|Photo by Dennis Rodkin|
Last month I wrote about this so-called blue White House @ 8401 S. Michigan in fact the first blog update on this big old house in years. Chicago Magazine wrote about this place over 5 years ago and finally has an update:
An unusual, quasi-presidential property on the South Side sold for $400,000 last week.What happened to the person who rehabbed this house and originally put it up for sale?
The “blue White House” is a 7,900-square-foot, ivory-pillared manse in Chatham that closely resembles its big sister on Pennsylvania Avenue—save for a vivid robin’s-egg blue paint job.
“I wasn’t crazy about the blue brick,” says Karen Tolbert, who on January 22 closed the sale with her fiancé, Dana Hillard. “But when I walked in, I just fell in love with it.”
Tolbert says that at a gathering that night to celebrate the couple’s purchase, Hillard’s friends begged her not to alter the 50-year-old home’s exterior. Hillard had grown up just blocks away. Tolbert couldn’t say no. “It’s a staple in the community, so [painting is] something I won’t be doing,” she says.
Shaunda Brown, a Chatham resident who told Chicago she had admired the house as a child, purchased it that year and embarked on a $400,000 gut rehab, revamping the interior with granite countertops and hardwood floors, converting an old smoking room into a media room, and transforming a former ballroom into a spacious master bedroom.I hope that Tolbert gets a landmark designation for this unique home and that more will be know about the history of this home. Especially the people who originally built this house with the unique blue Italian brick.
Brown tried to sell the property in 2010 for $1 million. No one bit.
Foreclosure proceedings began in 2014, and by October 2015 the house was back on the market, its previous price slashed in half, to $425,000.