapboard (most likely cedar) appears to be in fantastic condition. Before tearing off an added covering on an old house like stucco or asphalt shingles, a contractor would tell you to to estimate needing to replace about 700-1000 linear ft. of the original cedar (for a house of this size). Take a close look at the far right side of the home’s front porch. (click on the photo for a larger image) See that black wall? That is not original to the house. That “addition” was done not long after the original build date of the home. It is actually built over what was originally that section of the front wrap-around porch. The very small addition was to provide for a large cedar coat closet on the inside of the house. Crazy, huh?
In 2013 the home was purchased by a young couple and Susan moved closer to work in the city. And then, as I often drive by this area of Oak Park because my kids are in the middle-school near by… I started noticing something. The CV was being transformed from a charming Victorian to a Victorian farmhouse reborn. The new owners painstakingly worked the home from one stage of restoration to another. And look what they did, Susan!!! Beautiful.