Photos, Podtalks: Comcast Xfinity Teaches a Classic Old Chicago Home Some New Tricks

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The exterior of the Ryan Mansion in Chicago’s Logan Square

CHICAGO – The City of Chicago is well known for its long tradition of distinctive architecture, and few neighborhoods has carried that tradition like the Logan Square area. Within this fast-gentrifying environment, a wealth of old structures are seeing new life. The “Ryan Mansion,” owned by Stacey Ballis and Bill Thurmond, recently got its own facelift, which included the recently released Comcast Xfinity Digital Security Service (xFi Advanced Security) and a full home wi-fi makeover (xFi Advantage).

In the long renovation project, Ballis and Thurmond had a revelation. Since they work and live in the 8000 square foot domesticity, how could they integrate the necessities for modern connectivity/security and still maintain the integrity of a mansion built in 1907? In a consultation with Comcast Xfinity, they took care of that problem without massive rewiring and reconstruction of the old-timey house form, with the functionality and design of xFi Advantage wi-fi and the xFi Advanced Security.

Below are the photographs that illustrate this partnership, which enabled Ballis and Thurmond to hook up wi-fi – and take advantage of the powerful and ultra-secure xFi Advantage signal – throughout their steel and concrete manse, in addition to providing an unobtrusive security system, and the features of a “smart home,” including control of lighting, themostats and TV programming. It is truly the age of miracles. Click “Next” and “Previous” to scan through the slideshow or jump directly to individual photos with the captioned links below. All photos © Comcast Xfinity.

  1. RYAN1: The exterior of the Ryan Mansion in Chicago’s Logan Square.
  2. RYAN2: Restored stairwell near the entrance of the Ryan Mansion.
  3. RYAN3: Media Room in the house, mood lighting controlled by Xfinity Home.
  4. RYAN4: Ryan Mansion Owner Stacey Ballis in her home office.
  5. RYAN5: Advanced xFi Gateway for superior wi-fi signal and security.
  6. RYAN6: Plug-in ‘pods’ assure wi-fi signals throughout this old house.
  7. RYAN7: Nest thermostat controlled through Xfinity Home.
  8. RYAN8: Smart phone indications for xFi Advanced Security.
  9. RYAN9: Owners Stacey Ballis and Bill Thurmond in the Dining Room.
  10. RYAN10: Jeanine Heck, VP of Artificial Intelligence Products, Comcast.

In a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of, Ryan Mansion owner Stacey Ballis talks about the renovation, Xfinity integration and which writer will feel most at home in her Chicago home.

In the second Podtalk, Jeanine Gubler Heck, Vice President of Artificial Intelligence at Comcast, reflects on the technology at the Ryan Mansion, and her vital work in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) programs for women, and their stake as future digital pioneers. Happy International Women’s Day!

For more information about Xfinity wi-fi services, click here. For xFi Advanced Security, click here. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

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© 2019 Patrick McDonald,

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