Don’t Fence Me In

Rules regarding renovations may inhibit the sale of an eccentric house built by a real Texas Maverick


 

Winnetka
List Price:
$990,000

Lola Maverick Lloyd
Lola Maverick Lloyd (right) on the house’s front steps in the early 1920s with her children (left to right) Bill, Mary, and Georgia

A playful wooden fence is the first suggestion that something unusual stands just south of Winnetka’s downtown. Running along two sides of a densely wooded corner lot, the spruce-blue barrier depicts a long row of mini­ature evergreen trees. Beyond the fence is an eccentric residence that for eight decades was home to a family whose independent streak dates back to the mid-1800s and whose activities promoting world peace and other causes have been as earnest as the property is whimsical.

The current effort to sell the house—the first such effort since it was built in 1920—entails an irony. While the people who built the house were proud freethinkers, the foundation that now owns it has put in place a corral of rehab restrictions. Off limits from any changes are such details as a 20-foot-tall mural of Texas ranch life, the irregular shapes of the windows, the stucco and board-and-batten exterior, the color of that wooden fence—even a wooden sconce on the second floor that is shaped like a goat.

The agreement does allow some alterations, such as converting an oversize attic into living space and renovating the 1980s kitchen. “We left space for people to do a lot of things to the house, but we have to protect certain artistic aspects and the spirit of what my grandmother built,” says Lola Moonfrog, the granddaughter of Lola Maverick Lloyd, who built the house in collaboration with Charles Haag, a Swedish sculptor based in Winnetka.

Lola Maverick, born in 1875, was the granddaughter of a Texas attorney and rancher whose refusal to brand his cattle inspired the word “maverick.” She moved to Winnetka in 1902 when she married William Bross Lloyd, who, like his father, Henry Demarest Lloyd, was a reform-minded socialist who opposed monopolistic corporations and supported the poverty-relief efforts of Jane Addams. The couple lived at Wayside—the Lloyd family estate on Sheridan Road—until they divorced in 1916. In 1920, Lola Maverick Lloyd moved into this house, which she had commissioned Haag to design. She lived there until she died in 1944, having cofounded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and cochaired the Campaign for World Government.

The house evoked Lola Lloyd’s Lone Star State heri­tage with its mural, an amber glass window meant to mimic the glow of the Texas morning sun, and the rancho look of an interior balcony. It also nods to Haag’s native Sweden with its foreshortened gables, carved wooden figures, and blue and green wood trim. Inside and out, the artful details speak to what the selling agent, Howard Meyers of Baird & Warner, calls the family’s “creative way of doing everything.” The rain gutters spill over concrete figures of a bear, a lizard, and other creatures—all believed to have been crafted by Lola Maverick Lloyd herself. In the living room are sconces carved from wooden salad bowls (perhaps by Lola Lloyd) that depict flowers and mushrooms.

The last resident of the five-bedroom house was Moonfrog’s mother, Georgia Lloyd Berndt, who was Lola Lloyd’s young­est daughter. She died in 1999, and her heirs deeded the property to the Pond Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Moonfrog lives. (She is involved with the foundation, a nature-conservation group, but is not making the decisions about its sale of the house.) Originally, says Moonfrog, the hope was that the Winnetka Historical Society or a simi­lar organization would take over the house, but the restrictions on renovations proved too severe.

In July 2007 the property went on the market, priced at $1.45 million, though that has since come down in light of the many restrictions on the property. “We will wait for the right person,” Moonfrog says, “someone who understands the house and the way it generates creativity.”

 

Photography: (House) Chrisguillen.Com, (family photo) Courtesy Of The Lola Maverick Lloyd Family

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