Kenwood Property Development



Nathaniel Butler House - circa 1908

University of Chicago "Professor's Row"

Tallmadge & Watson - Architects

1217 East 56th Street, Chicago, IL

Comprehensive structural, mechanical, exterior and interior renovation. 

(Floor Plans and Construction pics below.)

Project Description

The picture above shows Butler House just after the project commenced. Links below provide many floor plans, elevations, and list of deliverables. Additional snaps show the progression of  major trades.  A separate picture gallery shows completed interiors.

Seminal Prairie School architects Tallmadge & Watson designed this townhouse for University of Chicago President Nathaniel Butler in 1908.  After languishing on the market for an extended period Butler House was acquired in late 2006, comprehensively renovated, and sold to the current family in early 2008.  

Authentic interior spaces, including plaster walls and ceilings, original leaded glass windows, roman brick fireplaces, custom oak display cases, and other emblematic Prairie School design details, were repaired and restored, or, replaced to the original specification as the situation required. Shorn joists, undersized structural members and antiquated or sub-standard construction techniques revealed themselves through inoperable doors, latches and double-hung windows, swayed ceilings, degraded stairways, sloping floors, cracked walls, water stains and mold necessitating the near complete reconstruction of many structural members and installation of final finishes throughout.  

A master suite with two walk in closets and a five piece marble clad master bath en-suite with heated floors was added through the careful re-positioning of walls and the removal of a needless and nonfunctional secondary interior staircase.  A botched and degraded enclosed vintage 1970 sun room was transformed into a fully conditioned and integrated brick, limestone, cedar and stucco conservatory with with in-slab radiant heat, custom crafted energy efficient true divided light casement windows,  a standing seamed copper roof and an exposed aggregate staircase leading to a new, architecturally consistent covered exterior courtyard. Each window in the main structure was removed and completely restored.  A new custom crafted storm window assembly was provided.  Restoring the roof resulted in the re-construction of main chimney, parapet walls, terrace decks and installation of new copper flashing, gutters and down spouts.  Fascia, soffit and sill boards were substantially replaced using true dimensional cedar. Masonry repairs included tuck pointing, stucco replacement and parging using historically true mortar sand and cement.  The mechanical renovation included the provision of a new 200 AMP service, an ultra-high efficiency Buderus boiler and domestic hot water system,  a new high efficiency forced air heating and cooling system, new cast iron stacks, new copper risers, the excavation of the basement slab, the removal of several cubic yards of soil, the provision of new footings and steel posts and beams, the provision of a new, insulated, reinforced slab with radiant pipes, the addition of a full laundry room, full bath, mud room, mechanical room, paneled oak staircase and fully finished family room.  Attic rafters were strap tied into the main structure and where possible, a Low-E reflective barrier and Ultra-Touch insulation was placed in attic, floor and wall cavities.

This comprehensive transformation provided tasteful upper bracket finishes consistent with historical sensibilities that resulted in an energy efficient, structurally sound, plumb and flush, upper bracket residence while preserving architecturally significant Prairie School details throughout, accommodating to a modern family's professional lifestyle and built to last for the next 100 years.

Construction  Pictures