As you walk up to the “castle,” as it is commonly known in Andersonville, you can see that it is clearly a landmark building. It was built in 1904 for C. Christiansen at a cost of $6,000. The architect was George L. Pfeiffer. In this eclectic building period in Chicago, many buildings used elements from a variety of historical architectural styles. This building combines elements of English Gothic and Romanesque styles. The exterior, with a turret and rusticated limestone, creates the feeling of a castle. The carved stonework and the cluster columns with carved capitals indicate the craftsmanship of the builder James P. Flick. The current owner has collected a multitude of architectural artifacts, many of stone, and placed them in the yard.
Entering the building, you will go through a small oak-trimmed vestibule to the oak staircase. As you come up the stairs, you can see yourself and a reflection of the hallway framed in an ornate mirror. The owner, a collector and fan of the Rococo style from 18th century France, has found the perfect setting for his collections. Beginning with the plaster molding applied to the walls and carried through with striking color harmonies, the living room provides a setting which evokes the time of Louis XV. An original stained glass window faces east in the living room. It was uncovered by the owner in the late 1970s. The design is floral. Other glass in the bedroom is beveled. There are additional stained glass pieces in the room. Each has a story behind it.
The turret ceiling, embellished by the owner with applied angels and Beaux Arts detailing, shows clear glass in the top windows. Because of damage to some of the windows, the faceted glass was removed. The turret itself is quite a curiosity since its main purpose seems to be to bring light into the area.
Off the living area to the right is a small space - a sitting room. There is no connecting hall through the living area to the rest of the house. You must walk through each room in order to reach the next. Towards the back of the living room is a doorway that has been altered to accommodate a modern door. Originally, this doorway may have had a velvet drape to prevent drafts. The next room is the music room. The doorway leading to what was originally the dining room, now an office, has the original pocket doors. The chandelier is from the same time period, but is not original. The east window displays another unique stained glass in a floral design. A built-in buffet/hutch is accented by unusual geometric columns. All the woodwork, ceiling beams, buffet and window trim, is oak.
From the dining room are two doorways. One leads to a sitting room/bedroom which was once two bedrooms. The ceiling light fixture is original to the house and gives an idea of what the others might have looked like. It carries both gas and electric service which was needed at this time since the success of electricity as a power source was not assured. The second doorway leads to the kitchen and bathroom. Note the fleur-de-lis pattern on the bathroom floor. The kitchen has been remodeled and redecorated, but the pantry is still intact.
The owner invites you to walk through the yard to view the beautiful stone fountain and the original garage. Please step carefully since the walkways are not all level. The large tree that fills the backyard is an American Elm. This building is considered a potential landmark by the City of Chicago Landmarks Commission.