The former home of Oak Park architect E.E. Roberts sold to a new family at the end of August.
For architecture buffs, there wasn’t a lot of time to pounce on the listing. Within days of listing, it sold on the Private Listing Network, a site used by realtors to market listings among themselves instead of listing on the public Multiple Listing Service.
Laura Maychruk, of Laura Maychruk Real Estate, was hired by the owners to sell the house in the spring, and after going under contract, the new buyers agreed to let the sellers stay in the house for the summer. Maychruk noted that she didn’t have to do a lot to familiarize herself with the listing as she was the buyer’s agent for the sellers when the purchased the home in 2017.
Maychruk, who estimated she’s sold at least four homes designed by Roberts in her real estate career, said, “I sold this home last time it sold. My clients saw it then and immediately put in a full-price offer. It happened again this time on the Private Listing Network.”
In 2017, the home sold for $995,000. Last month, the home sold for quite a bit more. After garnering multiple offers, it closed at $1.3 million, about an 8.4% premium over its $1.19 million listing price.
Maychruk noted that she loves E.E. Roberts’ homes. “Anytime people say they have an E.E. Roberts house, I’m running over there,” she said. This house, which retained so much original detail, is special, she said, adding that the potential buyers who had a chance to tour it thought so, too.
“You get chills walking in that house,” she said.
Credited with designing more than 200 homes in Oak Park, Eben Ezra Roberts was born in Boston in 1866 and educated in New England. He moved to Chicago in 1888, where he worked as a site superintendent for architect S.S. Beman at the Pullman development on the South Side.
In 1893, he established his own architecture practice when he moved to Oak Park. He eventually maintained two offices in town: one on Marion Street at North Boulevard and the other out of his Superior Street home.
Roberts and his wife, Rossie, purchased the house on Superior Street in 1898. It was built in 1894 in the Victorian Italianate style. In 1911, Roberts added to the house, doubling the floor space. Over his tenure there, the home took on a Prairie style that reflected Roberts’ evolution as an architect.
The couple raised two children, Margaret and Elmer, in the home, and E.E. Roberts lived there until he died in 1943. In 1912, he moved his architectural practice from Oak Park to Chicago and began to focus more on commercial designs.
Cathy Yanda of Baird & Warner represented the buyers in the transaction this summer and said her clients, Russell Ainsworth and Rachel Watson, were already Oak Park residents who were looking for a new home.
They worked with Yanda to secure an appointment when Maychruk first listed the house. They weren’t initially searching for an architecturally significant home, but the home’s location and size were the big draws in the summer’s busy selling market. Once they saw the house, though, the history and the architecture drew them in.
“They looked at other homes,” Yanda said, but there was no more looking once they saw the house at 1019 Superior Street.
“This one, you walk in, and honestly, it’s a wow moment. It was kind of kismet,” she said.
The home maintains many original details, including 18-carat-gold-accented stained- glass doors, tile floors on the sun room and a glazed tile fireplace. On the staircase, a newel post with a built-in clock and storage cabinet are other original details that speak to the home’s heritage.
Yanda noted that her clients are nature lovers and loved the private nature of the backyard and the outdoor kitchen, as well as the updated interior kitchen that previous owners had remodeled to keep in line with the home’s Prairie Style.
Roberts’ redesign of the house in 1911 made it much more of an open-concept house than was typical for that time period, Yanda pointed out.
“You can move around in it a little better than in some of the other homes from that era,” she said.
Her clients are a family who also appreciate all of the original French doors, which allow them to create separate spaces for adults and children when entertaining.
Yanda said her clients, who saw the house in May shortly after it was featured on the Wright Plus Housewalk, are very excited to be able to be the next custodians of the house, which has been lovingly maintained by generations of owners.