About 100 people gathered at 300 Church St. in Evanston this afternoon for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the formal opening of Evanston's first licensed bed and breakfast establishment.
The 1889 home, purchased by Col. Jennifer Pritzker for $2.25 million, has undergone a $2 million renovation project to prepare it for the opening.
300 Church St., ready for today's ribbon cutting.
Innkeeper Carrie King says it's not the first time the house has undergone a major overhaul.
A historic photo of the home, framed in an upstairs hallway, shows that the house was originally built as a shingle-clad Queen Anne. But after the owners became fascinated with Tudor architecture on a trip to England, King says, they had the exterior redone with a half-timbered stucco facade typical of their new architectural fancy -- as well as the stone porch that now gives the building its name.
A second-floor bedroom features an original fireplace, now burning gas, and a soaking tub in the adjoining bath that has a heated marble floor.
Another bedroom has a sunroom that King says so impressed recent guests who were having a new home built that they called their architect and added a sunroom to their own home's plans.
On the first floor the paneled library provides a view of the winding staircase. Guests won't have to lug their suitcases up the stairs -- a newly installed dumbwaiter takes care of that.
The living room has the home's original wood flooring, topped by a rug that, while not original to the property, is the same age as the home.
Windows by the living room's game table are two of the many in the home that offer views to the lakefront lagoon and Lake Michigan beyond.
Behind the home, a patio offers lots of space for relaxing.
Pritzker said the project relied heavily on Evanston-based professionals, including general contractor Todd Kihm of Kihm Residential and architect Paul Janicki.
"Stone Porch is our proudest project and represents the highest level of historic renovation," Kihm said.
And Janicki added that the goal on the project "was to make sure anything added to the house feels as if it was part of the original."