Laura Bowden and her husband, Michael Shake, have preservation imprinted on their hearts. Their charming classic cottage in the Kings Highway Conservation District is a testament to that.
“I need a T-shirt that says, ‘Save All the Old Houses,’ ” Bowden said. She and her husband are from the Southeast, and Bowden grew up in a home with a historic designation, so she has always had an appreciation for old houses.
The couple was drawn to the Kings Highway Conservation District because of the beautiful topography, and of course, the older homes. When they spotted this charming classic cottage, it felt like home. The enormous southern magnolia in the front yard sealed the deal.
This charming classic cottage was built in 1930 with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Although there had only been three owners prior to Laura and Michael, they had all done what they considered improvements to the home.
“The back of the house had what we think were converted porches and a weird bathroom/laundry room with the world’s worst showers. The ceilings were low, and the flow was terrible. The back of the house was hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. It was also hard to entertain and to host overnight guests with only one functional bathroom,” Bowden said.
After almost seven years, they decided to rectify those age-old improvements, add a bit of square footage, and do some cosmetic updates.
“We embarked on this big renovation project to improve the flow of the house, create a more comfortable guest bathroom, a powder bath, and a better office space for me as I work from home,” Bowden said. “We also removed a giant fur down in the kitchen. The house has been well cared for over the years and is in great shape, so luckily, there weren’t any huge surprises during construction. The biggest challenge was pulling a hodge-podge of different rooflines together to make one cohesive roof.”
It was essential to the couple that any work done reflected the look and feel of a 1930s house. Bowden deliberately chose an architect that was involved in historic preservation and a builder that understood how to honor the character of the house.
After four months, their charming classic cottage was completed with a third bedroom, a second bathroom, and a powder bath. That dysfunctional back porch was pulled down and rebuilt into a light-filled bonus room with a view of the backyard and pool. Bowden works from home and uses the space as an office. She brought in Emily Larkin from EJ interiors. Together they created an environment Bowden could be comfortable in, all day long. It immediately became her favorite room in the house.
“We are only the fourth owners of this house,” Bowden said. “The woman who built the house in 1930 lived here over 50 years, and we hope the next owners will enjoy it as much as we have.”
This charming classic cottage at 839 N. Winnetka will hit the market on Thursday. JP & Associates Realtor April Allen has the listing priced at $599,900. If you want to be first in line, I suggest calling for an appointment the minute you finish reading!
Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager and writer for over 25 years. Karen teaches the popular Staging to Sell class and is the creator of the online course, The Beginners Guide to Buying Wholesale. Her love of all dogs, international travel, good chocolate, great champagne, and historic homes knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well!