This past Saturday…

…I took a break from all the work and walked up the street to the ArchitectureChicago Open House, a city-wide event.

Of course, my sole architectural interests were a mere block and a half walk away!

The Emil Bach House Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1915

The Emil Bach House
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1915

As much as I wanted to see inside, I passed by because there was no waiting line next door at the Cat’s Cradle Bed and Breakfast, another renovation financed a few years back by Col. J.N. Pritzker of Tawani Enterprises, Inc.

The Bach House sure looked great from the outside, though the renovation is not yet 100% complete!

The Bach House sure looked great from the outside, though the renovation is not yet 100% complete!

As I walked up the steps to Cat's Cradle, I looked back and took a shot of the looong line at the Bach House. It was a beautiful Autumn morning, and the plantings at both properties were spectacular! But, I quickly turned, and entered a structure I've been very, very curious about.

As I walked up the steps to Cat’s Cradle, I looked back and took a shot of the loooong line at the Bach House.
It was a beautiful Autumn morning, and the plantings at both properties were spectacular!
But, I quickly turned, and entered a structure I’ve been very, very curious about.

Love this door which I believe is the original from 1919, and knew I'd also love the interior!

LOVE this door which I believe is the original from 1919, and knew I’d also love the interior!

I almost felt as if I had somehow ‘gone back in time’, to a much gentler, more civilized era.

The Architect was a Mr. Newman, who drew much inspiration from FLW, as evidenced by the amount of fine woodworking, original wood flooring...

The architect was a Mr. Newman, who drew much inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright, as evidenced by the amount of fine woodworking, original wood flooring…

...and decorative touches such as this lovely lamp atop the newel post.

…and decorative touches such as this lovely lamp atop the newel post.

Cat’s Cradle contains five bedrooms, each with the flavor of that bygone time, yet each is technologically up-to-date.

I’ll title them in the sequence I viewed them.

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #1

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Bedroom #2

Bedroom #2

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Bedroom #3

Bedroom #3

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Bedroom #4

Bedroom #4

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Bedroom #5

Bedroom #5

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Because I’ve been so busy in the apartment, painting not only walls but also furniture, and doing some fall cleaning in between, I haven’t gotten around to processing any other images from this wonderful tour.

There’s just one ceiling area to give a third coat, and then only the studio remains…I’ll take my time and do that piecemeal, as it is small and requires a lot of shuffling things back and forth—and I’m pretty ‘pooped’ right now!

I did, however, have a fine chat with one of the Innkeepers, Wayde Cartwright, which was both informative and most enjoyable!

If you plan to visit Chicago on business or vacation, give Wayde or his fellow Innkeeper, Bruce Boyd, a call at 1.773.764.9851, or you can visit www.catscradlechicago.com.

The rates are extremely reasonable, especially when you consider the surroundings and all the amenities provided!

(Yes, that was pretty blatant advertising from me, but if I were visiting, I’d surely love staying here!)

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Demolition Day #2

Shambhala-1

The demolition crew returned Saturday around noon to continue the tear-down of what was known as the Shambhala Meditation Center.

Here are some images of what they accomplished in four short hours:

Sham-1

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Sham-4

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No idea why this Chicago Police Sergeant stopped in...perhaps he needed directions?

No idea why this Chicago Police Sergeant stopped in…perhaps he needed directions?

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The shovel man switched to using this huge claw in order to pull down brick walls.

The shovel man switched to using this huge claw in order to pull down brick walls…

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Sham-26…and the constant stream of water kept down the dust.

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The claw also worked well in dismantling the roof...

The claw also worked well in dismantling the roof…

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Sham-43…and the many interior walls.

The structure was once considered a ‘Sheridan Road mansion’, but had been so carved up into various little rooms inside, some of which had those wonderful ‘drop ceilings’–sorry, I couldn’t resist a bit of sarcasm;  I’m one of those people who wish ‘drop ceilings’ had never been invented–they are soooo ugly!

I went down to ground level on my lazy Sunday afternoon and took many more shots…here are a few:

Sham-Day 2-1

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Sham-Day 2-3

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Sham-Day 2-4

Not bad, for a Saturday afternoon’s work and, surprisingly, there wasn’t nearly as much noise as I had thought.

This demo crew approached this project with precision and also seem to be quite safety-conscious, as one man serves as a type of ‘director’, giving a lot of hand signals to the shovel operator…and he also has a piercing whistle to let the shovel operator know when to stop.

It’s quite apparent they’ve worked together many times in the past.

