Open House: The last days of a Wilmette home

Everybody thought newlyweds Peter and Robin Baugher were crazy when they bought their quirky little Wilmette home for $250,000 more than 20 years ago. But the house was hardly the point, and in 1990, they tore down the modest dwelling and constructed a brand new house to take full advantage of the excellent lake views. Always looking for a project, the Baugher’s are doing it again. Last year they bought the neighbor’s ramshackle home, and with the help of New Trier High School teacher Josh Wood and his architecture students, they are developing plans for an environmentally-friendly structure constructed with the latest, innovative universal design standards. I met Robin Baugher at the old home late last summer (just before it was demolished), and was surprised to discover that while the house appeared to be a single structure from the exterior, it was actually built as two separate homes, each with its own entrance. By the time Robin and I met at the home last summer, a ‘door’ had been punched through an upstairs closets, but there were two kitchens, two living rooms, etc. Please check out my Make It Better story and my interview with New Trier architecture teacher Josh Wood for more details about this interesting project. Thanks Peter, Robin and Josh (um, I mean Mr. Wood).

The Baugher’s completed their home (left) in 1990, and they purchased the neighbors home (right) in 2009. The home was demolished shortly after this photo was taken.

Robin Baugher at home.

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8 Responses to “Open House: The last days of a Wilmette home”

  1. Potentially controversial comment alert:
    Do you know what is even more “environmentally-friendly” than building a new “environmentally-friendly structure?” Why its fixing an existing one using sustainable materials! I know, I know… that old house was a DUMP. Still, building a huge new one IS NOT GREEN.

  2. OMG – I have driven past this house for YEARS on the way to/from my parents house and have always been dying to know the story behind it. Who knew it was so dumpy inside? I remember that there always used to be aa Army surplus jeep parked outside rusting away. Some of the stacked artwork looks prety cool!

    I agree that it’s more green (in theory) to reuse what is already there, but in this case it honestly looks like the house was built as a seasonal cabin type structure and I’d imagine that it’s shoddily built and not at all insulated well. I hope they build something just as nice as their house next door which is very modest and restrained by North Shore standards.

  3. There is nothing sadder in a neighborhood than an abandoned, derelict house. I always feel a little depressed when I see one, but I always try to think of the people who lived there, and how they enjoyed their life.

    Yes, this house needed to be demolished, as nature had pretty much already taken over again. A house that far gone cannot be safely rehabilitated. The mold and mildew alone would be toxic.

    I hope the new builders go as “green” as possible, with geothermal heat, solar water heating, reuse of gray water, and double or triple-paned windows for insulation.

  4. I love rundown shabby houses, but this one seemed too far gone.

  5. As I was reading through this, I had the same reaction as Andrew. Why does “green” always mean old is no longer worth anything. I’ll bet for the same money (or less) this place would have become a real gem and those students would have had a valuable lesson in preservation.

  6. I’d like to thank the Baughers for the chair I picked up from the curb last summer. I passed on the white upholstered one, but repainted and reupholstered the one with the cane back.

  7. Sorry I’m late to the party! Thanks for posting this. I drove past this house many times, thinking: scary house, primo location; (then) cool…someone finally took it down; (then) I wonder what will go up? Now I know. As an architect, I’m excited to discover what the students come up with.

  8. For years I drove by and walked by this shack. I do not know the Baughers but I am so happy they were able to purchase this for the purpose intended. Had a deveoper bought it, another mega over built needless Mansion. I love the baughers home and love the size/architecture/landscaping. A true Gem.. I am excited about what is to come.. Did the shack really occupy living people?