I’ve neglected to give you…

…an update on the Farcroft apartment building long enough!

For about a month, there have been tenants moving in, and here’s a sample of what their spaces look like:

View of the 13 story Farcroft from The Jarvis Avenue "L" station platform

View of the 13 story Farcroft from the Jarvis Avenue “L” station platform

At the entryway is a leaded-glass window, flanked by two caryatids...

At the entryway is a leaded-glass window, flanked by two caryatids…

...one of which is 'the keyholder'...

…one of which is ‘the keyholder’…

...and the other seems to have lost what he originally held! Quite distinctive, aren't they?

…and the other seems to have lost what he originally held!
Quite distinctive, aren’t they?

The original door of this 1928 building was sent out to be restored, and the craftsman did an absolutely wonderful job of it!

The original door of this 1928 building was sent out to be restored, and the craftsman did an absolutely wonderful job of it!

Here's the lobby, about five steps down from street level.  This was taken before the building opened...that's the reason for the still-wrapped furniture.

Here’s the lobby, about five steps down from street level. This was taken before the building opened…that’s the reason for the still-wrapped furniture.

Everything was done right with this gut rehab...all the floors are oak, newly installed.

Everything was done right with this gut rehab…all the floors are oak, newly installed.

All the spaces were reconfigured.  Here is a north-facing wall of one of the highest floors' apartment...

All the spaces were reconfigured. Here is a north-facing wall of one of the highest floors’ apartment…

...and the view from that window!

…and the view from that window!  The thing hanging in the middle is the cordage from white-painted wooden blinds, which are installed at each newly-replaced window.

A typical kitchen, wonderfully appointed, with loads of workspace...

A typical kitchen, wonderfully appointed, with loads of workspace…

...and a typical bathroom--nothing fancy, but larger than those usually found here in Chicago's older buildings.

…and a typical bathroom–nothing fancy, but larger than those usually found here in Chicago’s older buildings.

The view looking south along the lake shore to downtown Chicago, taken from a twelfth floor window.  Oh, what I wouldn't give to wake up to this!

The view looking south along the lake shore to downtown Chicago, taken from a twelfth floor window. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to wake up to this!

If you noticed in the first image, there is a turret at the top of the Farcroft.  This is the entry to the apartment directly below--it's called the 'turret room'.

If you noticed in the first image, there is a turret at the top of the Farcroft. This is the entry to the apartment directly below–it’s called the ‘turret room’.  See that rectangular object in the wall?  That’s a radiator—very new technology and extremely practical, don’t you think?

Enchanting, isn't it...and check out the view to the north and west!

Enchanting, isn’t it…and check out the view to the north and west!

Finally, here is the 'turret room' apartment's kitchen...ready for any occupant who loves to cook! Note that in these kitchens, the stoves are NOT placed next to the refrigerators...that's called 'doing it right', because it ultimate saves electricity as the fridge does not have to run as long as it would being 'warmed' so often by the heat of the stove!

Finally, here is the ‘turret room’ apartment’s kitchen…ready for any occupant who loves to cook!  The fellow on the right is Bill Tentler, the Chief of Maintenance, who graciously allowed me to tour the building before it opened.
Note that in these kitchens, the stoves are NOT placed next to the refrigerators…that’s called ‘doing it right’, because it ultimate saves electricity as the fridge does not have to run as long as it would being ‘warmed’ so often by the heat of the stove!

At some point, I’ll present more details of this beautifully executed gut rehab/restoration of the Farcroft apartments, but for now, just dream of what it would be like to live in the tallest building in the Rogers park neighborhood of Chicago!

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They did it right…

REALLY right!

I was extremely privileged to be given a tour of the Farcroft building late this afternoon.

As you may be aware, I’ve been following the progress of the gut rehab since before it began over a year and a half ago.

The Farcrofy is a majestic thirteen story high apartment building at 1337 W. Fargo Avenue here in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

The Farcroft is a majestic thirteen story high apartment building at 1337 W. Fargo Avenue here in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Late last Autumn, I met a young man, Bill Tentler, who, it turns out, is the Chief of Maintenance for Rogers Park Vintage Management…a company spear-headed by Mr. James N. Pritzker, among many of his other companies.

Bill and I struck a complementary note in our discussions of the rehab, and I was told he’d let me see things when they were closer to finishing this huge project.

The entire building was tuckpointed, and the stone slabs removed and reset with high-tech adhesive due to many pieces loosening since the original construction in 1927-28.

Above is the main door--original--which had been totally refinished.  Photo taken 11JAN2013.

Above is the main door–original–which had been totally refinished. Photo taken 11JAN2013.

But today, I was invited inside…after doing a little ‘peeking’ through the window, a worker informed Bill, and he came rushing out to ask if I wanted to see the nearly-completed lobby.

Well, of course!

I passed by some excellent restoration work before stepping down into the main lobby, where resides the most wonderful, huge, working fireplace!

The now-fireplace, totally restored, and fitted with a gas log system.

The now-working fireplace, totally restored, and fitted with a gas log system.

Detail of the three figures on the left

Detail of the three figures on the left

A closer look at their faces

A closer look at their faces

The gas logs are approximately four feet wide, just to give you an inkling of the size

The gas logs are approximately four feet wide, just to give you an inkling of the size

It's a few steps up to the north wall windows, as the lobby is several feet below street level

It’s a few steps up to the north wall windows, as the lobby is several feet below street level

The south facade (rear) of the Farcroft on 15JAN2013, just before sunset.  Photo taken from my window.

