This home, in Young’s Addition to the City of Chicago, was built in 1896 for A. Smith at a cost of $4,000. The mason was F.O. Johnson. A number of things are striking about the home, which is set back on the lot and positioned to have a side yard. One could imagine an even bigger side yard at one time, since the building to the south was built much later.

This home was on our 1997 Home Tour and has undergone much restoration since then. It is now painted a blue gray with cream accents. Among the unique elements on the façade are the barrel shaped stacked bay on the right side and the front porch design with unique bracket designs as capitals for the columns resting on Joliet limestone base. The design of the flat shaped balusters is not typical of this time period and may have been the personal choice of the original owner. This is a wide and gracious porch in the style of the late 19th century. The home also shows the influence of the French chateau style with the roof line and the curved peaked dormers.

The front screen door and the interior door are original. The first hallway has a barrel vault ceiling and original tile floor. Through a second door you enter the reception hall, with staircase and original wooden bench. The ceiling fixture is a replica of a vintage fixture and is turned on by the old style button switches that were once original throughout the home. The baseboards in this home are 12 inches high.

When the current owners moved in, the woodwork had been stripped and bleached. They chose to stain the wood a darker color and replace the floors that were worn and weak. The dark stain on the six panel pocket doors and the wood trim in the parlor to the right create a luxurious elegance in the room. The fireplace mantel is detailed with Corinthian pilasters and the original brick style tiles in white on the hearth. They also added custom shelving on either side of the fireplace.

On the opposite side of the hall is a large room used as a second living room and dining room. Originally it had been two rooms. At the front is a window that has a replacement stained glass above a large centered pane. This was probably the original family parlor. There is a built-in glass door cabinet in this room and in the dining room. The replacement ceiling fixtures are in the vintage style. The back wall of the dining area has a curved bay like the one at the front of the house.

The kitchen has been updated with cherry cabinets and granite counter tops. A window looks out on to the backyard. Off the kitchen is a full bath in the space that may have been the pantry and might even have been a walk through to the dining room. The crown molding was added by the current owners.

The second floor is reached by a unique staircase that takes you forward to a landing with diamond paned windows at the front of the house and then back to the center of the home. As you make your way to the central hallway, notice the balusters and carving details. On this level the floors are original oak. When the house was built there were four bedrooms, one at each corner of the home. The current owners took the opportunity to create a master bedroom suite by taking a small bedroom and changing it into a bathroom and dressing room. This necessitated some changes in the hall. From the hall you can also see the original bathroom, which has been updated. There are two additional bedrooms with a connection through a closet.

The staircase leads to the third floor, which has been totally redone. Originally this room was for servants and, at one time, it had been rented out for roomers. The central room has been opened up to the roof line and new bead board used as paneling. There is one guest room with a dormer to the front of the house. There is a small full bath off the main room. The room with the second dormer is used as an office.

Before you descend the stairs, take a look at the view to the first floor. It is quite spectacular and indicative of the overall beauty of design and proportion in this 100+ year old antique home.

Return to the front of the house when you have completed the tour, or you may exit through the kitchen and enjoy a view of the beautiful backyard and garden. If you think that you’ve seen this home before, maybe you have. It was featured in some scenes from the Steven Seagal film, “Above the Law.” It has also been used in some Ford automobile commercials.