It’s been a while since I’ve featured a specific property but then I saw Dennis Rodkin’s Crain’s article on this mid-century modern home in Bensenville a couple of weeks ago and was immediately impressed by the photos. I thought it was worth sharing.
With 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, the 2900 square foot, single level home is located at 4N151 Briar Ln, right next to Fischer Woods Forest Preserve. Depending upon the angle the home can be quite unassuming – maybe even boring. For the featured image at the top of this post I purposely used one of the least flattering photos showing the garage. The suburbs are full of homes that look like that from the street. But this home is L shaped and from some other angles is quite impressive. For example, check out the first photo in the slideshow at the bottom of this post (make sure you give the slideshow plenty of time to load so that you can actually flip through it while staying on this page). Lots of large glass windows and sleek lines.
The home was designed by Fred and William Keck to take full advantage of nature, incorporating passive solar design principles. So that long wall of windows faces south, looking into the forest preserve. A large overhang keeps the mid-day sun out of the house in the summer but the late day winter sun can still get in. Look closely and you’ll notice that the windows are large, single panes of glass – i.e. they don’t open. Well, that doesn’t seem like it’s taking advantage of nature! But look closer and you’ll notice a signature trademark of Keck & Keck designs: louvers next to the windows to let air inside. On the inside those louvers are covered by cabinet doors. In the slideshow below there are two photos of the same room (with a chair in the foreground) with those doors opened and closed so you can see how they work.
The interior is where this home gets really cool. Most of the rooms still look contemporary with flat surfaces and straight, parallel lines. Many of the floors, with radiant heat, are tile and there is plenty of wood and exposed brick – except the brick is clean and neat, unlike much of the exposed brick we see in the city. And there’s something about the color of the wood, the tile, and the bricks that works really well together – like different shades of an earthy red.
As I mentioned earlier, you also have a ton of large single pane, glass windows so you really feel like you are outside, which is great when you’re right next to a forest preserve. You can’t even see your neighbors except from a few limited places in the house.
The home has been lucky to be owned over the years by people with great taste. Although it has been expanded those expansions managed to maintain the original style of the house so that you can’t tell what was original or what is new. The home was always L shaped but that became more pronounced with the additions. The current owners updated the bathrooms but the style of those updates is totally in keeping with the style of the home. However, the kitchen is notably small and outdated but charming in a way. I think I’d be afraid to touch it for fear of screwing it up.
Also, notice how well the furniture works in that home. The style, the colors, and the wood blend in perfectly with the house itself. It photographs exceptionally well, which is what got my attention.
Here is the description of the home from the listing:
What a fantastic home for anybody looking for a beautiful, modern house with a large lot and views of nature! This classic mid-century modern home was designed by noted architects Keck & Keck, and later expanded to give you multiple large, open living spaces all on a single level that’s amazingly comfortable and easy to live in. Expertly sited with the main window line facing south toward the Fischer Woods Forest Preserve, this home will delight with its many original modern details, such as plank and beamed ceilings, in-floor radiant heat, vast floor to ceiling windows, textured wood paneled walls, exposed brick, rich wood used for doors and details and of course Keck & Keck’s signature louvered vents to offer comfortable cross-ventilation throughout the house. Perfect for today’s needs, the home features 3 bedrooms plus an office, three full bathrooms, and is conveniently located near highway access, O’Hare, Oak Brook shopping & restaurants and much more. If you’ve been looking for the right modern home at a great price on a spacious lot with views of nature, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!
The listing agent, Lou Zucaro, wrote this article about the home and he also provides a lot more information about Keck & Keck homes: A Sprawling Keck & Keck Home in a Somewhat Unlikely Location. The home was priced at $442,500 but it already has multiple offers which were due Monday night so it will be under contract any minute above list price for sure. Property taxes are $9327/ year.
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Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service real estate brokerage that offers home buyer rebates and discount commissions. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market or get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.