A Retirement Community’s New Build Made to Look Historic

Burr Ridge, Illinois

German Schmear Blends Old with New on KBH's Estate

When it opened in 1933, King-Bruwaert House (KBH) set out to create a European-inspired senior living facility that provided good healthcare in a tranquil environment surrounded by nature. Today, the estate retains its peaceful charm, which KBH intends to preserve as it expands its facilities to accommodate a growing number of residents.

A key part of keeping that character lies in replicating the look of the original Georgian-style brick Manor House. With the support of IMI and IMTEF, BAC craftworkers with signatory contractor Cachey Construction are recreating the German schmear on the campus’ new buildings, which gives the red brick a rustic, whitewashed look. Photos from the time of the Manor House’s original construction show that it was completely coated with German schmear. Over time, moisture and exposure to the elements naturally deteriorated some of the schmear, but enough remains to give it a timeless “appearance that reflects its European influence,” according to KBH.

IMI identified the German schmear technique used on the original KBH building during a site visit and worked hand-in-hand with BAC’s local training center and craftworkers to make the new facility blend with the old. The craftworkers were provided customized training to learn how to replicate the German schmear on the century-old mass masonry Manor House. Mockups helped them perfect the technique and build the owner’s confidence in the finished product. IMI also provided drawing and detail reviews and facilitated the pre-installation meeting and ongoing site visits for the project.

The resulting construction honors KBH’s proud history while making space to bring its personalized, compassionate care to more seniors in the community.

Read more about the project, including BAC, IMI, and IMTEF’s support, from KBH. 


  • Drawing Review  
  • Detail Review  
  • Constructability Mockups
  • Pre-installation Meeting 
  • Job Site Visits  

  • Brick Veneer
Project Team

BAC Administrative District Council 1 IL (Local 21 Chicago)
BAC Contractors:
Cachey Construction
General Contractor:
Pepper Construction
A/E Firms:
SAS Architects


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