To the rescue: A botched renovation opens the door to a new family home
By Tiffany Meyers, July 12, 2009
It’s a story that starts, as any page-turner should, with a moment of high drama. Thanksgiving weekend 2004: Elissa Morgante and Fred Wilson hear a knock on the door of their Wilmette home. It’s their neighbor.
He’s in over his head, he says. Way over. And he wants out. More specifically, he wants out of the renovation he has undertaken on his house across the street, a do-it-yourself gut job that has gone horribly wrong. The-whole-house-shakes-when-you-jump wrong. He wants to know: Can his architect neighbors think of anyone who might take it off his hands?
The founders of the award-winning, Evanston-based architecture and interior design firm Morgante Wilson Architecture, whose residential projects (there are eight on this block alone) range in style from Georgian to ultramodern, head across the street to survey the scene.
With the entire back wall removed, the home can’t be resuscitated. It’s nearly tipping over. But Morgante and Wilson know that a host of developers would be pleased to buy the land and throw up a new McEyesore in its place. And, from across the street, guess who would have the best view? The couple’s intervention seemed only natural.
What happens next, in this old house tale, has to do with reinvention and real life. Not to mention a love story.
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