Residence, Kenilworth, IL

This project started out as a ‘charette’. Our client asked that this project be designed and submitted for permit review three weeks from the date of being hired. Fortunately the client was exceptional as she knew what she wanted, made decisions quickly and was open to suggestions we made to change and improve her concept of the finished project. The goal was met and the permit for construction was issued within five weeks of start of the design. Obviously this was an unusual case where working fast was not detrimental to the project! (How did we do it?….In order to meet the schedule a lot of non-permit essential information was left to be decided and added while the project was in the permit review and bidding process.)

The project scope included demolition of the interior whereby the floor plan was changed, moving the kitchen and dining room to a new location and adding a first floor master bedroom and bath suite in their place. The second floor attic/living space and roof-line was also changed to visually incorporate an existing garage that was previously stuck-on more like an afterthought. (As with all of our renovation projects the goal is to incorporate changes and additions as thought they were always meant to be a part of the original plan.)

There was also some added intrigue. There was a rumor that the house was originally designed by George Maher, a well known architect who designed many prairie style houses on the north shore, particularly in Kenilworth. Consequently we chased down the rumor only to find the smallest shred of evidence, a reference to the address in an index of Maher homes built in Kenilworth. Nothing else. Even contrary to the rumor, and the ‘evidence’, the house would have been built very late in Mahr’s career meaning that one would expect to see a highly developed sense of space, a well developed plan and articulation, not the poorly conceived, awkward, and in some cases close to unusable plan that was actually built. The house was also poorly constructed and the only drawings that existed were sketchy, and in the words of the official in the Kenilworth planning department,’unprofessional’. In any event the jury is still out.

The images shown above start with the home in the demolition phase and are followed by the virtual design model.