This lovely home gives several indications that it was built by J.L. Cochran in 1898-99. No architect’s name appears on the permit, which was typical of the way Cochran managed development of his third addition. The double front gable design matches a home on the next block that was built for Cochran. The gable is shingled and curved to the attic window. On the south side of the building, the triple stacked bay windows are similar to those on three other homes built in 1898. These homes were illustrated in J.L. Cochran’s booklet, “A Home By the Lake,” which was published in 1899 to attract buyers to his Edgewater development. By that time the name Edgewater had become quite popular and other developers, such as Cairnduff just north of Ridge, were also using the Edgewater name.
This home was built on a 50’ lot, one of the two sizes Cochran offered. The front walk is brick, old Chicago, street paving. The front porch does not appear original because of the enclosure of the lower half below the handrail. Also, the pillars are posts of a somewhat smaller dimension than was typical at the time. The shape of the porch is quite unusual with an angled corner. Like many porches in the Lakewood Balmoral area, this one was screened in for summertime use. The current owners have removed the screens.
The entrance doors are original and welcoming with glass above and panels below in old pine. The double hallway arrangement was popular as a way to prevent the cold Chicago winter from entering the home. The pine wood indicates the home was built before oak became the wood of choice. Often the pine was stained dark to give the appearance of walnut or mahogany. The pine probably came from the virgin forests of Michigan, as Chicago was the center of lumber trade for some decades. In the reception hall, you will see a beautiful wooden staircase with carved newel post and straight stick balusters. This design may indicate how the original front porch might have looked.
Standing in the hall, you will notice the top nailed flooring, another indication that the home was built before 1900. Each room of the original first floor has a different inlaid border design of two to five different woods. Any carpet placed in the room was supposed to allow the border to show. The plan of the home includes a double parlor which has been opened up to be one larger room. The back parlor has a bay window. This floor plan is one of the larger formats for the homes built in the area as some homes have only one parlor. The dining room is opposite the back parlor and it too has a bay window and the original floors. The chandelier is a well traveled antique that was made in Spain but came by way of Colorado. On the walls is a fleur-de-lis stamped design that is repeated in a window you will see later. From the dining room, you will move through a doorway which was once the entrance to the kitchen of the home. Now the doorway leads to a new addition that was done in 1991 by the current owner of the home. She has designed it to function as a kitchen/great-room with a marble fireplace, seating area, casual dining area and a side exit to the garden. The high ceiling and large south facing windows create a space that is bright and inviting. The bay window and transom echo details found in the original part of the house. This room connects to the master bedroom suite above.
The upstairs shows the contrast between what was the norm in 1898 and what is the norm in the 1990s. The master suite features French doors overlooking the garden, a cathedral ceiling and a limestone bath. After you see the master bedroom, you will walk forward to the main staircase. The other bedrooms in the home are in their original size. All the doorways have transoms. The hallway floor is oak and quite a bit narrower than in the addition. The woodwork is pine painted white, which was typical of the treatment of wood moldings on the second floor of most older homes. As you descend the staircase, you will see a beautiful stained glass window at the landing. The design, which is both geometric and organic, has some basis in the fleur-de-lis design. The glasswork is comparable to the stained glasswork in many of the homes in the area that were built by Cochran.