Sedgwick Residence

Renovated front elevation

Original elevation

The 1890's facade revealed

Period exterior, contemporary interior

A loft-like interior to showcase art

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Chicago, Illinois

Project Statistics

This extensive project included the gut renovation of the existing cottage, excavation for a new basement, a 10'-0" addition to the existing home, a one-story connector/breezeway, and construction of a new three-story coach house with garage.

Existing Conditions

An 1890's frame construction two-story Landmark worker’s cottage located on a through lot in the Old Town Triangle District on Chicago’s north side.

Design Challenge

The owners desired to locate their own residence on the property, as well as two rental units, a guest apartment, the offices for their international motorcycle touring company, and a museum for their motorcycle collection also to be used as a showcase space for entertaining clients. City Landmark status required substantial preservation of the existing building, which was in sorry structural shape, had been poorly renovated several times, and bore little resemblance to the original historic cottage. Conflicting zoning regulations and codes, differences in construction materials, restrictive setbacks, and a cantankerous neighborhood organization all posed unique challenges to the design and completion of the project.

Design Solution

The existing cottage was stripped down to its original materials to discern its historic configuration and obtain neighborhood approval for the work. The cottage was raised, leveled, and a full basement excavated under it. In the restoration of the façade, care was taken to maintain as much of the original building structure as possible. The original wood siding was removed, refurbished, and reinstalled. A three-story masonry coach house with garage was built fronting onto Fern Court that effectively separated the owners’ office and entertaining space from their living quarters. Ample space was provided for their extensive art collection in the vaulted living space, accentuated by several skylights.