The House from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
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After a long time the house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has finally found a new owner. But why did it take so long to sell, and what are the new owners doing with the place? Funny you should ask, I have done a lot of research and I can let you know.
Originally completed in 1952, the glass house was designed by the modernist architect A. James Speyer. A student of Mies van der Rohe, Speyer’s steel and glass box with its minimalist appearance is situated on a forested lot in north suburban Highland Park.
If you remember the movie you will flash back to its breath taking, almost poetic views of this fantastic residence and of course the red Ferrari in the garage. Well, with that, the owners decided it was time to sell. I mean why not? Amazing home, movie icon adored by millions of fans all over the world, it had to be an easy sell.
In 2009, they did what anyone wanting to sell their home does, they find an agent. They listed the home for a healthy sum of $2.3 million. Turns out a 60-year-old home set on a ravine sure is iconic, but it also comes with some challenges, like single pain windows, out dated electrical, plumbing and heating, shoring up the pylons that it sits on, basically an out dated 50’s style house that makes you freeze in the winter like Tim Allen reaching the North Pole in someone else’s Santa suit, and the complete opposite in the summer with some version of a scorching hot hell where there is no escape.
Okay I know thats a little bit theatrical there but you get my point. Owning an iconic house like this also come with other challenges, like its iconic status. As the new owners of the Home Alone house found out and promptly but up a sign saying, “get off my lawn”, it comes with a lot of adoring fans! It was not uncommon to see people parked outside taking photos or people scouring the property for a better look, so by 2011 after a few potential buyers the property was deactivated.
Sadly, thereafter the owners passed and left it to their kids. Fast forward a few years and it was relisted for a very low $1.5 million. It’s said the new owners wanted to sell it to someone who wanted to restore it and appreciated the design and architecture that this icon represented.
Fast forward again and new buyers were found and finally a price was negotiated for somewhere just over the $1 million mark. So, what are they doing to it? They are not tearing it down, they are adding to its prestige as the past owners wanted.
Jim Baranski (the homes contractor) said the new owners understood and embraced the property's significance in both pop culture and architecture. The home is now a bustling construction site, with crews helping to not only make the space livable for its new family, but also revive the vision of its creators. The architecture firm declined to reveal how much the renovation will cost.
Although most of the work will be done on the inside or underneath the home, Baranski's firm is replacing all the windows with thermal glass, insulating the top and bottom of the house and adding an in-floor hot water radiator system.
Baranski's team will also restore the structures steel beams back to their original brick-red color, a welcome change to the charcoal-colored paint added some time before the pavilion was built.
The most extensive part of the renovation is the construction of an underground living space and garage.
At some point in the 1980’s the small space contained a separate garage, but it was later removed.
Currently workers are digging a 15-foot trench under the house that will become a two-car garage, children's play area, storage space and laundry room. However, its submerged configuration will keep it almost completely hidden.
The home's pavilion, now being used for storage, will remain and likely be used as a guest house or for additional space, builders said.
It's been a demanding renovation, but an opportunity Baranski said he and the homeowners are happy to take on.
"This house was very close to being torn down, and that's sort of an issue on the North Shore and in the Northwest suburbs in general: where people are looking at historic houses and saying, 'OK it's not worth it, we'll tear it down and build some new thing,'" Baranski said. "We're trying to make a point that says, 'look, these houses can be saved.' If you think about it hard enough, and you're creative enough, you can make these houses livable for the next hundred years."
Below are a few photos of construction. We will keep you updated if finished pictures of the home become available! and remember "life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in awhile.. you could miss it"
By Christopher Lowe
Cribsuite Team Writer