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In Wicker Park, a Perfect Home for Outdoor Entertaining

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Photos courtesy of Ingrid Boon Photography

Many buyers purchase a home with the intentions of one day giving it a full makeover, but sometimes life just gets in the way and the big renovation gets put on hold. After being in their home for several years and having a child on the way, Wicker Park residents Brendan and Heather decided that they were ready to transform their old brick house into their contemporary dream home. Two and a half years ago, the couple tapped SPACE Architects + Planners for the design work, and nearly rebuilt the home from scratch. Keeping a growing family in mind, the couple wanted to be sure that their home would be bright, airy and kid friendly. It's also perfect for outdoor entertaining as the kitchen opens up to the back patio, making for a home that really makes Chicago summers that much more enjoyable.


Who lives here?
Heather is the lady of the house—she's a Michigan native and the Senior Director of Marketing at The Marketing Store, but most of all she's a mom to The Boy. The Boy is a two-year old named Curren (long story). He's hilarious, and he's the reason we finally got around to gut-rehabbing our place. We wanted to keep him and surely, DCFS would have removed him had he lived in the house in its former state. Napoleon, a Papillon, and Josephine, a Pomeranian, also call this place home. Then there's me, Brendan. I'm a dad, an advertising creative director and a native Californian.

What are the stats?
It's a two bedroom plus an office with one and a half baths. The home is about 1,400 square feet with a backyard and two parking spaces.

How long have you lived here?
We moved here 12 years ago. The house was a bit of a mess when we bought it. It had been cut up and put back together again many times over its 125 year history. We were looking forward to making it awesome though. Sadly, we didn't have the time nor the money. So, before we knew it, 10 years had passed and we'd done virtually nothing, short of a few cosmetic updates courtesy of an appearance on the HGTV show Designed to Sell.

Then the wife was pregnant and we decided we needed to live like responsible adults. Questions remain about how successful we've been. The place was truly gutted and we tapped SPACE Architects + Planners to do the redesign. Only the four old brick walls remained and we rebuilt it from the ground up.

What's your favorite thing about your house?
Water tracked into the foyer no longer freezes in the winter thanks to our heated floors. Also, the backyard. It's pretty amazing. And the giant collapsing doors.

What thing do you like the least about it?
Its location. Not Wicker Park. We love Wicker Park. But, I'm not so much a fan of a place where climatic events like polar vortices occur. So, put this place in the tropics and there's really nothing I could want more.

What was the inspiration behind the design?
Good question. Not sure there's any one thing I can point to. We wanted to keep it simple and fun. Those were pretty much our guiding principles. Oh and we wanted a shitload of storage.

How excited are you guys about summer?
See earlier remarks. This house was built for outdoor entertaining. And The Boy loves rolling around in the grass. In addition, Wicker Park has one of the greatest outdoor dining scenes in the country.

How many people have you had in the backyard at one time?
40 or so, including a Latin jazz band.

Do you guys plan on sticking around for a while?
Not sure. As long as we're in Chicago, we'll be here. There's no other neighborhood or house in this city we'd rather live in.

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