Tour Stop 2
705 Cherokee Avenue Leslie, Mackenzie and Alexandra Rowe
Built: 1904 Style: Victorian Cottage Don’t Miss: Backyard entertainment area
The first homeowners took up residence in this charming Victorian cottage in 1904, when only three homes were on this block – all remarkably similar in appearance and floor plan. As with many houses in Grant Park, this home has been through a variety of stages of care. The house deteriorated during Grant Park’s downturn in the 1960s when it was divided into as many as four apartments. During the next decade, it lay vacant and was essentially gutted. In 1988, a local builder purchased it and began to renovate.Leslie bought the home in 1997, having no trepidation about the complete overhaul necessary, but remembers that her earliest reaction to the house was a strong aversion to the Pepto-Bismol colored paint in every room! Regardless, she fell in love with the 12-foot ceilings, original heart pine flooring, and charming pocket doors. The original granite steps and garden walls still existed and the cobblestone alley, which flanks the back of the unusual double-lot property, has never been paved over.
Today, there are four fireplaces and gas heaters, placed where they would have existed originally, to heat the rooms. Much of the authentic detail downstairs has been reconstructed, including replicating the molding, restoring the hearths with antique tile, refurbishing the clawfoot tub, and salvaging the paneled doors.
Century-old chandeliers illuminate Leslie’s collection of antique quarter-sawn oak furniture and Jadeite glassware. All draperies and linens were sewn by Leslie, using period patterns and fabrics. An outdoor entertainment space and fountains were added to the property using the brick and stone from former fireplaces that were found in the crawlspace.