IT DIDN’T MATTER WHAT THE
WAS, WE WERE HOOKED
ON THE LOT”
home speaks a decidedly Bauhaus inspired language.
A two-story, half-round staircase in glass block, large
expanses of windows and exterior metal Venetian-type
blinds recessed into valances, placed this Keck house
squarely at the forefront of innovation. But avant-
garde was not what the new owners, with two children,
had in mind when they set out to find a dwelling that
would take them from their North Side condo to a
more bucolic setting outside the city. “We had never
heard of the Kecks and we weren’t looking for modern,”
says the male counterpart of this husband-wife team.
“Our broker took us out here and among all these
traditional homes on tree-lined streets was this bizarre
stucco house. She walked us to the backyard and it was
unbelievable … It didn’t matter what the architectural
style was, we were hooked on the lot.”
Nonetheless, the subsequent walk-through of the
Keck house unfolded one surprise after another: the
impressive gallery space, the spiral staircase, the walls
of windows that overlooks the yard, all provided plenty
of positive material to work with. It also compensated
for many of its shortcomings, such as the cramped
13 by 13 foot rooms on the second story, originally
designed as the guest rooms and servants’ quarters.
“The house is laid out a bit like a steamship, long and
multilevel, with aluminum railings,” notes the husband,
who subsequently dug up as much history as he could.
Several past owners had left their mark on the home,
sometimes in keeping with Keck’s design, other times
sorely out of place. So the challenges the new occupants
faced included not only repairing the botched work of
prior residents, but also adapting the Keck house to life
in the 21st century.