In 1901, when this gracious home was built, many homes in Lakewood Balmoral were being built of wood with full span front porches. This custom built home diverges from the norm and uses the space of the lot in a different way to take advantage of the southern light. The original owner was P.S. Magee, a City Clerk. It was built at a cost of $6,000. The Architect was William Strippleman, who is better known for some large commercial buildings. This home is listed on the Historic Resources survey of the City of Chicago as a home of high quality and noteworthy design (Code Orange). The façade of the home is front gabled and narrow, in order to accommodate the side front entrance. A second gable crosses at the back. Standing in the front of the building, you become aware of the detailed use of the brick above the windows. The front window is arched with a raised keystone design in brick in a fanned arrangement. On the second floor, the windows have keystone design and stone sills. At the third floor level, the central window is arched and on either side of it are narrow arched niches. The corners of the building have raised brick quoins.
The front entrance porch faces south. The newel posts are turned wood and the balusters are straight. The columns are Doric, the most straightforward design. The porch has a second staircase to the rear yard. The front door is original oak and it opens into a foyer which has a diamond patterned window to let in light. The interior door, also oak, opens into a reception hall with the central staircase. Another diamond pattern window allows light into this hall. To the right is the living room.
The original living room is now used as a dining room. The large front window, like a picture window, offers a beautiful view of the street. Note the hardware on the window. At one end of the room is the arched stone mantel of the fireplace with original oak bookcases on either side. These have original stained glass. This room can be closed off from the front hall by a six-paneled pocket door in solid oak.
Back in the front hall, there are French doors to what is now the living room. This room was originally two rooms, a family parlor and a dining room. Take the time to notice the beautiful quarter sawn oak floors. When the two rooms were made, one the floor patching was expertly done. The wallpaper in this room is called Anaglypta. It was invented in 1887 and is an embossed wall covering made from cotton and pulp. It was designed to be painted to resemble tooled leather, wood carvings and plaster mouldings.
Towards the back of this room is the entrance to the kitchen. The kitchen was originally a series of rooms planned for the work area of servants. There were two pantries along one wall and a second wall separating the staircase from the work area. This has been changed to accommodate a different life style, with modern cabinetry and an eating area. One pantry cabinet remains.
Off the rear of the home, there was once a small service porch and mud room. It was reached by a single door. The current owners changed this to a double French door opening to a lovely English conservatory just a few steps down.
Back in the front hall, there is a door under the staircase with an oval mirror. The door opens into a unique powder room. This room is part of the stacked bay on the north side of the house. It has two large windows on either side of the original marble sink. The flooring is original. At one time, there was a staircase to the basement through this room.
The tour will take you up the staircase to the landing. The upstairs rooms are not open. From the landing, you can see that the woodwork upstairs was painted white. Above each door is a transom for air circulation. The home has three bedrooms on the second floor and a third floor master suite.