Circa 1913169 Laurel Avenue
Highland Park, Illinois, 60035
Style | Arts & Crafts
Property type | Single-Family Home
Date listed | January 5, 2017
Status | For Sale
- 5,232 sq ft
- 7 beds
- 6 baths
The house Michelangelo designed
Primarily reflecting the perfection of architectural design found in 169 Laurel, reference to Michelangelo has historical basis as well. The \\\”designed\\\” part is a long story, but easy to explain. The connection with Michelangelo is a short story, difficult to explain, and left for a few words for the end.
Perfection of design at 169 Laurel, begins not with the house, but where it is located. It then continues through the floor plan, which is magnificent on all four floors, and down to the basic structures and details.
Positioned only 600 feet from the lake, 1000 feet from the old downtown area of the city and train station, and a few miles from the expressways, the location is the best possible for a north shore home. Close to train, lake, and city, it is walking distance from each, but just beyond the \\\”noise and congestion\\\” barrier that these foci of life create. Further, 169 Laurel is in a milieu of unique, stately surrounding homes (see video for perspective and setting).
In a world of suburbs filled with similar matchbox houses all in a row or arrayed in a circle, 169 Laurel is a striking exception. Positioned for maximum privacy and outwards view from the windows, the house is far back from the street. Providing a vista of view at all times of year, noise is kept to a minimum, and privacy is assured.
Stepping into the house, one is greeted simultaneously with simplicity and elegance. The first floor uses a \\\”classic\\\” array with enter entrance and foyer, large living room followed by sun room to one side, formal dining room (or multipurpose room) which connects to the kitchen to the other. This room arrangement creates perfect traffic flow for gatherings from 1 to 40 people, and easy use of the kitchen for informal and formal dining, as desired. It also allows the living room to serve as a concert hall, party room, or meeting area, with second large room off to the side. The level of detail in the wood and plasterwork is everything expected, while Alice in Wonderland “talking door” hardwood adds a touch of early 1900’s whimsy .
The second floor design provides four moderately large, maple-floored bedrooms, one with en suite bath (recently remodeled in continental style), a marble-walled, hexagon floor tiled hall bath, a and an all-weather, pine floored sun room that connects two of the bedrooms.
The third floor, a point at which most houses completely fall apart in their architecture, continues in utility and quality. Using a central landing, to one side is a huge bedroom (the size of the living room) with en-suite bath, entered through double doors. To the other side, two moderate sized bedrooms and a hall bath.
Even the basement is an appealing, utilitarian work of art, rather than the usual spooky, scary dungeon. Being what would have been called a finished basement in the early 1900s, it has an original, poured concrete floor and foundation walls, divided into 5 rooms plus storage closets and a toilet room. Utilitarian with lathe and plaster ceilings and interior walls, it is clean, cheery, and leaves the \\\”utilities\\\” accessible for maintenance. It also has its own outside entry via a hatch, which leads to both the back yard and driveway to a second road for easy offloading of supplies and equipment. The basement also holds a 300,000 BTU steam boiler that runs at over 82% efficiency, new twin 75- gallon high output hot water heaters that can deliver over 350 gallons per hour of hot water, receives water feed via a 1\\\” iron main, and has 200amp electric service, routed via conduit throughout the house. Air handlers for the zoned 2 x 40,000 BTU air conditioners are on the 4th floor (a floored and doubly insulated attic).
If you desire more information than is included in this listing and also in the broker listing (see link to Property Website), please try to be specific as to what is desired. Literally, there are hundreds of pages of additional information and thousands of \\\”data items\\\” available from both the design studio (their textbooks and precepts in design, etc), agent, and owner (including architectural plans and drawings for possible new kitchens, etc).
That additional information includes: ~~~A two minute video which is available ~~~ viewing the surrounding few blocks of the house. If this is not accessible via this website, please email the agent, email@example.com, to request a downloadable copy (approx 3 Mb file size). This video does not duplicate the still images on this website, but provides a panoramic tour of the surrounding area for a third mile radius. This mirrors John Papworth’s emphasis on the importance of location of the dwelling in relationship to the surrounding area, and what it might offer.
