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Home: Old Meets New

By working closely with the city and local professionals, the Nobles are now at home in a striking addition to historic Walkup Avenue.

Sometimes experiencing what you don’t want in life helps bring into focus what you do want.

That was exactly the case for Patti and Paul Noble, who before embarking upon a major new home construction project in downtown Crystal Lake last year, had the benefit of living in a much different setting beforehand.

When employment took the couple from Crystal Lake Estates to Naperville, Ill., in the mid-1990s, they “quickly learned that the subdivision lifestyle of similar house styles, occupations and association rules was not for us,” Paul Noble said. “We wanted to live in an established town, with a true downtown within walking distance that offered dining, entertainment, shopping and train service to Chicago. Most importantly for our two boys (William and Abe), we wanted good schools, parks and to be around children their age.”

It became clear that downtown Crystal Lake was the perfect match. “It offered everything we wanted,” he said. “And having seen firsthand the success of other communities along the Metra routes that offer a vibrant downtown, good schools and a true sense of community, we were convinced that Crystal Lake was where we wanted to invest and raise our family.”

Challenging Start
Originally, the Nobles wanted to rehab a historic downtown home. While house hunting, they came across a very dilapidated foreclosed home, which could barely be seen from the street due to the over-growth of trees and weeds. “The condition of the house was so poor that after we purchased the home, it was apparent that the only successful revitalization of this lot would include a complete teardown and new construction,” Noble said.

One issue that arose was an old lien the city had on the property that did not surface on the title search prior to closing, but was going to prevent the Nobles from moving forward with its demolition and building permits. After meeting with several officials at the city, it was agreed that in exchange for the Nobles allowing the fire department to use the house for training prior to the demolition, they in turn would release the lien on the property, allowing the family to move forward with the project. “The city was fantastic to work with and we were able to get past the challenges that arose in a fair and expeditious manner,” Noble said.

The land itself was another challenge. The original house was built in 1824 in an area of known as the “Paddocks Addition to Crystal Lake,” according to Noble. “The lot sizes established were random and did not lend themselves to building a modern-day home,” he said. “Therefore, we had to work with the neighbors, city and our architect to come up with a design that would satisfy everyone’s concerns.”

The Nobles’ architect, Repholz Studio, was able to minimize the home’s footprint as much as possible by putting all the bedrooms on the second floor and building over the garage.
“We incorporated the attached garage into the design to help minimize its presence,” Dan Repholz said. “We reduced the roof height by having sloped ceilings at the exterior walls of the second floor, which added more charm to the bedrooms.”

The Right Architect
Designing a new home that would “fit in” among historic structures posed concern. Certainly, the Nobles didn’t want their home to look out of place. “After interviewing several very qualified and talented local architects, we chose Dan Repholz — a long-time resident of Crystal Lake with an office located downtown,” he said. “During our first meeting with Dan, we shared our ideas, must-haves and wish list items, and emphasized how we did not want a McMansion-style home. With these instructions, Dan and his team went to work sketching some initial concepts, for both the internal and external appearance of the home.”

The Repholz staff “worked very hard during the design process to create a new house – with modern amenities, materials and room sizes – that fit the historic neighborhood,” Repholz said. “A raised front porch, steeper roof pitches, dormers, double-hung windows, window trim style and siding materials were all selected to help the visual character of the house blend with the neighborhood.”

A “Dream” Builder
Once the plans and city approval were complete, the Nobles began their search for a compatible, local builder with a hands-on approach to projects.

“We were confident with our decision to hire Glasder Building & Development to bring our dream home to life,” Patti Noble said. “As the building process progressed, we realized that owner Joe Glasder had similar tastes to ours and together we customized a home that reflects who we are and how we live. Glasder’s experience and expertise were vital in completing our vision.”

An established builder with more than 20 years of experience, Glasder is dedicated to adding a fresh look to neighborhoods through high-quality homes that maintain their beauty over time. “Glasder Builders creates tangible embodiments of homeowners’ dreams, wishes and interests — absolutely no cookie cutters allowed,” Paul Noble said. “The builder has flexibility of layout and materials to create a home or remodel a homeowner can be proud of. They offer design and building services to combine architectural and functional elements to make each project a home.”

Staying at the forefront of safety and energy efficiency codes, and networking with industry leaders to stay at the cusp of cost trends are ways Glasder maintains its edge.
“In today’s market, it is vitally important to have a sharp pencil — you have to approach the market with a sense of price vs. cost,” Glasder said.

