The Kenwood Project consisted of a 2,500 square foot, framed, single family home built in 1888 and located in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood. This was Integro’s very first project and our intent was to remodel the home for immediate resale. Similar to many homes in Hyde Park, this building was originally designed with strong Victorian characteristics including large, symmetrical windows providing natural light, decorated mouldings, custom millwork, a steep servants’ staircase located near the kitchen, and smaller rooms which allowed its inhabitants to meander through the floors rather than simply walking from the front to the back of the building. The Hyde Park neighborhood takes pride in its historic originality and we were challenged to balance renovation vs. restoration—respecting historic ambiance while bringing this home into the 21st century.
Prior to this project, the owners of this building were the sole occupants of the house—their family had built it in 1888. As native residents and in authentic Hyde Park fashion, they were avid gardeners. Now leaving their family home to investors intending to remodel, they approached us regarding irises planted in the backyard. These irises were originally planted by the owner’s grandfather in the 19th century and had been maintained for over a century. Knowing that one of the first casualties of construction is the exterior landscape, we worked with the next door neighbors to remove the irises and re-plant them in the neighbors’ yard prior to the start of demolition. We also worked with the neighbors to treat a large ash tree spanning both properties and designed our exterior construction to preserve a stunning, century-old cherry blossom tree.
One of the primary challenges of this project was updating the configuration of the 1st floor layout while still showcasing the historic quality of the home. The Victorian floorplan was dated and couldn’t accommodate contemporary patterns of use. Successfully creating an open concept design and accommodate professional-grade appliances for a luxury kitchen was vital to our success. The servants’ staircase provided a complexity to the design as it is not a common amenity in modern homes. “Fighting for square footage”, our architect tirelessly drafted multiple options and relied on our team to determine its feasibility in the field.