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Architect: HARRY BATES, c. 1965. Renovation: NICHOLAS POLITIS, 2015.


Michael Shurtleff was a playwright and famous casting director. Born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1920, Shurtleff grew up surrounded by the Prairie houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. And Shurtleff called upon Harry Bates to create a dramatic span for this prominent corner lot.

The majority of spaces were disposed across the second level to create privacy while catching breezes and views. Bates placed shaded terraces below, a common feature of his work. He then clad the house with reverse board-and-batten siding, with light fixtures that slot elegantly into its grooves. Extra-wide Arcadia doors trace the post-and-beam structure. The open-air terraces below the home were later filled in, creating the opaque lower level seen today. 

Harry Bates recalled attending a reading for one of Shurtleff’s plays that “I’ll never forget…and this was before any of them were anybody, but Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons were reading at this thing! And it was about an architect.” Shurtleff was also instrumental in launching the careers of Elliott Gould, Dustin Hoffman, Bette Midler, Jerry Orbach,  and Barbra Streisand. He served as the casting director for such films as The Sound of Music and The Graduate.

The home’s latest incarnation features a black-lined infinity pool, a new color scheme, a pool house, and harmonious skirts and railings for the existing structure.


Photos: Tom Sibley.

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