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Frank Lloyd Wright Mansion Restoration Nearly Complete by Col. Pritzker

By Benjamin Woodard | April 28, 2014 5:49am | Updated on April 28, 2014 10:14am
 Col. Jennifer Pritzker has nearly finished the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Emil Bach House at 7415 N. Sheridan Road.
Emil Bach House
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ROGERS PARK — Col. Jennifer Pritzker has nearly finished the restoration of the nearly century-old Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Emil Bach House on Sheridan Road.

Only a few minor details remain on what some restoration advocates are calling "one of the most complete restorations" of a Wright house ever, said William Kuadert, a volunteer with the Frank Lloyd Wright House Trust.

"The kitchen has been modernized, and the bathrooms, but other than that it has basically been restored [to] the way it looked in 1950," Kuadert said Friday while giving a tour of the home at 7415 N. Sheridan Road. "Everything has been restored to what it was. It's not easy to do."

Emil Bach, former co-owner of the Bach Brick Company, commissioned Wright to build the home, which was completed in 1915. Then Bach and his wife, Anna, moved into what became Wright's final commission in Chicago.

The first floor of the Prairie-style house looks like a fortress from the street, with a protruding brick facade.

"Even back then, Sheridan Road was a very busy street, so he wanted to preserve the privacy of the family on the first floor," Kuadert said.

The home's front door is found at the rear of the home.

Inside, the house is airy and comfortable, centering on the living area's fireplace. The original plaster walls, painted in Anna Bach's "sun-shine yellow," have been restored, Kuadert said.

"Here it's very open — in a very small house," he said. "I think that was the true genius of what Wright did."

On the second floor, each of the three bedrooms has its own balcony. One room has a sliver-view of Lake Michigan, down an alley.

When the home was built, the view was unobstructed. The back porch, between floors, also has been uncovered to match the original design.

"There are stories told about how every morning Emil Bach would walk down to the lake, walk along the beach, then come back," Kuadert said. "And I could just imagine after he comes back — the coffee's ready now — bringing his cup of coffee up here and just taking a few more minutes to relax before he heads off to the brick company."

In the backyard, a lounge area which was added 10 to 15 years ago has been transformed into a resortlike lounge.

Geothermal piping has been installed under the backyard to heat the home.

Wayde Cartwright, who co-owns and manages the neighboring Lang House Bed and Breakfast (formerly the Cat's Cradle), also will manage the Emil Bach House, which will be rented out for events and overnight stays.

He said the intricate restoration was a mark of Pritzker's love for preservation. (Pritzker also has restored the Lang House and Farcroft building nearby, and Monroe Building in the Loop.)

"It had to be perfect," Cartwright said.

The entire house can be reserved for $750 per night for a minimum of two nights. For events, the home can be reserved for $750 for the first four hours. The price for events and overnight stays jump to $1,495 after June 1.

Guided tours of the Bach House will be held on Wednesdays, May 7 through Sept. 24. Tickets are $12 for the general public, $10 for students/seniors/military, and free for members of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Call 312-994-4000 for more information.

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