Bob and Kim Zielinski had a simple idea in mind when they envisioned their move to the South Side.
“We didn’t want to do anything fancy,” Kim says with a laugh. “It just got out of hand.”
The result is anything but ordinary. They have a home that sits atop their Emerald Art Glass plant on Josephine Street. Its cantilevered main room perches on a concrete-block core that holds two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living area, garage and other rooms.
While it represents the work of Shadyside architect Eric Fisher and John Schneider from Atlantic Engineering Services, Downtown, it is more the product of the Zielinskis, who were looking for something at the heart of many working couples.
They wanted to stop the trips from their home in Baldwin to the South Side workplace. Kim talks about how often “Bob would come home, eat, and then we’d both go back for some work in the evenings.”
They started by imagining a place built in a corner of their football-field-sized building. But they did not want to lose the space.
The company, founded in 1982, had grown out of two other South Side sites and they didn’t want to put limitations on work. The company produces all sorts of glass products for homes and businesses. It ranges from stained-glass windows and doors for entrances and showers to 2-inch-square pieces for interior design.
Their house is a striking bit of architecture, but a home that seems rooted in Kim’s youth in rural Michigan. The multilevel construction is a tribute to Fisher’s vision, she says, but it is full of practical aspects. It provides a design where some family members and friends can retreat to the kitchen to cook while others settle elsewhere for a movie or a game.
It provides a rural touch in another way, too, she says.
“I grew up surrounded by trees, now I live up in one,” she says.