WICKER PARK — An 1880s brownstone mansion in the heart of Wicker Park's historic district has found new owners after an extensive remodeling and less than two months on the market.
"The minute the buyer walked in, I knew he was going to buy the house," said listing agent Janelle Emalfarb-Gordon of Koenig & Strey, who said she "sensed silence was the way to go" when a London-based executive walked into the home, which sold for $2.3 million.
"The way he took pause and took a breath in the house, I didn't want to speak. [I] saw his mind turning," Gordon added.
Gordon said the buyer is in the process of relocating to Chicago with his wife.
Emalfarb-Gordon represented the home's seller, Leland Wilkinson, whose wife Marilyn Vogel spearheaded the renovations, which included adding a new roof, new kitchen and floors and upgrading the home's five bathrooms.
"She took an old house and put some comfortable touches in it that made the house sing and sell," Gordon said of Vogel, whom she called "the House Whisperer."
Located at 2046 W. Pierce Ave. just west of Damen, the 6,000-square-foot mansion was built in the 1880s and is located in an area called Beer Baron's Row, so named because several beer brewers once lived there.
Gordon initially listed the home for $2.7 million on Oct. 28 and then reduced the price to $2.4 million before finding the buyer at $2.3 million on Feb. 3, after 44 days on the market.
Gordon said one of her favorite parts of the home is a brick "breezeway" that connects the home to the garage and offers a skylight view on trips to and from the garage.
In an email, Vogel noted "the main floor with its spacious rooms, high ceilings, and versatile floor plan" are among her favorite parts of the home. Vogel said she also enjoys a lower-level media room and library.
Among the renovations were new windows, a new roof, new and refinished oak floors, preservation of the original woodwork and crown moldings, and sanding and renovation of the interior plaster wall. Also added was a new exterior paver walkway, patio pavers and landscaping. The home includes new bath and kitchen fixtures and appliances.
Before the recent sale, the home was last sold in September 1999 for $875,000, when it was purchased by Wilkinson and Ruth VanDemark, according to county records.
A longtime minister at Wicker Park Lutheran Church, VanDemark died in 2012.
Wilkinson and Vogel will be relocating to Los Gatos, Calif., near Silicon Valley, where Wilkinson has accepted a new job.
"It was an incredibly pleasurable experience, and we are thrilled that [the buyers] will care for and enjoy this beautiful home," Vogel said.
Before the sale, the most recent large historic mansion to be bought in the neighborhood was an 1880s-era greystone home at 1959 W. Evergreen Ave, which sold for $2.1 million in September.