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Trading Spaces

How do you make a grand old house just right for a 21st-century family? Rethink which rooms should go where

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A single-family Winnetka home

SIZE 4,300 square feet
TYPE Single-family
ARCHITECT William Scholtens

THE CHALLENGE Over the years, the house, built in 1922, had been expanded with a series of additions, resulting in a visually cluttered exterior and rooms on six different levels. A formal dining room and living room were rarely used; friends and family usually ended up gathering in the crowded, outdated kitchen. The layout didn’t work for modern family living.

THE SOLUTION Architect William Scholtens had a radical idea: Rather than simply expand the kitchen, he shifted it to the front of the house and gave it new prominence. Knocking down most of the interior walls on the first floor and adding windows and glass doors made the space feel expansive and turned the backyard pool into a focal point. “The house was disassociated from the yard,” says Scholtens. “I said, ‘Let’s engage with the outside.’ That led to some dramatic changes.” He also expanded an addition above the garage to create a luxurious master suite and put a bedroom and a bathroom in what had once been the attic.


Photograph: Nathan Kirkman


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