Sandwiched between two active rail lines, the CTA and the Metra, this former manufacturing building was converted into a residence for a family of four. From the exterior, except for the sculpted roof of the second story family room, the building retains its original appearance. And although all windows were replaced with new, the original openings on the building’s north and east elevations were also retained. Only the new front entry gives indication that a new use occurs in the former commercial woodshop.

The program for the house is organized around a private internal courtyard which provides a focal point and allows natural light and air to reach every room. Massive sliding doors open to the courtyard to enhance indoor/outdoor connectivity. Living, eating, and kitchen spaces are located east of the courtyard, while bedrooms are to the west, creating a clear delineation of public and private functions. Salvaged wood beams were used as building material at strategic points throughout the house, including stairs. Polished concrete floors and exposed steel complement the exposed timber structure of the original building.  

Typology Single-Family Residential
size 4,400 SF
Location Chicago, IL
Status Completed
Date 2012


Architect Wilkinson Blender Architecture
Contractor Benchdog Construction
Structural Engineer Johnson, Wilbur, Adams, Inc.
Client Tom and Holly Carr
Photography Tricia Koenig, Vincent Wilkinson


  • AIA Chicago Interior Architecture Award 2012: Special Recognition