Patton & Fisher was a Chicago architecture presence from 1885 through 1899. Architects Normand Patton and Reynolds Fisher designed buildings throughout the Midwest, including the Lincoln Park Zoo Headquarters and several buildings on the Illinois Institute of Technology Campus.
They left their mark on Oak Park as well, designing Pilgrim Congregational Church, the now-demolished Scoville Institute and a number of single-family homes. Two of those homes recently hit the market and are good examples of the architects’ style.
The John Rankin House at 245 N. Kenilworth Ave. was built in 1888. The Lawrence Muther House, just a block away at 222 Forest Ave. was built in 1883.
Greer Haseman and Chris Curran of the GPS Team of @properties are listing both houses, both of which have asking prices near or above $1 million.
The home at 222 Forest Ave. is listed at $1,290,000. The six-bedroom, four-bathroom house spans over 5,300 square feet and sits on a lot that is 74-feet wide by 331-feet deep. The sellers won a historic preservation award for their restoration of the home’s front porch, which includes a second story balcony accessible from the upstairs bedrooms.
The first floor features working original pocket doors and wainscoting that defines the grand staircase to the second floor. While the traditional living room and dining room boast the classic woodwork and high ceilings of a Victorian home, they also marry well with today’s styles.
“Contemporary furniture and lighting work well in these rooms because of the high ceilings and sense of grand space,” Haseman said.
The kitchen is new and the original butler’s pantry adds charm as a pass-through to the dining room. A newer mudroom provides storage and access to the rear yard. The original stable and tack room at the rear of the property have been reimagined as garage and storage space.
At some point, a family room was added adjacent to the kitchen, and Haseman says the volume on the first floor and numerous windows allow in lots of sunlight. The library with original leaded glass windows and built-in bookcases, says Haseman, is “a great background for Zooms.”
A small room tucked under the front staircase lends itself to a fun hideaway for children. Upstairs, the primary bedroom is a spacious combination of two smaller bedrooms, and includes an en suite bathroom. Four more bedrooms and a hall bathroom round out the second floor. High ceilings, leaded glass and original wooden sphere doorknobs keep the old-house charm alive.
The attic space features a playroom, sixth bedroom, full bathroom and a bonus room. Haseman says that this house, like its later-built neighbor on Kenilworth share many traits.
“You can see that when they designed these houses,” Haseman said. “The design elements were very consistent. These houses were meant to entertain.”
The Patton & Fisher-designed home at 245 N. Kenilworth Ave. sits on the corner of Kenilworth and Elizabeth Court in the center of the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District. Listed at $950,000, the house has five bedrooms and four full bathrooms and roughly 5,800 square feet of living space.
The deep front porch is fronted with an ornamental relief. Like 222 Forest Ave., visitors enter the home through a vestibule and set of double doors into a grand foyer. The double parlor and library on either side of the entry both have their original fireplaces and sport period-appropriate wallpaper from Bradbury and Bradbury. Original pocket doors throughout the first floor remain. A sunroom off the double parlor has an original tiled floor.
Throughout the first floor, woodwork has been lovingly restored and maintained, including wainscoting, moldings and fireplace surrounds. A full bath and updated kitchen round out the first floor.
A grand staircase leads to a spacious second floor landing with linen closets. The primary bedroom has an original fireplace and an en suite bathroom. Another bedroom is in the turret directly above the first-floor library, a third bedroom includes a sleeping porch, while a fourth bedroom has its own half bathroom. A full bathroom and laundry room are also on this floor.
The third floor was the original ballroom and entertaining space for the home. Wood flooring and a wet bar make this space work well for entertaining today, and a fifth bedroom, office and full bathroom make this a great space for guests as well.
Haseman says the timing of the listings was purely coincidental, but adds, “It’s kind of fun to have them both on at once.”