A Restoration in Ravine Bluffs

The Frank Finch House in Glencoe, Illinois —part of the Ravine Bluffs development — has been purchased by architect John Eifler. He plans to restore the house to its 1915 appearance (the house sports a pink entryway in its Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide photo. Note:pink porch not original). His firm, John Eifler & Associates has a long list of “holy crap, he did that?” restoration projects: the Bradley House in Kankakee, the Balch House in Oak Park, the Charnley House, Graycliff, Tan-Y-Deri, The Garfield Park Conservatory and the McGraw-Hill Building in Chicago. He’s won awards from the Chicago Chapter of the AIA (including ones for the restoration of the Seth Peterson Cottage, the Jacobs House and the Charnley House) and the National Trust of Historic Preservation (also for Seth Peterson and Jacobs).

Vacant for years, the house was the standard home-owner’s nightmare: water damage, mold and purple trim. The architect moved into the home in February, and has already begun the restoration work. The pink porch is gone. (Really gone, not just pining for the fjords).

The House will be upgraded to more energy efficient and to use solar panels and geothermal wells to make the house energy independent. Minor exterior changes (“hard-to-notice”) have been agreed to by historical officials.

“These are the kinds of houses that are going to be there for a whole long time, because people appreciate them,” Eifler said Monday.<br><br>

“We’re applying practical sustainable design to a house that, theoretically,” will survive for generations because of its provenance.<br><br>

Eifler believes that it should be an example for less antique construction: “Now houses need to transform themselves in order to meet our kind of sustainable living.”