If you own an old home, think you might buy an old home or just love historic architecture and old-world craftsmanship, the second annual in-person Vintage Home Show at Unity Temple is worth a stop on Saturday, March 4.
Heidi Ruehle, executive director of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, says that like last year’s event, this year’s Vintage Home Show will feature artisans, designers and contractors who are experienced in working with older homes. At the event, guests can attend seminars, visit vendor booths to learn about their work in vintage homes and ask experts home renovation questions.
One of the vendors who will be on hand is Hollice Childress, whose business C&H Specialty Craftworks, specializes in recreating historic-style windows, doors and other carpentry that look old but perform more like modern pieces.
He developed his own process to reproduce historical designs and notes that it involves, “a lot of challenging geometry.”
This year, he’s bringing a door to the show that highlights his skills.
“It’s supposed to represent Frank Lloyd Wright and other styles I’ve seen in Oak Park,” Childress said. “I wanted to incorporate things people are using today, like Ring doorbells, and I added a mailbox to show different options.”
Eric Lindeman of OP Painters will also have a vendor booth at the Vintage Home Show. He says that his career in Oak Park and the surrounding areas have honed his skills working in older homes.
OP Painters as found a niche in specializing in the kind of houses that have lath-and-plaster walls rather than drywall, and Lindeman says his team has worked on significant homes such as Frank Lloyd Wright designs.
“In Oak Park, all the homes are late 1800s to early 1900s, compared to the newer homes you might see in a place like Hinsdale,” Lindeman said. “It takes a certain knowledge about how houses were put together back then.”
Ruehle reports that feedback from the 2022 Vintage Home Show indicated that attendees wanted more relatable old-home stories. To that end, this year’s seminars aim to cover topics that people are finding applicable to the circumstances they deal with in their own homes.
For example, one seminar will feature homeowners who installed a modern kitchen in their landmarked Queen Anne style home. Another will feature homeowners who re-converted their two-flat back into a single-family home.
In addition to the seminars, she touts the local experts who will be on hand and ready and willing to answer individual questions. Architect and historic preservation expert Frank Heitzman, Oak Park Village Urban Planner Susie Trexler and a representative from the Oak Park River Forest Historical Society are just a few of the experts who will be present.
Ruehle notes that for many who are just moving into Oak Park or River Forest, the Vintage Home Show can be a great way to dip their toe into future renovations and it’s also a fun educational experience about the details that make up historic homes.
“Last year, we had a fantastic turnout,” Ruehle said. “A lot of the people were those with a home purchase or a renovation project on the horizon. This is a great resource for pretty much anyone who lives here or is thinking of living here.”
Before you go
The Vintage Home Show will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. at Oak Park’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, Unity Temple, 875 Lake St. in Oak Park on Saturday, March 4.
General admission tickets cost $20. For $50, realtors can purchase a package which gives all of their clients access to the show just by mentioning their name at the door.
For more information, a complete list of vendors, and a link to ticket purchases, visit utrf.org/event/homeshow.
Proceeds from the event benefit UTRF’s mission to preserve Unity Temple and educate the public about the significance of Frank Lloyd Wright’s contribution to modern architecture.