The permits are in, and we’re in the construction phase of our single-family home renovation and addition in Andersonville.

The mid-century masonry and wood-framed building is a Georgian Revival-style home, an architectural style typical throughout Chicago. We are now creating a modern, split-level with a family room and a spacious master suite while respecting the original structure. Our design focuses on open spaces and merging the indoors with the outdoors, connecting our client’s flourishing rear garden.


The home, which dates back to the 50s, is entirely outdated and too compact to meet today’s space standards. Due to the limitations of construction materials of the era, small rooms were necessary to reduce the span of the joists. Currently, the kitchen and dining spaces are closed off as separate rooms, creating an awkward flow on the first floor. In addition, an enclosed porch-turned-den-turned-pandemic-home-office is a conspicuous appendage that doesn’t integrate with the rest of the home.

We’ll start by opening up the interior and knocking down the porch, adding a sunken family room at grade that merges with the kitchen, increasing the social activity space within the home. Next, we’ll expand the second floor to include a master suite adorned with custom millwork and a luxe master bathroom. The updated, open layout, together with newly installed floor-to-ceiling windows and increased ceiling height, will help create a loftier feel and allow more natural light into the interior.


The first task for the home renovation and addition is to demolish the aforementioned enclosed porch and attached rear deck allowing for the construction of the expansion. The relatively low elevation of the first floor means only a few stairs are necessary for connection to the lowered, split-level family room. Our design strategy has many benefits similar to our Richmond HouseWinchester House, and Carmen House projects. But, most notably for our plant enthusiast clients, the reimagined space allows for a seamless transition from the family room to the cherished yard, merging hardscape and landscape.

The garden connection transpires through a custom, large format patio door system from Oknoplast and a concealed insect screen from Phantom. More common in Europe, this type of door is entirely aluminum and thermally broken for energy efficiency. The effortless gliding track is concealed by embedding it into the concrete slab for a more seamless assembly.

We took cues from the landscape to create the softened, eased corner where the addition meets the yard. The second floor strategically overhangs the first floor wall to protect the large sliding door opening and provide shade for the south-facing glass, reducing cooling demand during hot summer months. The cedar rainscreen facade will mount vertically to accentuate the curve and overall massing of the addition. Then we’ll match the window finish on the recessed portions of the facade with a black cement board.

Pictured above: site analysis and sketches developed during the schematic design phase.


Chicago winters are harsh. When snowstorms roll in with bone-chilling temps, we retreat to the comfort of our homes. There’s nothing more unpleasant than interior drafts and walking on cold floors during a hot toddy-fueled hibernation. To achieve a heightened state of hygge, we’re installing hydronic radiant heat beneath the concrete floor and installing a modern Rais wood-burning stove in the family room. We created easy access to the firewood with integrated, built-in wood storage for the stove right outside on the terrace addition.

Integrating energy-efficient radiant heating systems in combination with a wood burning stove creates a cozy atmosphere. The radiant system supplies heat to the floors and all the way up to the ceilings, while the stove helps increase heat output in the family room where everyone gathers.

Millwork and material detail sketches


Perched above the family room, overlooking the garden, we designed the new second floor master suite to have a tree-house feel, a calming space where our clients can decompress. With strategically placed windows, the eye is immediately directed to unobstructed views of the treetops when entering the suite, creating a sense of being connected with the landscape.  

Instead of generic storage spaces, we’re filling the suite with custom closets and a walnut platform bed with integrated nightstands. The closet helps keep things tidy with built-in hampers and shoe storage. But the real jewel (or, more accurately, polished stone) of the space is the master bathroom appointed with a green-hued marble from Italy’s Valle d’Aosta (coincidently, a stellar wine region), a free-standing tub, a large zero-threshold shower, and a Japanese style washlet. With an operable skylight directly above the tub, our clients can gaze at the stars while enjoying a soak and contemplating the mysteries of the universe. We located clerestory windows above the medicine cabinet and vanity to bring in as much natural light as possible and the sandblasted glass surrounding the tub allows more light to illuminate the room.

Check back for progress and final photos!

Dusk view rendering showing the cedar-clad addition connecting to the garden

Photos of existing interior and exterior conditions.

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