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In Chicago, a Family Home With an Environmentally Friendly Pedigree

Listing of the Day

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Price: $9.4 million

Built in 2010, this 10,400-square-foot house in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood was the first LEED Gold-certified single-family home in Illinois.

Its thoughtful contemporary design also won a 2011 Preservation Excellence Award for new construction from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, according to Jennifer Ames of the Ames Group Chicago/Engel & Volkers, the listing agent.

“The house was recognized for its compatibility with the 19th-century homes that surround it,” she said. “This was a unique opportunity, because most of the houses in this area are more than 120 years old, and you can’t touch them. The owner took down a building in poor condition on a large lot, which is how they got permission for this extremely one-of-a-kind, special house.”

Built in 2010, this 10,400-square-foot house in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood was the first LEED Gold-certified single-family home in Illinois.

Ames Group Chicago/Engel & Volkers

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The home’s gated front entrance opens to a three-story glass atrium with a floating staircase. The atrium flows into an open-plan living and dining area with walls of windows facing a courtyard with a shallow, rock-filled pool. The courtyard is “like a rectangular cutout in the middle of the house, designed for more light and a greater connection with the outdoors,” Ms. Ames said. A spacious kitchen, finished in white, boasts a long center island with ample storage. Sliding glass doors connect the kitchen’s breakfast area to the courtyard.

The second level features three bedrooms, including a large primary bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and a view of the courtyard. On its top floor, the home includes a guest bedroom and bathroom, along with a full guest suite with bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and sitting room.

Energy-efficient features distinguish the home, including a green roof, insulated windows and a geothermal pump—an anomaly in Chicago, according to Ms. Ames. “That’s very unusual for the city. In my career, I’ve only seen one other house with that feature,” she said. The home was built using “healthy materials”, she added.


With 10,400 square feet of living space, the house features five bedrooms and seven bathrooms over four levels.

More: What Property Tax Changes Are Coming in Chicago?


Along with an elevator that services all floors, the home includes a five-car underground garage, a major perk during Chicago’s long, snowy winters.

Talking Points

The home’s lower level, a kind of steampunk fantasy come to life, “should be in the Museum of Science and Industry,” Ms. Ames said. An Italian artisan, hired by the owners, worked on the subterranean room for months, gathering found objects, lighting fixtures, ephemera and unusual materials. Old theater seats behind the ornate pool table open to become cocktail tables. Walls are made of rescued upholstery. A repurposed steamer trunk holds a flat-screen television. The result “is like nothing you’ve ever seen,” Ms. Ames said. “It’s Rube Goldberg-esque. There was no blueprint for this room. The artisan just had so much fun.”

Neighborhood Notes

Just a block from Lake Michigan on Chicago’s Near North Side, the home is tucked into the Astor Street Historic District, a section of the Gold Coast whose residential architecture is especially significant. “The Gold Coast neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most notable historic mansions,” Ms. Ames said. “Astor Street is the cr​​itme de la critme, and this is part of that district.” O’Hare International Airport is about 18 miles west; Chicago Midway International Airport is about 15 miles southwest.

Agent: Jennifer Ames, Ames Group Chicago/Engel & Volkers

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