The south facade (rear) of the Farcroft on 15JAN2013, just before sunset. Photo taken from my window.

I noticed when I took the above photo, there was an addition to the roof of the building.  I thought it might be a warning light pole for aircraft, as there is quite a bit of helicopter traffic from O’Hare Airport…the pilots seem to love flying down along the lakeshore!

But…I was wrong!

A six by eight foot American flag now flies proudly over this lovely structure!

A six by eight foot American flag now flies proudly over this lovely structure!

Thank you, Mr. Pritzker, and thank you, Bill Tentler–you did it RIGHT…and the result is a beautiful renovation of apartments–NOT condos–!

NOTE:  I will be presenting much more of the Farcroft over the next week or so.

Doing it RIGHT does take time!

Some really ‘good’ news!

From CNN:

Frank Lloyd Wright Home. Saved!

By APizm  |  Posted December 21, 2012

The David and Gladys Wright House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

The David and Gladys Wright House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright  Photo: APizm

When the sun rises tomorrow we will know two things. One, the Mayans were wrong. Two, the David and Gladys Wright home, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is SAVED. I am proud to announce that an anonymous buyer has purchased the house and has plans to preserve it.

 I have been inside the house a few times now and believe me, it takes a few times to notice all the tiny design details that Frank Lloyd Wright put into this house. I included a few images of those tiny details for you.

 Here is the write up from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy website, SaveWright.org:
“Christmas came a little early this year. Culminating six months of intensive work and many ups and downs, we can finally announce that this unique and important Wright house is safe! The Conservancy has facilitated the purchase of the David and Gladys Wright House in Phoenix through an LLC owned by an anonymous benefactor. The transaction closed on December 20 for an undisclosed price. The property will be transferred to an Arizona not-for-profit organization responsible for the restoration, maintenance and operation of the David Wright House.”

(CNN PRODUCER NOTE     APizm is a photography instructor for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West in Phoenix, Arizona, and has been following the story for a while. He first reported on it in early October, when the David and Gladys Wright house was facing demolition.)

 For more information see: www.savewright.org
For more images see: www.APizm.com

*********

I would love to know who the ‘anonymous’ purchaser is…could it be James N. Pritzker, the owner of the Emil Bach House just a block and a half north of my building here in Rogers Park?  Frank Lloyd Wright built the Bach House in 1915, and much to everyone’s surprise, it is undergoing a very heavy rehab, begun about two months ago.

The Emil Bach House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1915.

The Emil Bach House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1915.  Image taken 15DEC2012, copyright http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com

 

 

As you see, many of the windows have been removed.  When I spoke in 2007 with Mr. Pritzker’s secretary, who was occupying the house at the time, I was told that they hoped to re-do the windows, as they had obtained Mr. Wright’s original drawings for the Wrightian-style stained glass.  I hate to assume anything but, it does look as if the stained glass windows will be in place soon enough, as will other ‘original’ amenities and some new as well!

Kudos to Mr. Pritzker, who also owns the building at the left (The Cats Cradle Bed and Breakfast) and the tall building behind (The Farcroft, a 12+ story former apartment building which has been undergoing a total gut rehab for over a year now).

If you thought Hallowe’en was scary…

…how about this?  The building is the Farcroft, just a bit less than two blocks north, which has been undergoing a gut rehab for the past 11 months or so.

It’s twelve stories, plus the tower room at the front.  Every window is new, and the lighter, bricked-in spaces used to be the entry doors to a fire escape, which I believe will now be on the west (left) side of the structure.  Look closely at the scaffolding on the left; as a matter of fact, I’ll provide a closer look:

Yes, that’s a workman, who spent approximately five days building this scaffold…by himself!  Here’s a shot of him taking a break (yes, he is tethered) and looking out to the west, which must be a great view…he can probably see past Skokie all the way to Des Plaines, and most likely all the way south past the Loop and Downtown Chicago.

Back when I first began working as a Scenic and Lighting Designer, I had to train myself to overcome my fear of heights.  It took several months, but I could finally climb and work in a 35 foot high lift, hanging, cabling and focusing lighting instruments…but 100 feet is a bit TOO high, especially when all one has is a plank to stand on and open air to step over!

I took a walk over early that evening, just to capture some images from the ground, and found he had built the scaffold twice as wide along the front of Farcroft as well.

The Farcroft and many other properties in the Rogers Park neighborhood are owned by James N. Pritzker, a member of the family which owns the Hyatt Hotels.  He believes in restoration, and certainly the crews he has hired are hard-working and doing a marvelous job here.  I snuck under the ground floor scaffold and took some shots of the lobby and front office area, which I shall present another time…and it’s too early to get a definite finish date, so I’ll keep checking, and hopefully arrange permission to get some interior shots as well.

I’d love to capture the view from that lovely tower room, which I prefer to call ‘Rapunzel’s Place’!

From my window: Special Delivery

At around 9:30, I heard a tremendous noise…and grabbed the camera, of course.  As I peeked through drawn blinds, this is what I saw, only a block and half away…

 

…delivering heavy equipment (A/C and such) to the Farcroft, a 12 story apartment building, owned by James N. Pritzker.  The gut rehab has been going on for most of this year…and they are a long way from the finish!

The helo made four quick trips and the noise ceased, unlike the other day, when I photo’d another helo, thinking it was the Chicago Police Department assisting in a lake rescue.  When I uploaded the shot, it became apparent that someone was just shooting video or pix, as this helo hovered for about 20 minutes.