A Historic House Renovation

A Historic House Renovation

The village of Oak Park is embodied by its historical roots and unique historical architecture. The internationally recognized village has three separate historic districts- the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District, Gunderson Historic District, and Ridgeland/Oak Park Historic District. According to, each of these districts has been meticulously preserved in the area to promote the historic and architectural heritage of Oak Park Village. The landmark districts makeup about 1/3 of the Oak Park village and can be seen in the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, Oak Park has over 70 designated historical landmarks in town. The Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District is an important defining factor in Oak Park's Village.

Oak Park is particularly known for its Frank Lloyd Wright home, which dates back to 1889. Frank Lloyd Wright inhabited a home in the Oak Park neighborhood from 1889 to 1909. According to, Wright’s personal home exhibits geometric forms, natural materials, and connectivity to land. The house was used as an opportunity to experiment with different design concepts, which were a contribution to his architectural philosophy. Wright’s time in Chicago is a significant and defining factor in his American architecture, and Oak Park specifically plays an essential role in his architectural career. Oak Park is home to many different Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and has more Frank Lloyd Wright architecture than anywhere else in the world. The 25 structures located in the village were built between 1889 and 1913. His work during this period belongs to his “Prairie Style” architecture. Wright’s “Prairie Style” homes are well known and distinctive to his architectural style. His historic prairie style homes can be seen throughout the Oak Park village.

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How to: A Historic Home Remodel

Although historic homes hold a great deal of history, many homes require a historic house renovation. When renovating a historic home, it is vital to maintain the historic appeal while updating necessary areas. Curbed explains that a historic home renovation requires special care when dealing with old structures and building materials. As Renewal Design Build explains, a historic home remodel involves a bit of something old, and something new. The basic structure of a historic home should be maintained; however, many elements may be replaced with a modernized look. Your historic house renovation must create a seamless transition from the old to the new. A smooth transition maintains the historic architecture while updating elements of the home to reflect modern innovations.

Airoom's Historic House Renovation

Airoom kept each of these tips In mind when renovating a 1896 home in Oak Park, IL. After purchasing an 1896 Folk Victorian house in the Oak Park, IL historic district, our clients wanted to restore the house to its original splendor with a historic home renovation.

Over the years, changes had been made to the house, including aluminum siding and a front porch, which was added in the 1940s.

The Historic Committee was asked to rule whether the front porch should be restored as it had been or redesigned to its original 1896 style. The 1896 style was ruled appropriate, and the final design incorporated many other suggestions by the Committee.

The final detail was to be determined after the aluminum siding was removed. After discovering the original cedar lap siding underneath and was deemed unusable by the head of the building department, it was decided to custom paint Hardie lap siding for the main portion of the siding. A beautiful hand-cut cedar was found in the gable end peaks, and we reproduced that pattern with individual natural cedar shakes hand-cut by our craftsman. The verge or bargeboards were replicated in a composite material to match the original style identically. The doors leading into the cellar were rebuilt, and new insulation was installed for the whole house with new sheathing. Three windows on the front of the house were replaced with double-hung Eagle windows to reflect 1896’s era wood windows better.

Neighbors and friends kept stopping by during the construction to compliment the owners of the home. The homeowners were pleasantly surprised by people stopping their cars in front of their newly transformed house. Plans to apply to the State of Illinois for Historical Status, as well as request a historical plaque from the city of Oak Park, are in the near future.

Restoring the home to its original beauty was a process of discovery and design that resulted in an authentic masterpiece. A historic home remodel can upgrade the home while maintaining its original beauty and history.

To set up your free design consultation for a historic home or any project call us at call 847-908-9270 or sign up at

  Airoom Architects, Builders and Remodelers
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