Although we did see one Lake Drive palace, the house built by sausage-maker Frank Schaaf in 1915, definitely the coolest house on the tour was number 1, the "Joseph J. Grossman" residence, at 3343 N. Shepard Ave. The house is an "Eclectic Period Revival", which tells you that the buyer and the builder made up a "good parts version" of what they liked rather than following a particular style. The home's hipped roofline shows a French influence, while the red-tile shingles and the main window treatment suggest the Spanish. Inside, an elegant vaulted living room runs the full width and height of the house. Past that, the residence is two stories full of lovely details, such as bathrooms retaining gorgeous original tile. There is a fully finished basement with terrazo floors that features eight-foot ceilings and a rec room fully the size of the living room. Often Georgie and I fantasize about the houses we see on these tours, saying, "I'd take the library from #3, the bathroom from #5, the rec room from #6," etc., but this was one of the few houses we would both just move right into just as it was. Very nice!
One of the interesting trends we noticed with these houses was that they tend to get more modern as you went upstairs. Living and dining rooms tend to be best preserved. Of course, every kitchen has been remodeled, some several times, but there is also more of a tendency to redo bedrooms/master suites. Also, many of these homes had third-floor servants' quarters, which have been redone into kids' rooms or rumpus rooms, often in very creative ways. This was particularly true of the Rubin duplex, a Prairie-style structure, wherein the second- and third-floor units had been combined into one, with a living room open to both floors.