Although Benjamin Marshall is best known as the architect of lavish hotels and luxurious apartments, he began his career as the designer of large single-family urban houses. His partnership with Horatio Wilson produced high-style residences for wealthy businessmen, most of which were located in the Kenwood neighborhood on the city's south side. The majestic buildings of the Columbian Exposition inspired Marshall to become an architect; he became partners with Wilson at the age of 21. Young and charismatic, Marshall was versatile working in a variety of styles, as exemplified by this grand Tudor estate designed for Elliott Phelps in 1902. Sheathed in brick and detailed in limestone, the 9,000 sq ft house is situated on a verdant lot that showcases its wide porch, bay windows, steep gables and elaborate chimneys, while allowing for a porte-cochere and side driveway that lead to a stylistically similar coach house. This historically significant home exhibits grand and elegant entertaining spaces on the main level with two levels of private family space above, all surrounded by gated verdant grounds covering more than a half-acre. The current owners spent 18 months restoring the house to its original magnificent appearance; in 2008 the house was the recipient of Chicago Commission on Landmark's Preservation Excellence Award. In addition to the stunning exterior aesthetic, the interiors were restored and all mechanical systems are now state-of-the-art. Wilson & Marshall's houses featured luxurious interiors filled with finishes of inlaid mahogany and classical plaster work, and these are found throughout this 6-bedroom, 5 and 1/2 bath residence. From the moment you enter 4845 South Ellis, it is apparent this is truly one of the most extraordinary homes in the Kenwood Landmark District. Double mahogany and leaded glass doors open from the massive arched porch, leading one through a mosaic tiled vestibule into a classically detailed reception area with a grand staircase and welcoming fireplace, one of six in the home. The floor plan is perfect for entertaining, as imposing pocket doors open to the grand living room, with its lavish original mahogany millwork and beamed ceiling. The dramatic dining room offers seating for a dozen guests, with views overlooking the well-manicured grounds. Other spaces for enjoyment on the main level include the billiard room with its charming window seats, leaded glass windows and massive fireplace, a light-filled enclosed porch, and a cozy den with an adjacent outdoor terrace. And the kitchen is a chef's dream come true, with pantry storage, wet bar, top of the line appliances and built-in seating area. The impressive stairway rises three stories, past a sunlit seating area on the landing to a spacious sitting room that connects the three oversized bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath and heated floors. The owners' suite encompasses the entire north side of the second level and features large windows with a view of the neighborhood, the warmth of a fireplace, two generous walk-in closets and a luxurious bath with soaking tub and separate steam shower. And the practical has not been overlooked; closets are ample and the two-room laundry area is conveniently located. The third level has an enormous family room, 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. The lower is unfinished, but primed with heated concrete floors, plumbing for 2 baths, caterer's kitchen and bar - leaving an abundance of space for a future wine cellar, gymnasium or home theater. Amid the fruit trees, herb garden and lush lawns are seating areas and a half basketball court. Additionally the coach house provides heated parking for up to 6 cars, and offers a 4-bdrm 2-bath apartment perfect for use as an office. Marshall was one of the country's most successful architects, yet preferred to think of himself as an artist. This is a home for the ages, where you can write the next chapter of its extraordinary history.
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