This classic Chicago greystone was built in 1906 and its previous address was 968 Balmoral. The first owner and contractor was John McManewin, an Irish born carpet salesman who lived there with his wife until 1944. Their daughter, Marguerite lived in the home until 1972 when she passed away. No architect was listed on the permit, which usually indicates that the original owner was the contractor for the building. Since so many two-flats have a similar floor plan it is interesting to note the slight differences in them.
The current owners have improved the building and yet retained most of its original features. On this tour you will see a variety of two-flat buildings, most with similar floor plans. A few are greystones which is a stone quarried in Bedford Indiana. The façade has a decorative cornice at the top and raised banding below the windows. These windows are installed separately but function as a bay to allow more light into the living space.
The front porch has Doric columns and a black metal railing in keeping with the original design. The cornice on the eaves of the porch is decorated with dentils which have been painted to enhance the rhythm of the design. The framing of the glass and oak front door includes Ionic pilasters and twin side lights. This type of entrance is often used in Chicago two- and three-flats. An unusual feature is the oak wood flooring in the reception hall which continues throughout the apartment.
The glass and wood door to the apartment opens into a reception hall with coat closet. This is an updated apartment which has been decorated in tones of grey and white. All the woodwork, which is oak has been painted. The living room has been set up as the dining room. A fireplace on the far wall is probably original but the tiles have been replaced. The columns are the composite style having elements of both Ionic and Corinthian.
The former dining room has become the media room and the built in cabinet has become a bar. Notice the number of doors and drawers and the glass case above. Off the dining room is a small bedroom with a small closet which was fitted in under the stairs.
A doorway divides the front area from the back area of the unit. In the back hallway is the full bathroom with new fixtures and tiles. Across the hall is a large bedroom which was created by combining two small rooms and adding a large closet. The doors are five paneled and the door knobs are original.
In this back hallway is the entrance to a half-bath with new fixtures in place of the original pantry. The floor has been tiled but was probably originally maple. The remodeled kitchen is remarkable for its size and design. One wall holds maple cabinets. The center island is for both eating and cooking. A gas stove top and oven are part of the center unit. All the appliances are stainless steel. One could imagine watching a chef create a meal in this kitchen.
Off the kitchen is a back porch with the original windows. It is essentially how it looked originally. A few steps down is the backyard and terrace and the garage. It should be noted that in 1906 few people owned cars as they cost about a year’s salary. So when this building was built the backyard was much larger because there was no garage.