Winnetka Heights Historic District
The mission: Restore a dilapidated, boarded-up four-unit apartment building on North Edgefield to a single-family home.
This house was nearly 100 years old when Cynthia Oliver decided to rescue it in 2011. It survived the 1956 tornado, which tore off its front porch. Previous owners had earned a stack of citations for city code violations, and it was at risk of being torn down. The building had been vacant for five years, save a few squatters, when Oliver, who has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, bought it.
Oliver hired Deanna Kisko of Tahoe Custom Homes to restore the home. “The house was just a shell,” Kisko says. “Half the siding was missing, and all the doors and windows were boarded up.” Kisko took the house down to the studs. Most of those studs had to be replaced and the foundation leveled. The hardwoods on the ground floor were ruined, but Kisko wanted replacement flooring that would match the 100-year-old pine upstairs. So she bought pine floor planks pulled from an old church in Pennsylvania. Those all had to be stripped of paint and refinished. Workers also restored all of the home’s original windows and reused them. Kisko and crew replaced the plumbing, electrical and gas lines. The new house has porches in front and back, custom cabinets and big closets with lots of storage, a tank-less water heater and a high-efficiency air conditioning system. “It was just a wonderful feeling saving that house,” Kisko says. “It was neglected and abused, and now it’s something that someone can be proud of for a long time.”
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