I just relocated from the Bay Area to Chicago. When I lived in SF, my wife and I had a friend with an Eichler - which we fell in love with. We bought both Eichler books and started to look at buying our own.
We looked at many of the eichler neighborhoods in the east bay (Castro Valley and Concord), north bay(Lucas Valley) and Sunnvale/Mountain View. Unfortunately, we had to move to Chicago (job market being what it is in the valley right now). Anyway, Chicago is well known for its modern high rise architecture in the downtown area, but I have yet to find anything similar to the Eichler neighbor hoods. Does anyone know of a builder or an area around Chicago that has build good affordable Eichleresque or modern homes?
In the greater Chicago area, you'll find many Keck & Keck homes in similar Eichler-like subdivisions. These open-planned gems feature post & beam construction, flat roofs, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, radiant floor heat.
There have been several books published by and about George and Fred Keck. Their homes were also featured in many magazines in the 40s and 50s.
Check out Jetset - Design for Modern Living for more...
I'm also looking to relocate to Chicago from an Eichler. There isn't much to choose from. There is a Keck & Keck subdivision in Glencoe, but the houses are kind of small. They are 3BRs for just over $500k. Believe it or not, there's also a small Frank Lloyd Wright subdivision there as well.
Surprisingly, your best bet is the South suburbs, Olympia Fields, Homewood, and Flossmoor. It's the most affordable way to get a modern house as most custom Kecks up north cost the same as a Bay Area Eichler. You can get a modern house there for $275-450k!
Do you know of specific builders/neighborhoods to look for in the south suburbs?
There are a lot of Keck & Keck's and other architects represented. I'm not sure why they all got to build in the South Suburbs. My guess is that it's because Olympia Fields was kind of a resort town that grew up around a country club so there was money there and because the large lots showed off modern design well. In addition, it's a little closer to ITT where Mies taught.
There's a pretty famous Schweiker on sale now. It's at 7 or 8 Thornwood in Homewood or Flossmoor. Try Graymoor Lane in Olympia Fields as well. Note that if you have kids, you'll want to get into the Homewood/Floosmoor high school district.
We currently live in Barrington, IL and are great fans of modern architecture. There was a local architect here in Barrington named Edward Dart who designed many homes with the Eichler aesthetic. Not exact dulicates but interesting. He designed many houses in the Barrington area and Highland Park. Barrington is 35 NW of downtown Chicago. There is a commuter train stop in town so it is still quite convenient to get around. Highland Park is about 25 miles north of Chicago, also on the train line. It has many modern style houses to be found.
We are currently contemplating a move back to Milwaukee, WI but are waiting for a house that has somekind of modern look to become available or are considering purchasing a set of Eichler plans and working with a friend who is an architect to bring them up to code.
There is a house for sale in Barrington that might be of particular interest. It is on 6.5 acres, two lakes and has a 2bdrm home designed by Dart. It needs some restoration but would be great! I know the house has been on the market since last September and last I checked had an asking price of $849K. Too rich for my pocketbook but I would LOVE to own it. Because of the land and location I'm sure the house will just be torn down and who knows what built there.
You can check it out at http://www.realtor.com
49 Hawthorne RD
Barrington Hills, IL 60010
MLS ID#: 690543
I have been inside the house and it is definately worth restoring and enlarging tastefully. Good Luck! Please let me know if anyone saves this house. I'd love to know that I was able to be a part of it.
One more thing...the neighborhood I live in has many Eichler like homes and is very modestly priced ($250-450K). If fact the house across the street from us is a Dart designed house. Gorgeous! Ours is modern in feel with a little remodeling would be a dream. Perhaps if we can find something in Milwaukee, it will be on the market soon! The subdivision is The Highlands in Barrington.
What kind of HVAC system do the Chicago area modern homes have?
With a location that is known for some severe weather, it seems like a radiant heating system with large single pane glass windows would be totally inadequate for keeping the inside comfortable.
As far as the HVAC goes it varies. Many are forced air with ducts between the walls and or steam heat with radiators. Both are very effective. The forced air also allows for central air conditioning while the steam heat requires the use of window air conditioning units or the installation of a space pack (sp?) system, the later are usually added to houses with attics.
Some also have electric baseboard heaters which is what I beliee is what is found in most modern style homes. These can be individually controlled from room to room.
Hope this helps..I'm no expert of course but it's all good when the chill sets in.
If you're still interested, the Walter Gray house in Olympia Fields is currently on the market. It's one of Keck's steel houses. It has 5 BR and 6 baths and is on almost 2 acres. All for the unbelievable price of $299k. I understand it needs some work, but probably no more than the typical deEichlerized Eichler. I wish I didn't work in the Northwest suburbs. Sigh.
The address is 3 Graymoor.
I checked for the listing on 3 Graymoor and found one at 7 Graymoor, is this the same one? We currently live in Barrington in a semi-modern home but are looking for something a bit larger. (We have 1377 sq. ft and 3 bedrooms). I would be interested to see the home just to see if I really the deel of the Keck+Keck homes. And on 2 acres, wow!
We are actually trying to find a modern home in the Milwaukee, WI area with very little luck. I think we've been searching for 6-9 months with 1 great lead in Elm Grove designed by John Randall McDonald (student of Frank Lloyd Wright) but the rooms were surprising very small and my husband at 6'4" is not. Any ideas for Milwaukee moderns anyone?
If we find something we intend to sell our home by owner if anyone else is looking to move to the Chicago area...
The keck home for sale is 7 Graymoor lane.My husband and I grew up in homewood and have always admired it, so when it went on the market we had our agent show it to us..........WOW!It is amazing, if you have the keck &keck book there are pictures of it and it hasn't changed a bit.The original plans were on the kitchen table, the fixtures are original, and if you look in the book you'll see a custom bar in the living room that also hasn't been touched.The house has had water damage to the ceiling and there are some broken windows but ALL of the wonderfull built-ins remain.The aking price is 299,00., but was on and the market a couple times.Someone who recognizes the architectual significance of this house needs to save it before it gets torn down (the listing agent has been telling poeple she thinks its a tear down........AAHHHHH!!!)
p.s. it is flossmoor grade school anf hoewood flossmoor highschool
Just a heads up that the Keck & Keck "Levin" house is currently on sale in Olympia Fields. A courtyard design, this is about as close as you can get to an Eichler in Chicago. It's apparently been foreclosed on and looks to be a pretty good deal, although who knows what kind of shape it's in. I just wish I didn't work in the NW suburbs so I could live in Olympia Fields. There have been at least a half dozen architecturally significant houses on the market there this year alone.
Go to http://www.mlsni.com and type in the MLS#, 03226354.
This is next to 7 Gramoor Lane, the "Gray" house, which apparently just sold.
There are some wonderful Eichleresque houses on Forest Ave. in Oak Park. Seriously, you ought to see them. There is a weekend walking historical tour and a springtime interior tour of several houses. You'll understand why old Joe was so inspired.
There's a Keck & Keck house for sale in the Glencoe Keck subdivision that's on Carol Lane. This area is the closest you can get to the feeling of a true Eichler neighborhood in Chicago.
However, teardowns have started and the owner of this house has said that she's selling to a builder if she doesn't sell it in a week or so. It's a for sale by owner so I don't think she's being reasonable on the time frame.
Glencoe is Chicago magazine's top rated suburb and the house is priced quite afforably ($499k) for the area. If you're at all interested in owning an Eichler like house in Chicago, email me for the owner's contact info.
Thank you for the info. If you can, post this lottaliving.com, dwellmag.com, and livemodern.com
The latter two tend to get a lot of midwest traffic