Residential Matters

Residential Matters: Case Study – Historic Pullman Row Home

This is an image of the exterior of the Pullman Row Home we worked on

REALIZE the Possibilities. DESIGN Your Reality. INFLUENCE Your Life & Community.


The Pullman Historic District was conceptualized and constructed in 1890 by George M. Pullman, President of Pullman’s Palace Car Company. It was the model industrial town, designed to attract the most skilled workers and strategically located near Chicago and railroad access to the rest of the nation.


Over 1000 homes were built as part of this major neighborhood development. So you can imagine, 120 years later…some of these homes are in need of restoration, renovation and rehabilitation. However, there is a caveat to this. Because these buildings are historical landmarks, it is necessary to maintain the exterior aspects that make the infamous Pullman Row Homes recognizable. JP Architects, Ltd. was enlisted to provide our design solutions and restore and renovate one of the row homes. Here’s a brief overview of our experience.


Prior to design, we met with the Historic Pullman Foundation to the discuss preservation of the historical aspects of these row homes. From the wooden windows and brick and mortar color to the doors, porch, railings, shingle type, roof accessories and paint colors, our design documents included specifications that indicated landmark notes for use during construction. These documents were reviewed by the Historic Pullman Foundation in order to ensure that the row home remained a historical landmark and maintained its recognizable nature.


This image shows the architectural documents that describe in detail the landmark construction specifications for our Pullman Row Home project


Here’s some information that could be useful for your next project. An architect is responsible for communicating with historical preservation, other agencies and building departments to determine specifications for your project documents. This is a major value to your project, as it helps it move along smoothly and accurately, avoiding delays for building and zoning requirement violations.


Back to the project…the interior renovation of this space was quite substantial. When these row homes were initially built, they contained four small units. We de-converted these 4 units and transformed the space into a single-family home. This required the removal of walls and redesign of the entire space. We added stairs up to the second level and down to the basement. It was necessary to lower the basement to make it legal, as well as, update the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and entire space to meet existing building and zoning requirements.


There were challenges to overcome throughout the design of the interior. Because it was not possible to alter the windows or exterior of the dwelling, we needed to explore alternative options to comply with required ventilation and windows for single-family homes.


This Pullman Row Home project is a great case study for all types of projects because it demonstrates how with the right architectural partner anything is possible.


Do you have a project that requires unique design solutions and / or coordination with historical preservation, other agencies and building departments? Let’s talk architecture – 708.907.3651.



Until next time,


Jose R. Pareja, AIA




JP Architects, Ltd. was founded in 2015 by Jose R. Pareja, AIA. We specialize in and are passionate about residential design, commercial architecture and public sector planning / capital improvement projects. Located at 7250 College Dr., Palos Heights, IL 60463, we serve North and Central Illinois. We complete hundreds of projects per year and bring sound principles of design, resourcefulness, reliability, unmatched quality and enthusiasm to each project. JP Architects, Ltd. realizes the possibilities, designs your reality and influences your life and community.

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