LOGAN SQUARE — An 1890s Kedzie Boulevard mansion that has long suffered from neglect is being revived by new owners who aim to preserve its stained glass windows, ornate staircase and other original details.
The 3,600-square-foot mansion at 2234 N. Kedzie Blvd. — dubbed the L. Koehler house in housing records — was built in 1895 by Ignatz Koehler, one of the owners of an old furniture store on Milwaukee Avenue called Gainer & Koehler, according to Crain’s.
Perhaps because the home only changed hands twice over the course of many decades, it has greatly deteriorated since it was built. Some of its original details, like the woodwork, are in dire need of repair. It has structural problems, too, like a huge hole in the ceiling, water damage and no heat.
But last year, Paul and Liz, a husband and wife who asked that their last name not be used for privacy reasons, bought the home for $1.05 million, according to Cook County property records. They plan to bring it back to life.
The couple recently embarked on a year-long renovation project to restore the home to its former glory so it’s an active part of Kedzie Boulevard’s landmark district again.
“I’ve always wanted to renovate a historic home and bring it back to life. That’s for years been a goal of mine,” Liz said. “We live in a newer home now and it’s boring and doesn’t have that character. This may have more character than we’ve bargained for, but I think that’s exciting.”
The new homeowners tapped Airoom Architects, Builders, and Remodelers, a remodeling company out of Lincolnwood, to renovate the seven-bedroom home.
For the project, Airoom is gutting the lower level and updating many of the home’s outdated and damaged features, including the kitchen, while also preserving details that make the home special, like the stained glass, wood coffered ceiling, curved windows and copper cornices, Airoom’s CEO Michael B. Klein said.
Crews will also bring the home’s stately cut-stone facade back to its original state, Paul and Liz said.
The home is especially unique because it sits on a huge lot — about 3 1/2 times the city standard, Crain’s reported. Paul and Liz said that’s part of what attracted them to the home — it has a “driveway kids can learn to ride their bikes on,” Liz said.
Paul said the home’s location, in Logan Square, was also a big factor. He said he’s been longing to move back to the neighborhood after living there for about a decade in the early 2000s.
“Thinking about seeing Palmer Square and Logan Square, it’s just a sense of home for me,” he said. “We live in Wicker Park now and so moving back to Logan Square — it really feels good to be back in the neighborhood where I was 20 years ago.”
When they first saw the L. Koehler home last year, it was in “really, really poor condition,” Liz said.
“There was no money put into it for a very long time,” she said.
But underneath the years of damage and grime was enormous potential. Key elements like the turreted roof, ornate staircase and stained glass were well preserved despite the other signs of neglect, Paul said.
Still, the home needed an extensive renovation for it to be livable, they said. The previous homeowners got far less than their 2019 asking price of $1.5 million.
Just two months into the renovation project, the rundown historic home is already coming back to life.
For years, the mansion was obstructed by pine trees. But Paul and Liz recently had crews clear the trees, which has given the home a fresh look.
“I just can’t wait to move in, be a part of all these historic homes on the street and give back to the community,” Liz said.
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