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DIYer's Delight: Inside McKinley Park's DuPont-Whitehouse House

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We were intrigued when the historic DuPont-Whitehouse House came back on the market in December, but the listing lacked photos and indicated that the home needed quite a bit of work. Yesterday, we caught up with owner Oscar Campos (who is also the agent marketing the home), and stepped inside to snap a few photos. Campos bought the home in 2002 for $160,000 with plans to make it his mansion, but after the recession dealt him some financial blows he's looking to sell. As we mentioned in the previous post, the home was built in 1875, and in 1920 it was moved a block and a half from its original location on Western Boulevard. From the outside, the building is striking, both because it towers over the neighboring homes (even though it's only two stories tall) and because of its elaborate Italianate cornice.

When he bought the place, the cornice was painted gray, but Campos opted to go with purple, beige and olive green, and it looks quite nice. Campos hired a carpenter to make cypress brackets that match the originals on the cornice (that's Campos posing with one of them in the third slide). The bricks on the building's exterior have been hidden behind cement, which might have been applied to hide the cracking bricks (probably made worse by relocating the home). Campos started chipping off the cement a few years ago, and he wanted to tuckpoint and restore the original bricks, but the Commission on Chicago Landmarks wasn't having it. Instead, they want the exterior to be stucco.

Inside, the home has been stripped to its bones, and rehab work stalled when it was half-finished. Campos says part of the ground floor had been badly flooded and the home was unlivable when he acquired it. Most of the architectural details, including built-in bookcases, had been removed, but the old fireplaces and the banister on the main staircase have been kept (the banister is wrapped in bubble wrap and protected with plywood). And he has tried to keep as much of the original building — doors, crown molding, clawfoot tub, door frames, etc. — as could be salvaged.

Even though the windows are boarded-up and there's no drywall, it's easy to see how grand the home once was and likely will be again. The ceiling heights on the ground floor are 10 or 11 feet, and the windows stretch from floor to ceiling. In the attic, which also has high ceilings, Campos installed a large skylight (vandals have broken some of the panes) and began building a large curved staircase.

Campos estimates that he spent about $100,000 towards rehabbing the home, and that it would cost a minimum of $100,000 to make it livable. He removed several dumpsters of debris, replaced the joists, added new studs and piping, framed the doors, and built a new staircase to the attic. The home has 4,000 square feet of floor space (not including the basement, which Campos began finishing), and it has been configured it to have three bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, with a large attic. Campos says a buyer put the home under contract last year, but that fell through when they couldn't get a renovation loan. The current asking price is $269,000 (although Campos says he might be willing to negotiate), and he's only entertaining cash offers.
· Landmark DuPont-Whitehouse House Back on the Market [Curbed Chicago]
· Listing: 3558 S. Artesian Ave. [Su Familia Real Estate]