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.”

Related story

Ribbon cutting for Pritzker B&B

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Is that Alderman Fiske?
    Congratulations, Col. Pritzker, on the opening of this new B&B. It is a great new addition to the neighborhood. It is beautiful, and gives visitors a new option for lodging…and it will bring in a little tax revenue too.

    It is nice that the Mayor was at the ribbon cutting…and who is that woman in the purple sweater, next to the Mayor? Is that really Alderman Judy Fiske?

    For those who don’t remember , Judy Fiske was one of the two votes in council against the B&B:

    “The city’s zoning board initially rejected the application for the first bed and breakfast on 300 Church Street, but, in a controversial decision, city council members voted 7-2 in September 2011 to overturn the zoning board’s ruling. Both Ald. Judy Fiske and Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd Ward) voted to uphold the zoning board’s decision. At the time, Fiske cited resident concerns that a “fragile” residential area on the lakefront could become commercial as one reason why she opposed the proposed bed and breakfast, according to a story in the Evanston Roundtable from September 2012.” (source: Evanston Patch)

    And now she shows up at the ribbon-cutting…..what nerve.

    This is like Mitch McConnell taking credit for the thousands of Kentuckians who now have health insurance!

    1. At least Fiske can’t be bought

      While Pritzker, a billionnaire and Hyatt Hotel heir, was trying last year to get the zoning change for one of his B&Bs as well as his backroom discussions with council members to purchase a lakefront mansion from the city in which audiotapes of the meeting were conveniently destroyed a week after a newspaper filed a freedom of information act to obtain them, Pritzker gave a campaign donation to 6th Ward Alderman Mark Tendam AFTER Tendam won the election.

      Tendam never recused himself from discussions of the B&B zoning request or the Harley Clarke mansion closed door discussions and he voted to approve Pritzker's B&B zoning request.

      The Evanston Board of Ethics dismissed an ethics complaint against Tendam last year because it had no jurisdiction on all the complaints except one (campaign donations is an exception under the city's gift ban ordinance). The Board said, however, that it would look into the matter of amending the Code of Ethics to prevent any candidate for the office of mayor or city council from receiving campaign contributions from people or entities associated with pending zoning relief applications. It's been more than one year, and so far, the Ethics Board has done nada, zero, zilch on this issue. And the City Council doesn't seem to be in a hurry to do anything about it.

      I don't agree with everything Aldermen Judy Fiske does but I am comforted that she can't be bought and has enough sense not to accept a campaign donation from a billionnaire while discussing that billionnaire's zoning request and interest in purchasing a city owned lakefront mansion. Anyone holding elected office should know better.

      And ain't it interesting that Pritzker gave D30 Superintendent Ed Tivador two contributions, totaling $13,000, AFTER Tivador lost to Fiske in last year's Evanston aldermanic race?. 

      1. Corporations are people, my friend

        Al, considering your long record of posting right-wing Republican rants, I don't understand why you are getting so excited about campaign contributions and Pritzker's money. So Pritzker is a billionaire…so what? She earned it…..well, she inherited it….but so what?

        Rich people are truly virtuous Job Creators, as opposed to the welfare cheats who just want free phones from Obama. We should welcome the Pritzkers into our community.

        And, as our esteemed 5-member right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has stated, campaign contributions are just a form of free speech. We all like free speech, don't we? So why are you so upset about Pritzker's campaign contributions?

        How can you defend public ownership of the lakefront house? You know who advocated public ownership of stuff? Lenin and Pol Pot, that's who!

        Col. Pritzker came along with a plan to privatize the Harley Clarke mansion, and all of the bleeding-heart liberals who think that they are entitled to use the lakefront for free started whining. I suppose that they will want government healthcare next.

  2. Please refresh my memory

    Why was it that we turned down Col. Jennifer Pritzker"s offer on the Harley-Clarke property?  Just judging from these beautiful photo's, It seems to me that we could have had fillet mignon with a side order of shrimp de jonghe, but instead decided to wait a while longer in the hope we would get a greasy cheeseburger with a side order of cold fries and a warm coke.. 

    1. Beautiful Job

      Congratulations to everyone who worked on this beautiful renovation. What a nice addition to Evanston! That you, Col. Pritzker, for making this possible. Sure wish you could do more.

  3. we’re doomed

    Our fragile neighborhood is now destined for doom, just look at this project.  Just you wait and see, strange and dangerous outsiders will now be carousing around, causing all kinds of disruption and mayhem.  That backyard patio will be party central creating noise from hordes of drunken degenerates performing keg stands while naked, in full view of our children.    

    Good thing we didn't sell her the lakefront mansion, she would have just put in another thoughtless and cheap rehabilitation of that property, nothing but exploitation for her personal profit while ruining that property, our lakefront, and completely prohibiting local citizens beach access with armed thugs. 

    Thank God we're going to get a state beaurocracy taking over that lakefront, they will do a much better, higher quality, detail oriented historic renovation that will only persoanlly cost us taxpayers a couple few millions of dollars for very much needed office space.

    This is prime example of what happens when our concerns are disregarded as overwrought and baseless, RIP fragile neighborhood, the die is cast, disruption & decline is inevitable.

    1. we’re doomed plus

      We also need to thank that group of squeaky-wheels who scarred the council into rejecting the Pritzker/mansion deal. Without them, the Pritzker offer would have passed and the Colonel would have been firing artillery shells at the mansion right now.


    2. … and what more could be added to this business
      Now that they have a licensed business serving food what is to stop them from opening a Tilted Kilt franchise inside the b&b?

      1. Tilted Kilt

        Only the eternal vigilance of the local NIMBYs will keep Evanston free of the Tilted Kilt. If any scantily clad waitresses are seen in this B&B, you can be sure that the next Council meeting will be packed with outraged Concerned Lifelong Evanston Residents, and the lawn signs will start sprouting on every patch of grass from Isabella to Grove.

      2. That was the mayor’s call.

        That was the mayor's call. The mayor appears to favor liquor and pot but she does not like short skirts. Your premise would have allowed many food and drink restaurants could have become a Tilted  Kilt but I do not believe it works that way. 

    3. I’m just worried about the

      I'm just worried about the transient academics who will inevitably want to stay there.  God help us all!!!

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