A surprising interior with a modern yet contextual exterior come together in this speculative house. The block where this house is located, on Chicago's north side, is comprised of predominantly wood frame, gabled one-and-a-half or two-story houses. We took that contextual clue and modernized it, maintaining a somewhat traditional form while streamlining the elements. The covered front porch, for example, is a traditional element, but appears here without roof supporting columns—an effect achieved by cantilevering the second floor.

The contractor/developer cleverly applied engineered laminated lumber, typically used for structural purposes only, to the stair and fireplace surround. Ripping the beam into strips, sanding the strips, and applying a clearcoat finish delivers a honey-toned wood warmth to the space and a visual centerpiece to the house.

The "surprise" space of the house is in the form of a dramatic two-and-a-half story great room, which anchors the front and back halves of the house and provides vertical space rarely achieved in speculative houses. Space that was displaced by the great room was transferred to a third floor study/bedroom/recreation room, which overlooks the great room and has its own outdoor covered deck.

Typology Single-Family Residential
Location 3615 N Seeley Ave, Chicago, IL
Client Peter Del Castillo
Status Completed
Date Fall 2012


Architect Wilkinson Blender Architecture
Contractor Cuzco Construction
Developer Peter Del Castillo
Structural Engineer Enspect Engineering
Photography Chris Nigro


  • AIA Chicago Small Project Awards 2013: Citation of Merit