The homeowners of a 3,500-square-foot private residence in St. Charles, IL, sought to make some significant changes to the structure of their ranch, while still maintaining its mid-century character. The renovation included the addition of a master suite, as well as a new kitchen with a two-story indoor/outdoor stone wall cutting through the middle of the house, including the roof, to visually separate the living space from the private master suite. 

“We purchased the house five years ago; it was built in 1957,” said Chris Barone, the owner and acting general contractor of the property. “We wanted to add an addition to the house that looked seamless. We wanted this wall to look like it was there the whole time. We saw that in a bunch of homes around our area that were being torn down and rebuilt into something else. We really wanted to keep that mid-century look that doesn’t look ostentatious and blends well.”

The stone vendor for the project was Eden Stone Company of Eden, WI. Barone explained that they picked a stone that was similar to the stone already used on the home’s chimney. Eden Stone cut and delivered 48 tons of stone which the stone mason had to sort through and make sure it blended together. “There was a lot of stone on my property,” said Barone. “One of the challenges was that the mason had to go through all the stone, making it blend together. Also, going through it all and planning what stone goes where. There is a lot of thought that goes into something like that and the mason did an excellent job.

“The stone wall is exposed in the kitchen and runs straight outside,” Barone went onto say. “The stone also goes through the roof and it had to be tied into the rafters — making the stone the same height all the way across. The point of all of it was to make the stone look like it has been there since the house was built, and there was never an addition built onto the house.” 

According to architect Chris Walsh of Tandem Architecture and Construction in Chicago, IL, the cut and color of the stone matched the existing stone and is reminiscent of the style of stone often used on mid-century modern homes. “The stone was not the only exterior material we used, but it definitely is the main focus of the architecture,” he said. “The massive stone wall cutting through the entire structure is seen from both inside and outside. Detailing how to penetrate the stone wall through the roof was the biggest challenge.”

In total, it took eight months to complete the renovation. The internal stone wall took two weeks to construct, while outside it took a few days. “Our goal was to make the stone look like it had always been there and I believe an amazing job was done,” said Barone. “I am extremely pleased with the work.”

The architect also said that the project was submitted for a design award. “We entered it in the American Licensed Architects 2018 Design Awards and it was selected for an “Award of Merit,” said Walsh. “The owner has also mentioned he’s had people knock on his door complimenting him on the project.”                         

Private Residence

St. Charles, IL

Architect: Tandem Architecture, Chicago, IL

Stone Supplier: Eden Stone Company, Eden, WI

General Contractor: Chris Barrone