Suburban life was not on the radar for Wicker Park residents Carson and Dori Boneck when, four years ago, they decided to build a new house. “We thought of ourselves as city dwellers,” says Carson, 39, who works at a financial technology firm (his wife, also 39, was a teacher prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom). But after two years of searching for a city lot that was the size they needed, they changed their perspective. The parents of two young children, they wanted large, functional living spaces. Wilmette started to look pretty ideal for the 4,600-square-foot modern farmhouse of their dreams.
Built in 2013 by a construction company that is no longer in business, the house has six bedrooms and five baths. Chicagoans Kelley Audrain of Audrain Architecture and Cookie Weber of Inside Job did the interior architecture and design. “Dori grew up on a farm, and she wanted a nod to that,” Audrain says. “But they had also lived in Chicago for years and wanted something a little edgy.”
The result is a sophisticated balance of styles. On the exterior, a black door and black window casings punctuate traditional white board-and-batten siding. Audrain and Weber continued the palette indoors, where they painted one-inch-thick jambs around the doors and windows a deep gray. “We were kind of scared about the dark color, but it actually made the house,” Dori says.
Rustic touches abound inside and out. “Since the house is new, it was important to add pieces that would make it feel lived-in and comfortable,” Carson says. A sliding barn door between his office and the living room “adds a raw, textured feel,” Weber says.
So does a woven-oak chandelier by Chicago artist Lucy Slivinski, which draws the eye upward to exposed ceiling beams. In the dining room, a piece of reclaimed wood serves as a fireplace mantel, a nice counterpoint to the contemporary metallic wall covering.
Refurbished mid-century pieces by Knoll, Risom, and Eames (upholstered in kid-friendly fabrics) make up most of the furnishings, alongside new and custom pieces.
In the kitchen, the designers married a rustic table from Anthropologie with a bench and three chairs from Skokie-based New Breed Furniture Network—the same company that designed Carson’s desk and the bedside tables in the master suite. “We decided to get as much furniture as possible from area vendors,” Carson says. “I’d rather spend my money with local artisans than buy something out of a catalogue.”
What else gives this house its unique flavor? Bold wallpaper, much of it from Eijffinger, a Dutch company. Used in the dining room, powder room, and kids’ rooms, it adds an element of surprise and layers of color and depth to what otherwise might have been a very quiet space.
In the end, the Bonecks got exactly what they wanted: a home that successfully straddles city and country, modern and rustic. “We couldn’t be happier,” says Dori.