Wauconda is the new Wilmette.
One of a pair of historic and now endangered homes in Wilmette, Ill., has been spared the wrecking ball. The Chicago Tribune's John Huston reports that a "self-described architecture buff" bought a Frank Lloyd Wright–connected cottage in Wilmette and will move it to Wauconda, Ill., in order to save it. That buff is Joseph Catrambone, a sympathetic real estate manager who bought the Prairie School–style cottage for $1.
The 594-square-foot Prairie-style cottage was designed in 1920 by the Austrian-born Rudolph Schindler, who ran Wright’s Oak Park studio at the time, according to records. Schindler would later move to the Los Angeles area and earn fame and acclaim for his Modernist designs.
After a Wilmette Park District committee decided last month not to take ownership of the structure, preservationists had to move quickly to find someone to take over the cottage by the April 30 closing date, said John Thorpe, vice president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.
“This building would have been demolished, in my opinion, this week if we didn’t make a decision with (Catrambone) a week ago,” Thorpe said Friday. Catrambone was chosen from several who expressed interest.
Catrambone plans to restore the cottage to its original condition in Wauconda (undoing features added during a 1950s renovation). He's still dealing with the costs of this effort, which will wind up topping one dollar: According to the story, the renovation will cost him about $40,000. Just dismantling the structure will cost about $7,000. Catrambone wants to rent the cottage to architecture aficionados, and he's considering starting a building corporation.
That leaves a John Van Bergen–designed house in Wilmette, which the developer has given four months. If the house, which is listed for $599,000 (considerably more than $1), isn't sold in that time, it will be torn down on the property, which is slated for development.