Sunday, June 19, 2005

2-Flats run in the family

I call our 2-flat a house, because to us it really is. It has a yard and a garage and basement and we are treating it like a keeper. I grew up in a 2-flat also and Chicago has tons of 2-flats, so maybe that's why it feels so comfortable to me.

I spent this morning with my Dad for Father's Day and thought I'd post a photo of his 2-flat. I think it is lovely. It's a grey stone Victorian and inside has all the original oak mouldings exposed, pocket doors, and 2 decorative fireplaces on both levels. An appreciation for architecture runs in my family.

My Dad lives on a very special street actually. All around him on surrounding blocks there have been massive teardowns- mostly of frame homes (but nice ones). They were torn down to put up condo buildings mostly with cinderblock on the sides.

For some reason his street escaped this blight-maybe because many of the buildings on the street (mostly 2-flats) were stone or brick and less likely to be torn down. Until...someone set their eyes on this beautiful building.

Before you get alarmed, this story has a happy ending.
When the neighbors on the street found out that this building was going to be torn down, they got together and along with the Alderman who appreciated the fact that this block was intact and filled with great architecture, put a cease and desist on the demoltion. The Alderman working with Preservation Chicago found a developer willing to trade properties with this one and renovate the building rather than tear it down!

It is now in the process of being renovated and this guy is doing a fabulous job. Note the curved windows for example. He also put in real stone steps. And, even better, the entire block now has landmark status so it is protected now. See, I told you my Dad lives on a special street!

It will only become more precious.

If you want to read about the story, it's on the Preservation Chicago website as one of their victories from 2003.

Dad and I went for a walk around his neighborhood and I captured this Louis Sullivan-esque, building.

Check out the close up:

...and speaking of Father's Day, Dad and I passed this poster at a construction site- I couldn't not post this. Priceless, wouldn't you say?

Happy Father's Day to the renovating Dad's out there!


Greg said...

Great pictures! I love stone houses, and someday hope to own one. Is that a slate roof on your Dad's house? Is that the house you grew up in? Was it designed to be a 2-Flat, or was it converted, and if so when (In know, a lot of questions)? Those are such nice houses. It's hard to believe, looking at the world we live in today, that building houses like that was common place at one time.

Kristin said...

Very cool neighborhood. You rarely see houses like that around here, so I love the pics. :)

Jocelyn said...

Hey Greg,

It is a slate roof on the front of his house but behind that fasade is a flat tar roof.

I didn't grow up there- my Dad moved there like 20 years ago or so. I feel pretty certain it was designed for 2 units as the vestibule is original and has 2 separate entry doors. The floorplans and accoutrements are identical on each floor- fireplaces etc...

The ceilings are like 10 feet and there are transom windows everywhere throughtout. The kicthens and baths are not period, but he has kept it true otherwise.

I feel the same way with regards to your comment on building in the past. It's so funny because even though people's lives were shorter back then and often cut short by illness etc...much more frequently, they built things to last a long time.

That period 100+ years ago was such an amazing time. So much striving for greatness. A great book with this theme is "Devil in the White City" about the World's Fair in Chicago. It's amazing what people accomplished back then given the obstacles.

misschrisc said...

Oh dear are they crazy to have wanted to tear that place down or what! How awful to be blind to all that beauty and history! :(( Your father's home is stunning by the way. Just georgous.