For whom is this house?
The location and design of the house make it ideal for a number of possible uses, and a range of individuals with very different backgrounds and finances.
The following are just a few ideas regarding who might find it perfect for their desires and uses:
Desire for classic old, well-built (Bauhaus tradition) construction and design and the ideal location, $900,000 to spend, and enjoy adapting details of their lifestyle to the milieu of the older home and its exigencies,
Mixture of desire for older architecture, with limited desire to modernize or renovate. \\\”Limited\\\” in this context keeps in mind that basic renovation generally costs $200-300 per square foot. This implies that access to at least $1,200,000 would be needed for purchase plus initial renovations.
Desire for perfect location and basic house layout, with plans to carry out extensive renovation or rebuilding . Important in that context, house size is over 5,000 sq feet. This implies that access to at least $2,200,000 usually would be needed, if total reconstruction or a total “rehab” is planned.
Independent of $:
When viewed without regard to costs and specific architectural desires, the house and location can be ideal for individuals with
large or extended (multigenerational, expanded connectivity) families,
extensive home office use (with room for up to 3 home offices, with ease),
desire for extensive, well-designed interior spaces that can serve a myriad of purposes.
Michelangelo and his connection to 169 Laurel:
One of the foremost architects in the English Craftsman and German Bauhaus style in the mid 1800s was Jonathan Papworth. Initially trained as a mason, his spontaneous watercolor paintings brought him to attention of a reknown British Architect (Sir William Chambers, Architect Royal to HRHs Victoria and Albert), who referred Papworth for professionally training. Primarily designing large estates, castles, churches, and such for the British and German nobility, and managing his construction company of over 500 workers in London, Papworth also devoted a great deal of time to designs and publications on homes for the \\\”working class\\\”, both in the city and countryside. The designs, both of buildings for the nobility and the common folk, won him the moniker among his colleagues as of \\\”the Michelangelo of British Architects\\\” (1814), followed by his founding the Royal Institute of Architects (1834) with help from his professional associates who had given him that accolade.
Identifying the designer of 169 Laurel conclusively has been problematic, due to the limited records from when it was built (1913). Papworth himself has no known, personally designed homes in the USA. His confirmed designs here are limited to a complete city that was to be located near Cincinnati, but was not built. The striking thing, however, is that the design parameters for 169 Laurel exactly match those of Papworth\\\’s two textbooks to the last detail. This includes selection of the town, and location within the town, positioning of the house on the lot, room sizing, layout, and even choice of materials used in construction.
The only variation from those original designs is attributable to a change in cooking styles: In Papworth\\\’s designs for houses of this size, the kitchen was located in a different area than in the current house. In 169 Laurel, the original huge kitchen was in the basement, and perhaps around 1920, moved to what had been the serving area on the first floor.
Primarily based on the complete “identity” of design parameters, but also consistent with some odd historical links to British Royalty in the early 1900s, 169 Laurel is a house that very likely originated with the Michelangelo of British Architects, and is the \\\”image of what would have been designed\\\” by Papworth. Its date of construction, however, would require that it be from his workshop, and not supervised personally by him.
Even if it is not actually from that workshop, its total, strict embodiment of the design precepts of Papworth and his textbooks (Hints on Ornamental Gardening…, and Rural Residences…), and almost complete absence of later architectural disfigurement and remodeling is exceptional and noteworthy.
For more information or to request video, please email the agent
If unable to reach the agent in a timely manner, please email the administrator of this advertisement, Nikita@alum.MIT.edu with contact information for forwarding to the agent.
Copyright notice: Images and text in this listing and the available video are copyright 2016 and 2017 by various sources, including At Properties and Marla Forbes as agents, VHT Studios under contract, and Nikita@alum.MIT.edu. All uses are with permission of the original copyright holder. The books by John Papworth are public domain.