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Hinsdale: Howard's Zook's Houses
July 23, 2017

Howard Zook built some houses in Hinsdale, where the historical society as a special interest in his work, which is also found in Park Ridge and elsewhere. His own house and studio were moved from elsewhere in Hinsdale to Legge Park a few years ago. The studio has a finished downstairs for small gatherings, but the house has not been renovated, although were were given a quick glimpse inside.

The signature look for a Zook house comes from his "Cotswold Cottage" phase. He built in other styes (see below), including Tudor and something approaching ranch. The most striking feature is the remarkable roof, with its wrap-around edges, distinctive, but hard to maintain, one imagines. There is very little left standing from this phase, unfortunately.


The roof is actually flat, not undulating, but as you can see below and above left, the roof does not appear to be
The wave effect comes from the cut of the shingles, as you can see on the right. A special contractor built these roofs for Zook-designed homes.

His homes also feature spider webs in various guises, as in the windows here, and heart shapes.
Other typical features are the stones set into the brickwork, brickwork at various angles, and a lot of fancy woodwork, as seen here in the balcony railings.
There is an extensive wall around the property with its own charm.
The front door is unassuming and really there is nothing grand about the house.

Inside there is not a lot to see right now, but picture below left suggests a lot about scale and how much has to be done.
The studio has its own charm, including this back wall with a grindstone set into it.

A warm but lovely day to be there.

The walking tour of properties related to Zook was disappointing. Few of his homes remain, and many of those that are still around have been modified. For ostentation and grandeur of a most unZookian character, however, Hinsdale is the place to be.

This house is the Zookiest of those we saw.
This house too is Zooky, but am not sure it has anything to do with his time or him.
  This is Zook in his Geogian mode.
  This is Zook in his Tudor mode (I think).
About this time we packed it in. Enough pseudo-Zookiness for one day.