We recently purchased a vintage Chicago masonry home on a standard City of Chicago lot. The home was originally built in the 1880's, but aside from the exterior masonry, does not possess any of the original vintage details; which we are actually fine with. The last renovation on the home was in the early 80's. Our goal is to bring the home up to date (and beyond) and increase living capacity to accommodate our rather large blended family (we have four six year old children), while not completely breaking the bank.
The masonry is in relatively good condition. The roof and all windows need replacement.
We love clean, modern homes, but we bought for location. While we are not in love with the existing facade, we appreciate the heritage of the home, so finding a way to blend the existing facade (to include at least first 15 feet of exiting roof structure) into a modern interpretation for the rest of the renovation will be important. The back of the house, however, is open to imagination.
The winning plan will be provided to engineers for certification and then to contractors to bid and build the project.
• As is typical in Chicago – the first floor sits a few feet above grade. See attachments
• Dimensions of the lot are 25' x 125'. Available building envelope is existing structure with possible additions to the back and vertically (see zoning restrictions under design considerations)
• The building adjacent to the property on the south is a single story, but nothing precludes the owner of building something up to 38 feet high.
• An open main floor, accommodating a dining and entertaining area with a more informal familial kitchen, eating and lounging area
• 4 kids bedrooms above grade, similar in size, 2 minimum ensuite, with remaining 2 ensuite or jack/jill or shared bath
• Laundry facilities on the bedroom floor
• Master suite on separate floor – ideally one large or his/hers walk-in closet
• Master bath must have a bathtub for resale, but not significant to us – shared shower more interesting. Prefer to have enclosed water closet.
• Garage is unattached so a mudroom near rear entrance of home would be nice
• At least two zones for hvac
• The current floor plans have a number of “open to below” spaces which, while nice for light, may be sacrificed for our design requirements
• Chicago is cold in the winter, but the summer more than makes up for it. Outdoor living spaces for three seasons ,( i.e. decks - roof and below) are essential
• We will be digging out the basement to have a clearance of 8'. Basement should consist of radiant heat flooring. A sixth bedroom and bath should be included in the basement.
• Basement is tile. Main floor is tile or hardwood. Bedroom floors are hardwood except bath/utility areas.
• We plan to use IKEA for kitchen and kids baths. For kitchen we like the Sofielunud and Abstrakt(high gloss gray or white) fronts. No granite counters please, but would like a solid (read: no pattern) that is as durable.
• We like to cook but aren't professional chefs. That said kitchen should include:
5 burner gas cook-top vented to exterior
Large French door refrigerator
Double wall oven
Large Capacity Microwave
• Prefer dark or ebonized hardwood and light colored tile.
• All windows need to be replaced.
The house will have an amazing view of the city skyline from a roof deck. However, city of Chicago has some onerous code standards for such thing. The TWO critical components are two points of egress (think interior stairs and exterior stairs to a deck below) and 100lb/sqft. load requirement (big joists or narrow on center)
1) The building height cannot exceed 38 feet as measured by the vertical distance from grade to the highest point of the underside of the top floor's ceiling joist on a building with a flat roof or to the mean height level between eaves and ridge of a gable, hip, mansard, or gambrel roof. WITH THE EXCEPTION that a stair enclosure for access to a rooftop deck may exist so long as it's set back 20 ft from front of the building and not to exceed 5ft above the parapet. Currently, the building sits at approximately 27 feet based on this measurement
2) Pergolas, arbors and trellises located on rooftops in R Districts are allowed to exceed the maximum building height, provided that:
(a) they are set back at least 20 feet from the front building line
(b) do not exceed 11 feet in overall height or extend more than 8 feet above the building parapet, whichever is greater;
3) Maximum total building floor area, excluding basement, is 3,750 ft. This includes all interior stairwells, mechanicals, etc. and includes any attic space having clear height (head-room) of 6 feet 9 inches or more
4) Any addition to the property cannot infringe into required setbacks as follows: Rear setback from property line 35 ft., north side setback 3 ft, south side setback 2 ft.
Budget is not unlimited, so additional consideration will be given to those designs that incorporate any existing components (walls, plumbing locations, etc.) of current home while achieving the primary goals and objectives
While accomplishing a LEED certified home likely would be cost prohibitive, ideas and concepts that promote green and sustainable living or enhanced efficiency will be given weight