Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My Favorite Mega-Mansion (and it's for Sale): 636 W. Willow

I live very close to this home and have adored it for years. One of the reasons I love it is because you can tell there is some kind of courtyard inside. You can see the trees from the street rising up in the middle of the house.

So many of the mega-mansions built around here seem to completely forego any kind of outdoor element in favor of fortifying their fortresses. But, this house always struck me as getting it right. There are loads of windows yet it's incredibly private at the same time.

Unfortunately, the house is a bit like the Wonka factory. No one goes in and no one ever comes out. Sometimes a golden retriever sits in the window on the second floor gazing at everyone walking by below like he's the only king in the kennel.

The rumor is that the house is a guest abode for a Hyatt heiress (as in just an extra house she has lying around in case company jetted into town), but that's just a rumor. I have no idea if it's true.

The most wonderful thing is that because it's on the market (at $5.2 million with Heather Bilandic as its listing agent), I got to see some photos of the interior on the web and learn a little bit more about it. It's a 37' x 37' courtyard!

And, check this out. There's a shot with a photo of the dog. (Maybe he is the only who lives there.) Can you see him lying on the floor of the front hall?

And there's a photo that hints at the sanctuary of the interior courtyard.

Lovely, lovely.

Oh, to have $5.2 mil.


John said...

That's one of my favorite houses in Chicago, not only for the reasons you mention (open space, public/private) but for the brick. It's that great FLLW, skinny brick (Roman, I believe) that is so rarely used today because it takes longer to lay and therefore costs more. Here, it shows just how good it can look.

Jennifer said...

Oh, I'm so glad you commented. I don't know much about brick, so that gives me another avenue of appreciating it. I'll be sure to note it next time I stroll by. Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

another reason the building works is that it
happily sits on a corner. it is not landlocked,
overstuffed and out-of-context with garish
metal caging, I mean wrought iron, or pretentious
fake limestone that is out of proportion to the
box it is slapped onto.

truely, the name of this blog says it all :
"Place" is something developers care little
about since they build to squeeze every inch
and every cent out of dirt they will never inhabit
for a buying public that is only now beginning
to understand the insult of small minded mega-monsters.

Anonymous said...

the architect is Peter de Bretteville, who is on faculty at Yale. The owners/builders looked at buildings all over Chicago to find just the right brick they wanted to use.

kristen said...

My husband and I are coming in on Saturday the 10th of Feb to see it. I can't wait! It looks beautiful.

Jennifer said...

Kristen -- Coming in to see it as in to buy it??? Or, coming in to see it as an architectural thing?

Do tell.

If you're buying it:

A) We'll be neighbors. I'm in some nearby townhomes, and you never know when you'll need a cup of sugar.

B)I'd love the personal tour once you move in.

And, C) Heather Bilandic may owe me and Aparment Therapy a little nod for her whopping commission. . . Don't you think?


kristen said...

Well, whatever happens, since we are from out of town, Heather did say I could bring my camera so even if it does not work out, I'll still have pics I can share with you.

Jennifer said...

Please e-mail me or comment w/ the scoop. I was thinking about you looking at that house all day. The porch light was on this evening. Made me wonder if you guys left it on accidentally while you were looking around. . .

Anonymous said...

Hi, it's been 4 years and we now live in this house, my family and I.

KRO___ an zo-e said...

btw... the anonymous post was mine..

Peter de Bretteville said...

I am the architect and this is one of my all time favorites. Whoever buys it, please talk to me!