Wicker Park Residence

Wheeler Kearns Architects balanced the preservation of the Victorian-era facade with the modernization and reinterpretation of interiors in a historical home located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago.

The owners desired to create a new a standalone residence that incorporates DNA of the historic Landmark District to preserve the street experience, and acts as an expression of their style and personality. The Wicker Park Residence resides among and shares its street front with historic homes that represent some of Chicago’s largest and best examples of Victorian-era architecture. The landmark designation, which placed prescriptive rules for any new construction in the neighborhood, inspired a reinterpretation of traditional materials and detailing.

A formal brick masonry façade is carved away at the rear to reveal a garden, glass facade, and a contemporary, light-filled interior. The masonry shell of the new house stops short of a rehabilitated 100-year old coach house, connected only through a one-story glass enclosed link.

Traditional materials and detailing are refined and reinterpreted. A Roman-style brick differentiates itself from the Chicago Common brick while dark metal forms doors, windows, and expressed lintels. An ornamental metal cornice perforated with a circular motif compliments the cast iron fence that encloses the front yard, a playful touch that recalls the traditional fences on neighboring properties.

The interior follows suit, divided behind the formal front (entry, dining, and living) and an informal rear (kitchen and family room) which open to the private garden in the back. A central service core contains a powder room, butler’s pantry and storage on the first floor, and laundry and mechanical spaces on the second floor, while two large millwork volumes conceal stairways up to second-floor private spaces.

Design: Wheeler Kearns Architects
Photography: Hall + Merrick Photographers