Located between two active train lines, this converted single family home functioned as a cabinet shop until 2009. An internal courtyard was carved out of the building to provide a central focal point to all of the public spaces of the house and provide natural light and ventilation to the bedrooms. Oversized sliding glass doors open to bring indoors out. The roof shape of a second floor family room and office is derived from the function of directing rainwater into the rain harvesting system under the surface of the courtyard.
Our clients had a desire to have the building maintain the outward appearance of modesty, so all window openings on the front and east elevations were maintained. From a distance, and from the El and Metra Trains, the profile of the roof is an outward indication that the building had been transformed. The polished concrete floors throughout conceal hydronic heat supplied by a heat pump system and geothermal wells drilled on-site. The existing timber beams and ceiling were preserved and cleaned, with the remnants from the removal of the courtyard roof used for interior stair treads. The only "new" exterior materials added to the masonry composition were corrugated metal panels and pigmented concrete panels which line the walls of the courtyard.