The two-story storefront at 4611 North Lincoln Avenue on Chicago’s North Side may not be Louis Sullivan’s highest-profile commission, but its delicate ornament and graceful proportions certainly reveal his skillful hand. The focal point of the terra-cotta facade is a deeply recessed, prosceniumlike display window. From its lintel, a leafy profusion of ornament extends, ending in an elaborate cartouche that projects above the parapet and surrounds a letter K.
The initial refers to William Krause, who commissioned architect William Presto in the early 1920s to design a music store with living quarters above. Presto in turn hired Sullivan, by then elderly and plagued by financial difficulties and poor health, to design the facade. The store, which opened in 1922, was Sullivan’s last architectural project—he died less than two years later.
The music store occupied the ground floor for less than a decade before Krause rented it to a funeral home. The building contained a gallery and gift shop in 2005, when nearby residents Peter and Pooja Vukosavich acquired the structure with the idea of moving their marketing and communications business within walking distance of their home.
But the former music store was more than a convenient location for the Vukosaviches. They had long admired the structure and hoped to help ensure its preservation. The city had designated the facade a Chicago Landmark almost 30 years earlier, but the couple wanted further protection for the building. So soon after completing the purchase, they began the paperwork for placing it on the National Register of Historic Places (a status it achieved in 2006).
Architect for Building Adaptive Reuse, Renovation and Addition:
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Principal: Larry Kearns, AIA
Project Architect: Sharlene Young, AIA
President: Jake Goldberg
Site Supervisor: Freddy Taborda
Scrim Material: Knoll Textiles
Scrim Fabricator: Zirlin Interiors