“A Gold Coast mansion that combines the designs of two noted Chicago architects from different eras sold at nearly a million dollars off its 2006 purchase price.
“The Florsheim Mansion on State Parkway was originally designed as two buildings in the Art Moderne style by Andrew Rebori in 1938. In the 1950s, Bertrand Goldberg designed a futuristic kitchen that bridges the two buildings, resulting in a single home.
“Reached by phone in Southern California, where he has relocated, Rosenzweig told Crain’s that after the State Parkway sale, ‘I feel liberated from the shackles of high mortgage debt and extremely high Cook County taxes.’
“The big loss on the sale, Rosenzweig said, is a reflection of the fact that in 2006, ‘I paid too much because I really wanted [the house].’
“According to the listing posted by Michael Rosenblum, the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago agent who represented the property, it was sold as a short sale, meaning the lender permitted a sale at less than what the seller owed on the mortgage. Rosenblum said he believes the buyers plan a rehab.
“Andrew Rebori, one of Chicago’s great architects of the Art Deco and Art Moderne styles, built the two original buildings, the front one for himself and the rear as a rental, with a courtyard between them. In the 1940s, Rebori sold both buildings to sculptor Lillian Florsheim, who had her son-in-law, Bertrand Goldberg, design a kitchen that would connect the two buildings.
“Rebori’s structures are red brick, with a curved tower of glass block facing the street and wood and tile details inside by Edgar Miller, an eclectic artist of the period. Goldberg’s bridge is slender, made to feel a little larger with a bow-shaped outer wall. That wall is made with opaque fiberglass panels, which may have been an edgy choice at the time but does make for a slightly dim and viewless kitchen.
“Both of the architects were prolific designers of distinctive buildings. Rebori was the architect of such architectural standouts as the Madonna della Strada chapel at Loyola University and the Frank Fisher Studios a block down State Parkway from the Florsheim house, and others. Goldberg designed the beloved Marina City towers on the Chicago River as well as the River City apartments and numerous other buildings. (Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 6/16/21)
“In 1998, the Goldberg family sold the house to Robert Fitzpatrick, chosen that year to lead the Museum of Contemporary Art. Fitzpatrick recalls he had heard that a potential buyer wanted to gut the house’s kitchen, so he hastily bought the place to prevent its desecration.
In 2007, “The new owners, Russ and Shawna Rosenzweig-he’s the CEO and cofounder of the Round Table Group, which provides experts to attorneys and other clients-plan to use their new home to ‘reinvent the salon,’ says Russ. ‘Our role is to make the Florsheims and Rebori and the Fitzpatricks proud,’ adds Shawna. ‘We want to continue the tradition of this house.'” (Rodkin, Chicago Magazine, 6/7/2007)
“This understated Art Moderne gem with curvaceous brick and glass block walls was built by and for architect Andrew Rebori. The front living quarters are spacious and strikingly spare. The expansive coach house, flooded with glass block light, was an ideal studio and entertaining space for the house’s second owner, shoe heiress Lillian Florsheim. Her son-in-law, architect Bertrand Goldberg, built a narrow, streamlined ‘bridge kitchen’ connecting both houses above the small courtyard between them. The Florsheim Mansion is beautifully appointed with art, including works by Lillian Florsheim.” (Open House Chicago)
Preservation Chicago strongly encourages the new owners to consider a Chicago Landmark Designation for the Florsheim Mansion. This would both protect the building long-term and provide significant tax benefits to the owners as they embark on a comprehensive restoration.