Mid-North Residence

Chicago, Illinois

Originally a three story barn and later a dairy distribution center, this historic masonry complex in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood was most recently a sculpture and contemporary art workshop. Its evolution is traced below.

After the Great Chicago Fire in the mid-1870s, a three story brick barn was built in the rear of the property.

By the late 19th century, a brick cottage was added in the front yard.

In the early 20th century, a masonry building absorbed the house, filling the lot. Used as a dairy until mid-century, the complex was an artist's studio until 2007.

From 2009 through 2011, the landmark property was renovated as a single family house.

VHA's design transforms the complex into a new single-family residence. Working closely with Chicago's landmarks reviewers, the design preserves the exterior masonry walls and massing.

The early 20th century commercial facade was restored, with a massive wood and stainless steel front door the only nod to the contemporary design that lies within.

Because the building footprint covers the entire site, outdoor spaces were carved out within the building. A large courtyard with oversized sliding doors is the focus of the first floor. Grey granite paving, Chicago common brick, natural Sapele wood, and a standing seam zinc roof complete the material palette.

Living spaces with grey terrazzo flooring are located on the ground level and open to the courtyard.

A steel and glass staircase connects the living areas to the bedroom suites above.  Wood treads and accents add warmth to the palette as the stair ascends.

One bedroom features a custom queen-sized bunk bed.

Bedrooms are located on the second and third floors and connect to three separate outdoor terraces.


Photographer: Eric Hausman

General Contractor: Goldberg General Contracting

Structural Engineer: Enspect

Mechanical Engineer: Advance Consulting Group

Lighting Design: Lux Populi

Landscape Design: McKay Landscape Architecture

Interiors: Stephanie Wohlner Design

Kitchen: Bulthaup