An Art Deco dazzler wins honors

September 29, 2010


(photo by Lee Bey)

 More than 20 preservation projects, including the Buckingham Fountain restoration and the sterling makeover of the ornate On Leong Merchants Association building in Chinatown were honored this month by the city.

The 2010 Preservation Excellence Awards honored 21 buildings and the outreach efforts of the Chicago office of Partners for Sacred Places. The awards were given out earlier this month by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. The list of winners is here and there are some goodies, such as the nicely-restored Victorian-era 99th Street Metra station in the Beverly neighborhood and the exterior renovation of the former Carson Pirie Scott flagship store on State Street.

Among my favorite winners is the interior and exterior restoration of 1444 N. Astor Street, a tall thin Art Deco masterpiece built in 1929 that is a rare small-scale residential commission by skyscraper masters Holabird & Root. Owners Randa and Gregory Dumanian restored the limestone exterior of the building–including flying new pieces from the French quarry that produced the home’s original stonework 80 years ago. They also had that long vertical bay window painstaking restored and freed of corrosion, allowing the organic details to show again. The big three story window was also separating from the building and had to be hoisted back into place with big jacks.

And we haven’t even talked about the interior work, yet.  I had the chance to spend some time in the house last spring while working on a magazine assignment about the project. You can read more about the restoration and see the images I shot right here. Below are other photos I shot while there, showing the detail work on the bay windows, the Dumanians conferring with their interior designer Dima Turkmany (standing on the left) beneath a new skylight in the home’s rotunda, and the couple’s daughter at the home’s ornate front door.


(photo by Lee Bey)


(photo by Lee Bey)

(photo by Lee Bey)
(photo by Lee Bey)

And be sure to clink the link above showing the winners. We complain loudly when we lose a building to demolition in this town. We should cheer just as loudly when one is saved and restored.