Created by on Feb 15, 2022

Work is poised to begin to restore a Historic Kenwood home designed by famed Chicago architect, Howard Doren van Shaw. BBA Architects, in collaboration with Culliton Quinn Landscape Architecture, Goldberg General Contracting, and Allison Henry Interiors, will embark on an exterior restoration, interior renovation, and rear addition project. The home has a great deal of original work intact, but most surfaces are in need of repair or full replacement after 110 years of use. The formal areas of the home will be restored to the original beauty, while the balance of the home will be fully renovated in the spirit of the original. The updated plan will feature all modern amenities and complete replacement of services. As exterior work begins, BBA is working through the final interior architectural elements.

The process of re-imagining a historic property like this has a long ramp-up period in the design phase, as BBA collaborates with various consultants, and navigates a multi-faceted approval, scope, and budgeting process.

From a technical standpoint, the original home was exceptionally innovative for its time. The floors are constructed of site-cast concrete, and the walls all made of structural clay tile masonry. This largely fireproof structure utilized the best practices for its time which creates both advantages and unique challenges for remodeling. The process of working through these solutions, however, is very satisfying.

Of particular note is the proposed re-creation of the long missing, original glass and iron entry canopy. BBA will detail this from the original design, as well as mimic a surviving example of an exceptionally similar design from a Shaw home located in Glencoe. 

The original landscape design was produced by world renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen. The plan was dense with notations of Elm trees, Forsythias, as Persian Lilacs.  Almost nothing remains of his original vision. Some of the original choices however, will guide the future, including the restoration of the front court, fountain, and tulip garden. The new landscape will have a formalized front yard, but contain more interactive outdoor spaces than an early 20th century home would have had.