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I’ve taken many, many more images…and Monday’s group has not even been re-sized, so I’ll try to get them up as soon as I can.

I seem to be the only photographer cataloging this demolition, as I’ve seen only two others who only took a few shots, then walked away.

In my mind, cataloging is extremely important historically…we must be able to ‘know what things were like along the way’ in order to make a better life for future generations.

Ultimately, I’ll process all the images and turn them into a video slide show and, perhaps, present it to Tawani Enterprises, Inc. to commend them for all the good things they are doing for the Rogers Park neighborhood.

It has begun!

I’ve been working pretty hard this week, getting walls and ceilings primed with stain blocker and applying the finish coat of paint…but the REAL work has begun next door, with the first bit of demolition of the Shambhala Meditation Center!!!

A crew began constructing the surrounding fence on the property shortly after noon.

A crew began constructing the surrounding fence on the property shortly after noon.

 

Just before 2:30, the shovel fired up and clawed down a metal cable tube...

Just before 2:30, the shovel fired up and clawed down a metal cable tube…

 

...then began the tear-down in earnest on a rear addition of the building.

…then began the tear-down in earnest on a rear addition of the building.

 

Bricks went flying, the pile of rubble growing by the minute!

Bricks went flying, the pile of rubble growing by the minute!

 

I rushed down to street level, taking a shot from the parking lot...

I rushed down to street level, taking a shot from the parking lot…

 

...then walked around to the rear of the building, where the shovel was already shut down before 3:30 PM!

…then walked around to the rear of the building, where the shovel was already shut down before 3:30 PM!

One man, one shovel…managed to take down the addition in less than an hour (image taken at 3:22 PM)!

That’s what I call efficiency!

After speaking with one of the fence constructors, who has worked for Tawani Enterprises (chaired by Col. J. N. Pritzker), I have no knowledge if work will continue over the weekend or hold off until Monday…but I’ll be here, photographing as much as I possibly can.

The best thing, at this point?  That ugly halogen vapor light, which illuminated my apartment every evening for the past 4+ years, is OFFpermanently!!!

It occurred to me the other day…

…while walking to the grocer’s, that I hadn’t kept you informed of the progress in the renovation of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Emil Bach House here on Sheridan Road in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

The west and south facades

The west and south facades

Lots of building supplies clutter the front yard, and the scaffolding remains while the fascias are being strip-sanded and repainted, and the walls are being prepared for the application of a new layer of stucco.

The west facade

The west facade

A pile of rubble next to an already-full Dumpster is all that remains of the old roof–I don’t know if this was the original.

Mr. Wright did have a reputation for creating leaky roofs, such as those at the Johnson Wax Center in Racine, Wisconsin, and at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The front Tulip garden

The front Tulip Garden

I’m not certain if the fabulous Tulip Garden will be brought back, but the garden will be smaller with the addition of about six feet of sod laid as a buffer between bushes and the rich-looking soil.

The deck and rear entryway

The deck and rear entryway

The former sunroom walls have been removed to expose the original deck, which at the time of construction (1915) overlooked the shore of Lake Michigan.

Sadly, the lake was filled in, and the rear of the Bach House is now a half-block west of the shoreline.

The backyard

The backyard

This was a complete and beautiful surprise!

A curving hand-laid stone pathway now surrounds a short retaining wall and flower beds.

This area was originally several feet high and quite ‘wild-looking’.

The structure on the right (a guest house?) is not original to the property–it was built, if I correctly recall, in 2008 and is attached to the two-car garage, which I also think is not original.

The building permit

The building permit

It’s posted on the temporary cyclone fence at the alleyway, and gives you a pretty good idea of what is being added/renovated By Tawani Enterprises, Inc., which is headed by billionaire J. N. Pritzker.

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Tawani Enterprises also has bought the parking lot just north of my own building and the Shambhala Meditation Center just north of that.
Beginning October 1st, this building will be demolished--I don't look forward to the noise and dust right outside my living area window!

Beginning October 1st, this building will be demolished–I don’t look forward to the noise and dust right outside my living area window!

The corner will supposedly look something like this after construction of the Sheridan-Sherwin Parking Structure...except that this rendering is in very forced perspective--the length of the Sheridan Road footage is only about 160 feet +/-!

The corner will supposedly look something like this after construction of the four-story Sheridan-Sherwin Parking Structure…except that this rendering is in very forced perspective–the length of the Sheridan Road footage is only about 160 feet +/-!

That’s my building sticking up behind the structure–I hope I don’t lose my view !