The three condominiums in the Stickney School present a unique use of an historic landmark in Edgewater. The condo conversion occurred in the late 1970s and was pretty simple. There was a gut job done on most of the interior walls, which we must presume were classrooms on three floors. The units combined the living and dining area and then added a kitchen, a bathroom and at least one bedroom. What the current owners have done to the space makes it truly unique.
As mentioned in the history of the school, the building, constructed in 1903, was designed by J.E.O. Pridmore. The central front entrance is not placed in the exact middle, with two windows set together on the west side and three set together on the east side. On either side of the front door are two ground-to-roof turrets with slit-like window insets reminiscent of a castle fortress. At the parapet, this theme is continued with a crenellated design with limestone caps. The front doorway is a wide arch. Inside this shape is the central front door with stained glass side lights. Above the doorway is the limestone sign “STICKNEY SCHOOL.” Just above the sign was a wooden bay window which has been removed. The foundation is Joliet limestone.
As you enter the building, you will see a display of school memorabilia as a little reminder that this building was once an educational institution in Edgewater. Although the hallway is carpeted, the ceiling is high and it somehow “feels like” a school - you might expect to hear young voices echoing in the hall. At the rear of the hall is the oak staircase to the second floor. The balusters are missing, but the newel post is reminiscent of the columns on either side of the front door.
The first floor unit on the east side opens into a formal dining room decorated in an oriental style. The floors are the original maple flooring of the classrooms. They have been retained in most of the space. The large dining room connects to a small kitchen. In the kitchen is a spiral staircase to the lower floor living space. Down the hall is a recreation room with a bar and a bathroom. This unit is much like the original conversion although the decoration of the space is unique. The connection by a spiral staircase to the lower level expands the space of the unit beyond the original condo plan.
The lower level may also be reached by the through an entrance just past the front hall staircase. The lower part of the unit contains a great room with seating area. The room that was originally a kitchen has been converted into a laundry room. The room at the back of the unit is a bedroom with a bathroom. The floor is designed in two levels.
To reach the expanded second floor unit, you may use the spiral staircase or take the front hall staircase to enter what is the most spectacular space. The entrance opens into a large room with a fireplace. The space is decorated in Southwest colors with many unique artifacts. Down the hall towards the back is the “cow” bathroom and at the very back is a large bedroom that may once have been the library of the school. This room also has a fireplace.
Back to the front of the unit, a wall has been removed between the east and west units. There is an exposed beam which shows that the building is wood beam construction. This wood is of the highest quality pine that was cut from virgin forests, probably in Michigan or Wisconsin. It is a more solid and dense wood than is available today.
In the west unit, there are a game area and a solarium facing the southwest windows. What was once a small kitchen has been turned into a cozy library. Note the unique decor.
Down the hall from this front area is a room used as an office and then a bathroom which houses a shell collection. The back room of this side is a music room which is truly fascinating.
Throughout this incredible home, color is used as an artist would create a painting. The walls are changed by the way the color is used. It seems that some walls move forward while others recede. What the current owners have done for this living space is a work of art.