Buyers of ‘Ferris Bueller’ house plan to ‘love it’

The Highland Park property known as the “Ferris Bueller house” has sold for less than half the original $2.3 million asking price to a Highland Park couple who intend to maintain and restore the main home and pavilion in keeping with the modernist design reminiscent of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

The steel and glass home and pavilion, both Highland Park landmarks, sold for $1.06 million May 29 after five years, a succession of price reductions and misfortunes of timing.

The home famously appeared during one of the most climatic scenes of the 1986 John Hughes movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Hughes used the glass-enclosed pavilion — perched on steel pilings over a ravine — as the fictional “garage” where Cameron Frye’s father kept his cherished, classic Ferrari. The two teens take the 1961 Ferrari out for a joyride and accidentally send the car crashing through a plate glass window into the ravine below.

The dwellings were placed on the market in 2009, when owner Francis Rose died. She and her husband, Ben, a textile designer who died in 2004, were the original and sole owners of the house over six decades.

The property was purchased by Meghann and Christopher Salamasick, an attorney and investment banker, respectively, who previously owned a 1924 Tudor Revival house with landmark standing. Both their new home and the adjacent pavilion are local landmarks.

“We were familiar with the Ben Rose property, and have long held a goal of owning a classic example of mid-century modern architecture such as the A. James Speyer home and David Haid pavilion,” said Meghann Salamasick. “We believe the home utilizes a unique combination of commercial grade steel and glass, and is an historical timepiece reflecting post-World War II utilization of redundant industrial materials.” She said they plan to functionally update the property, while retaining its architectural qualities and historical integrity.

“The pavilion will be an integral part of the daily living and working space for our family, although we do intend to find additional ways to utilize the space that capitalize on its natural setting,” Salamasick said.

Realtor Meladee Hughes, the Coldwell Banker agent who had the listing during the five-year saga, said, “I can’t tell you how happy I am. They are planning to ‘love it’ and restore it to its original elegance.

“To me, it was important that the right person acquire the house,” added Hughes, who had continually asked herself what the home’s owners of 60 years would have wanted.

“We had multiple offers and the home was under contract several times,” she said. Hughes is not related to the late movie director.

One early, higher-priced offer came from a buyer who wanted to strip the home and garage down to the steel skeletons. In July of 2011, the home was under contract to another buyer when a severe storm broke a skylight and caused some interior water damage. Hughes said that buyer backed out “while we were fighting with the insurance company” and no major repairs could move forward until the issues were resolved.

The home went off the market for two years, and a new marketing campaign was launched last August with a lower asking price of $1.5 million.

Hollywood producer Oren Koules entered into a contract to purchase the home and pavilion in February of this year, but he and his wife decided the home was too small and could not be easily adapted to the needs of their young family. Koules was an executive producer of “Texas Chainsaw” (2013) and the television series, Two and a Half Men, among many other credits.

In architectural circles, the home and garage are valued for their distinctive style and ties to Mies van der Rohe. The four-bedroom home was designed in 1953 by A. James Speyer, who studied under Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

More than two decades later, Speyer’s student David Haid designed the smaller pavilion as a showcase for the Roses’ collection of European sports and touring cars. The pavilion also includes a kitchen and bathroom.

In 2011, preservation advocates raised concern when the city received inquiries about the feasibility of demolition and splitting the one-acre lot into two parcels.

A 2001 survey of architectural resources in south and central Highland Park by Historic Certification Consultants described the garage as “perhaps the finest example of the Miesian style on the North Shore.”

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