This balloon-framed house was built by S.E. Gross in 1903. The architect was J. Brompton. Evidence of charred wood in the basement and interior wall cavities indicate that the exterior stucco finish is hiding damage from a fire many years ago. All that remains of the original Victorian detailing is the elliptical leaded glass window in the attic and two brackets under the eaves. The foundation was originally red brick and the roof had cedar shakes.
As you enter the foyer, note how the Victorian proportions, without the elaborate details, are carried through to the public rooms of the first floor. New moldings, inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement (a philosophy which followed in response to the excesses of the Victorians), flow from one room to the next, connecting the tops of windows and doors. The current owners, fond of both styles, felt this merging was an appropriate solution when approaching the renovation five years ago.
As you enter the living room, note the two small doorways. Originally there was a large center archway between the foyer and the living room. The windows flanking the fireplace were added during the renovation. The beautiful quartersawn oak flooring is new. The original maple floors were badly water damaged as a result of the fire. The wallcovering in the living room is a handmade reproduction of a William Morris design. Morris, a founder of the English Arts and Crafts Movement, is perhaps best known for his Morris Chair design.
The piano niche in the dining room was also added as part of the renovation. The build-outs opposite the piano enclose the heating ducts to the second floor. The original furnace heated the house with warm air which rose by convection from the basement.
The kitchen was remodeled by re-using the existing cupboards. The bathroom off of the kitchen was added many years ago when the first floor was converted to a separate apartment. Please be careful as you take the stairs to the second floor. Note the dead bolts on the bedroom doors. At one time the rooms were rented to boarders, probably Loyola University students. The walk in closet was used as a common kitchen, as evidenced by gas and water supply pipes and a sink drain. The second floor is slated for renovation in keeping with the first floor.
As you leave, notice the back yard oval garden which was inspired by an English country garden. The letter “B” on the garage remains from previous owners, who lived in the house in the 1950s. It is estimated that the current owners are the eighth owners of the house.