These Old Houses: A Panel Discussion on June 28th

Chicago architecture, Photo by Elizabeth Blasius, @blaservationsPhoto by Elizabeth Blasius, @blaservations

These Old Houses An Introduction to Chicago’s Vernacular Residential Architecture

Wednesday, June 28th , 6 - 8 pm At LivingRoom Realty, 1530 W. Superior Light refreshments served Free!

LivingRoom Realty is pleased to host a panel discussion about the historic houses that make Chicago’s neighborhoods great.

Chicago is known for its masterpiece buildings by Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and more. But the city’s architectural pedigree isn’t limited to the Loop. Although we sometimes take them for granted, the humble houses built by generations of anonymous Chicagoans have an even greater impact on our day-to-day quality of life, and tell the history of the city and its people.

From worker’s cottages to bungalows, two-flats to greystones, this event will provide an introduction to the vernacular architecture that makes Chicago, Chicago. Architectural historian Elizabeth Blasius will walk through some of the city’s most iconic building types, their history, features, and neighborhoods where they can be found. We’ll also have Matt Cole, of Neighborhood Housing Service’s Chicago Greystone & Vintage Home Program to talk about the nuts and bolts of caring for and fixing up an old Chicago house. Finally, Susannah Ribstein, LivingRoom broker and architectural historian, will go over some things to look for and think about when buying or selling one of these special Chicago houses.

Across the city, Chicago is rapidly losing its historic vernacular housing stock, permanently changing the fabric and texture of our neighborhoods. In addition to providing a valuable window into the city’s past, these homes are often well-built with quality materials, so they can be adapted to modern living for less cost and environmental impact than building new.

Whether you’re thinking about buying a home or not, this event is for all Chicagoans who want to know more about the city’s built environment and how we can all celebrate and care for it.

Food and drinks provided by Eddie Cisneros from Guaranteed Rate.

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Please RSVP to

Photos by Elizabeth Blasius, @blaservations

Participant Bios

Elizabeth Blasius is a Chicago-based architectural historian and heritage conservationist.  Ms. Blasius has worked extensively in the private sector consulting clients on following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as well as conducting traditional research on buildings and neighborhoods for National Register of Historic Places nominations, historic structure reports, printed publications and films.  She sits on the boards of the Recent Past Preservation Network, The Society of Architectural Historians Chicago Chapter, and Logan Square Preservation.

Matt Cole joined Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago in 2006 and over the past 11 years has played strategic roles in NHS’s Neighborhood Strategy, Redevelopment Corporation, and Construction Services divisions.  As NHS’ Program & Grant Administrator, Mr. Cole currently helps facilitate the implementation of more than $5 million in public and private programs that support homeownership and residential building rehab in Chicago.  He is also responsible for managing NHS’ Chicago Greystone & Vintage Home Program, a historic preservation and cultural heritage-based education and technical assistance program aimed at encouraging reinvestment in vintage homes on Chicago’s South and West Side.  Prior to joining NHS, Mr. Cole was a planning and development consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where he worked on community-based reuse strategies for Superfund, brownfield, and abandoned mining sites.  Mr. Cole received his Master Degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. More information about the Greystone & Vintage Home Program here.

Susannah Ribstein is a broker with LivingRoom Realty. She studied art and architectural history at the University of Chicago and has an MS in Historic Preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to becoming a real estate broker, she worked in the art world as a gallery manager and non-profit director.