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Victorian Restoration, Oak Park, Illinois
One of Chicago’s most eclectic suburbs, Oak Park, Illinois claims such notable architectural landmarks as Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio, as well as the former homes of authors Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ernest Hemingway. Given that, a heightened sensitivity to preserving historic architecture is to be expected.
On the town’s west side, the restoration of one of its better-known Queen Anne Victorian homes has added to the character of this community, respectfully blending the past with the latest building product innovations. The result: renewed grandeur for this stately 140-year-old beauty, and solid cost and labor saving efficiencies.
Originally built in 1868 by Albert Schneider, patriarch of one of the town’s founding families, this impressive 3,800 square-foot, three-story home later became a two-unit apartment and fell into disrepair. The current owner’s goal was to carefully restore its true character as a single family residence. Working closely with the local historical society, crews began by completely gutting the home’s interior.
Painstaking work began on the exterior as well, replacing 42 windows, most of them large double-hungs. Many of the original openings remained in surprisingly good shape, though inoperable after the old cord and balance systems had failed.
To preserve as much of the home’s authentic details as possible, the owner chose primed JELD-WEN Custom Wood Epic® windows that could be precisely sized to fit into the existing opening, sliding into the original frame and leaving the trim intact. The new JELD-WEN windows with insulated Low-E, double-pane glass dramatically increase the home’s overall energy efficiency, and fit seamlessly with the Victorian architectural style.
The windows are protected from the humid, snowy climate near Lake Michigan by JELD-WEN’s proprietary AuraLast® wood preservation process, which provides an industry leading 20-year warranty against wood rot, water saturation and termites. The team also replaced an inefficient 1960s aluminum sliding patio door with a JELD-WEN Custom Wood patio door more fitting with the home’s elegant style.
“It is really difficult to notice that these aren’t the original windows,” said JELD-WEN Architectural Consultant Bob Borhauer. “Their innovative technology offers so many benefits ranging from energy efficiency to strong exterior protection and convenience, yet the style is completely in keeping with the period.”
The restoration respects the history and architectural intent of the house, and showcases smart resource savings. By maintaining the original window frames and trim, the project team reduced labor costs and waste. Future savings on heating and cooling costs will be a big selling point.
“We believe the next family that’s fortunate enough to live in this house will certainly appreciate the many historic details we’ve brought back to life. They also will be delighted to find out that this home offers modern conveniences, efficiencies and comforts that make it exceptionally livable and easy to maintain,” said Bob Allen of Allen Realty.
The original 41 windows and a patio door were replaced with JELD-WEN Custom Wood Epic windows specially made to fit into the existing frames. The new windows are made with Low-E glass, environmentally friendly AuraLast Wood with a 20-year warranty against wood rot, water saturation and termite damage, and oil-rubbed bronze hardware to enhance classic styling. The result: seamlessly integrated design and reduced labor and material costs by saving existing frames and exterior trim.
- Allen Realty & Builders - Oak Park, IL
- Edward Hines Lumber Company - River Forest, IL