I am proud to display these paintings of my Chicago Historic House Portrait Collection.
It is a well known fact that the architecture of Chicago has influenced and reflected upon the history of American architecture. Chicago’s architecture displays the city’s fascinating history and it’s multicultural heritage. It features a variety of styles, designed by many prominent architects. Sadly, in the downtown area, most structures were destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 (the most famous exception being the Water Tower), therefore Chicago buildings are mainly noted for their originality.
But my series of paintings goes beyond the downtown area and its towering skyscrapers. I wandered through the vibrant neighborhoods and drove down leafy residential streets and soon discovered why Chicago uniqueness is world-famous. From modest Chicago Bungalows, to Frank Lloyd Wright creations, bold Mid-Century Modern homes, charming Tudors, Italianates, Colonial Revivals, Queen Ann beauties and Victorian Two-Flats to the grand Graystones along Logan Boulevard, I concluded that architecturally Chicago has it all!
Having said that, I was disheartened to learn from some of the homeowners of the homes in my Chicago series, that beautiful 100+ year old homes are being torn down in their neighborhoods. And not just abandoned lemons. Further research revealed that Chicago is one of the leaders in the country for historic demolitions. It has made me even more determined to create paintings of these architectural art forms in Chicago and record history. Unless we all do our part for historic preservation, who knows, in a few years many of these historic beauties could be gone.
I feel my Chicago series of house portraits represents an eclectic mix of homes and hopefully portrays the personality of this great city. My series spans a number of my favorite neighborhoods including Lincoln Park, Lower West Side, Lakeview, Portage Park, Kenwood, Norwood Park and Beverly, There are also a couple of subjects in areas on the outskirts of Chicago including Park Ridge and River Forest.
The Classic Chicago Bungalow
Let’s start with these simple but endearing homes. Chicago bungalows were mainly built between 1910 and 1940 for working class families. They were usually constructed of brick (many including decorative designs and accents), with one-and-a-half stories as well as a full basement. There are 80,000 bungalows in Chicago and this style represents nearly one-third of Chicago’s single-family housing.
Chicago Bungalow on S. Damen Ave in the Beverly neighborhood.
Chicago Bungalow in Lincoln Square, Chicago IL. This home was the winner of my Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award in 2013
Chicago Bungalow in the Edison Park neighborhood. Notice the hand-made Valentine’s Day decorations created by the children who live there.
Chicago Bungalow in Park Ridge IL
Beautiful Fall Craftsman home in River Forest IL
Chicago Craftsman Style House Portrait in Park Ridge IL
Beverly Dutch Colonial Bungalow in Chicago IL
Tucked away on S. Longwood Dr, Beverley, I was attracted to this bungalow home due to its welcoming porch and lush green surroundings.
Two-Flat and other Victorians
I found a really helpful reference to the unique architectural styles of Chicago in aCurbed Chicago articleand I am using their info here.
The Victorian two-flat is often referred to as the workhorse of Chicago housing. It was typically built from 1900 to 1920, these homes were a bridge for the working class between apartment life and the single family bungalows that followed. Usually, the owner lived on the first floor, and the second floor was rented out. Two-flats were made of wood, brick, or stone and found in a variety of architectural styles. This Two-Flat house portrait below was built in the early 1900’s and has a Victorian layout. As is the case with many of these houses, they were converted into one home as is the case here. My clients and the owners of this house have lived there for decades and have steadily and lovingly made improvements over time.
This classic Victorian is well over 100 years old and has stood the test of time. It’s practical elegance has been kept in place and the colorful landscaping caught my attention as well.
Chicago IL Two-Flat on Greenview Ave, Lakeview neighborhood.
Victorian Home on Hermitage Ave, Lakeview that was built in the late 1800’s.
I selected and painted this home on N. Bosworth Ave in the Lakeview neighborhood thinking it was an historic home! I discovered the homeowners built it with meticulous attention to detail in order to achieve this effect. Not sure what was there beforehand, but I applaud the fact that it fits in with the community.
Beautiful Victorian built in the 1800’s. It is one of the few homes in the Lincoln Park area that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Another stunning Victorian on N. Paulina St, in the Lakeview neighborhood, Chicago IL Love the garden and community library stand.
Well maintained Victorian on N. Burling Ave, Lincoln Park, Chicago IL
Restored Victorian on Greenview Ave, Lakeview, Chicago
Richly colored Lakeview Queen Anne House Portrait in Chicago IL
Classic Queen Anne in historic Kenwood neighborhood, Chicago IL
Gorgeous Victorian subject for a home portrait on N. Tripp Ave, Portage Park, Chicago IL
Edwardian Style Homes
This unique home on Lawndale Ave, Avondale, Chicago was built in 1913. It is one of the oldest homes on the street and still has many of its original features.
Edwardian in Lincoln Park, Chicago with vibrant garden color.
Classic Greystone Victorian in Lincoln Park, Chicago
This beautiful home with it’s huge porch and large projecting Italianate eaves was built in 1906 by well known Chicago architect, Elmer C.Jensen. It sts on N. Tripp Ave in Portage Park.
Frank Lloyd Wright Chicago Home
As proudly displayed by their owners, this Frank Lloyd Wright home on S. Hoyne Ave, Beverley, Chicago IL recently turned 100!
Classic Chicago Colonial Revivals
I found out from the owner of this elegant 120-year-old home on Winchester Ave in the Beverly neighborhood, that is has a fascinating history.
Another classic Colonial Revival home in Beverly, Chicago. This one was built in 1885 and has had only 4 owners in that time.
Tudor Homes in Chicago
Tudor homes experienced a revival in Chicago and throughout the United States. Mainly built of stone and brick they were a perfect fit for the Chicago climate and for the tastes of its Chicago residents. Like the Arts and Crafts movement, Tudors were also a protest against the mass produced Victorians of the industrial era, and a move toward more hand-crafted homes and features. This can be seen very clearly with this Tudor home.
Tudor House Portrait in the snow, Beverly neighborhood, Chicago IL
A charming Tudor cottage in Norwood Park, Chicago IL
Lakeside Apartment Building
In the early 1900s, all along Chicago’s lakefront from the Gold Coast to the northern boundaries of Lincoln Park.
I was commissioned to create this painting of The Marlborough. The building was designed by architect Robert DeGolyer who also designed other luxury apartment buildings in the early 1900’s along Chicago’s lakefront, from the Gold Coast to the northern boundaries of Lincoln Park. At the Marlborough, DeGolyer chose Adamesque details, a style named for 18th century British architect Robert Adam, to finish out the exterior. It was an appropriate choice given that Duke of Marlborough built one of the most impressive houses ever constructed in Britain.
The Marlborough, an historic apartment building on N. Lakeview Ave, Lincoln Park, Chicago IL
Mid-Century Modern Homes
As in most large and architecturally interesting cities in America, Chicago has it share of Mid-Century Modern homes and many such as these well loved homes, have unique features. My favorite source of Mid-Century Modern homes was in the Beverly neighborhood, as you can see here.
Mid-Century Modern home on S.Bell Ave, in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago IL
Classic Brick Chicago IL house portrait. The home is on S. Hoyne Ave,in Beverly, Chicago.
Another Mid Century Modern beauty in the Beverly neighborhood, Chicago IL This time in the Fall.
Mid-Century Modern with unique brick in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago IL
I hope you have enjoyed this mini-tour of Chicago architecture and feel I have represented the personality of this great city. These hand-crafted original portraits that capture the special memories of each of these homes are now proudly on display inside these lovely Chicago houses. If you would like me to create a special painting of your Chicago home, just get in touch!