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This past spring, 42 Chicago-area interior designers and 12 landscape pros took on the formidable task of adorning the 2007 Lake Forest Showhouse

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The estate includes a main house, a coach house, and a guest house connected to the main house by a charming breezeway.  ::: view gallery

The kitchen  ::: view gallery

Laura Dylla O’Brien of Christopher Peacock Cabinetry created a just-updated-enough take on an old-fashioned French country kitchen. Distressed gray and white cabinetry and a similarly distressed oak island are topped with, respectively, honed marble and blue-gray limestone, all complementing the chunky grayish-tinted hand-hewn beams overhead. Antique hardware; wide-planked, hand-scraped walnut floors; and oversized pillowed marble tiles below the majestic hood add to the old, always-been-there feeling. And yet, some unexpected touches—a mirrored backsplash below a glass-fronted cabinet, stainless steel industrial-style appliances, contemporary metal bar chairs—make their way in, preventing the “country feeling” from being a cliché. A wool runner on the floor warms up the space even more, as does a cozy sitting area near a fireplace with an antique French mantel (not shown). This is the ultimate room for cooking and family bonding.

You don’t see butler’s pantries often enough these days, but for those who throw lots of parties, there is no better way to hide a caterer’s paraphernalia. O’Brien orchestrated this room alongside the kitchen, incorporating original cabinetry with her company’s custom cabinets. The unusual sink (available at Aquaworks and manufactured by the German Silver Sink Company, which makes sinks as if this were 19th-century Germany—out of copper, nickel, and zinc, rather than a harder material) is a throwback, says O’Brien, to the kind servants once used for washing the family’s silver, crystal, and china without worrying about denting the fish forks. A dramatic windowpane mirror, elaborate sconces, and a chandelier (all French antiques) make the room worthy of esteemed guests, not just the help.


Photography: Alan Shortall


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