Glasder said he learned early on that each trade is dependent on the trade before doing their job efficiently and accurately. “Therefore, I am constantly at the project checking on the trades and material quality,” he said. “I cannot expect a warped stud to straighten itself out. I refuse to use poor quality material or trades. That is the way I run my business.”

Sharing his firm’s building expertise on the Noble’s new home was  “a great experience,” Glasder said. “We formed a strong partnership based on mutual respect for high craftsmanship standards, family and open communication,” he said.

It was a pleasure, he said, to build a new home in this current down market, and the community couldn’t have been any more supportive. Indeed, that is that sense of neighborly friendliness and shared value system that drew Glasder to the area in the first place as a businessman.

He also cites the collaboration between the architect, Nobles, the builder and the trades as a major highlight of the project.

The Local Angle
When it came time to hire contractors and suppliers, going local was a no-brainer. “The reason we chose Crystal Lake as our home is because of the feeling of community,” Noble said. “With that in mind, we thought it was important for us to support local builders, suppliers and banks to bring our dream of a home in town to a reality. After working closely with some of them, we have built a relationship that we hope continues long after the completion of the project.”

In addition to Glasder and Repholz, the Nobles enlisted Exceed Flooring, Heartland Cabinet, Alexander Lumber, Crystal Lake Bank and Midland Landscape.

Overcoming Building Obstacles
Construction came with its share of challenges — no building project is without them. “We learned patience and versatility was the key to getting through the process with grace,” Noble said.

From Glasder’s perspective, one challenge was height restrictions that forced the home to have many vaulted or clipped ceilings. “This only helped with the ‘cottage-type’ feel of the home,” Glasder said.

Another obstacle was hooking up to the city sewer and water. “Because of the new building codes, we could not use the existing undersized water lines,” he explained. “We had to run new oversized copper lines to the house. Attempts to underground bore were futile at best because of the rocky nature of the soil. We finally had to core the street and trench the new water line in.”

Custom homeowners can also attest to the challenge of decision-making — and there are literally hundreds of details to choose when creating a dream home. “From cabinets to stone to hardwood to doors and windows to hinges and knobs, the list goes on and can be daunting,” Noble said. “Joe Glasder was an asset in this department. He runs a tight ship and sticks to a fairly strict schedule so he was able to direct us and give us a time frame for each selection. This helped us prioritize and stay on track.”

A Look Inside
Construction was completed in six months and the Nobles’ new home topped out at 3,400 square feet. According to Repholz, the exterior typifies a relaxed Cape Cod/cottage style of architecture and incorporates more traditional architectural elements including the raised first floor, which allows the family more daylight and living space in the lower level.

Inside, “the look is old world meets new — some Tuscan influence, relaxed, comfortable and warm,” Patti Noble said.
In total, the home includes four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a mudroom, kitchen, dinette, front room, office and dining room. Special features include:
•    A large mudroom;
•    Open kitchen with large dining area attaching to the family room;
•    Four full baths, including one on the first floor;
•    All hickory floors on first floor;
•    Energy-efficient appliances, furnaces, AC and water heater;
•    Large front porch with cedar ceiling that includes lights and ceiling fans; and
•    Eco-friendly fiber-cement siding on exterior.

Dreams Come True
With a little patience and homework, a custom home that reflects its occupants’ signature style and lifestyle needs is definitely possible.

“People looking to build a home should take time to find an architect and contractor that will work with you to create the home you have envisioned,” Noble advised. “Know that things will not always go as planned and costs may vary some, but in the end, when you walk through the doors of the home you worked so hard to create, it is all worth it.”

Local Flavor

Paul and Patti Noble enlisted local professionals for everything from architecture to putting the finishing touches
on their dream home in downtown Crystal Lake. They include:
•    Repholz Studio (architecture): 100 N. Walkup Ave. in Crystal Lake, 815-455-2988,  info@repholzstudio.com.
•    Glasder Building & Development: 6115 Lou St. in Crystal Lake, 815-459-1155, www.glasderbuilders.com.
•    Exceed Flooring & Surfaces: 5186 Northwest Hwy. in Crystal Lake, 815-459-3113,  www.exceedflooring.com.
•    Heartland Cabinet Supply: 5002 Rickert Rd. in Crystal Lake, 815-477-0900, www.heartlandcabinet.com.
•    Midland Landscape Nursery Inc.: 48W811 Melms Rd. in Hampshire, 847-683-3178, www.midlandlandscape.net.
•    Crystal Lake Bank & Trust: 70 North Williams St. in Crystal Lake, 815-479-5200, www.crystallakebank.com.

Partners

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