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Homes of the Stars: Leslie Hindman

56 / OWNER OF CHICAGO’S PREMIER AUCTION HOUSE

Leslie Hindman in her barn

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HOME Fair Warning Farm, a 22-acre McHenry County compound Hindman bought last February, complete with a six-bedroom house, four barns, a silo, an indoor swimming pool, stables, a chicken coop, a guesthouse, and a greenhouse

OTHER RESIDENCE A two-bedroom Gold Coast duplex

WHY THIS PLACE? “It was in horrible condition and had been for sale for years. I was helping the owners market it but realized it had so much potential that I bought it myself. I always need a good project outside of work, and I knew this one would last for years.”

THE RENOVATION “I had to shape up the main house first. I painted everything off-white and put in new wood floors to unify all the additions because the house was built in stages over 150 years. Then I had to fix its guts. It needed all new systems—electrical, plumbing, HVAC, fixtures, telephone lines, everything. I did it all superfast in six months. Now I’m best friends with the staff of the Crystal Lake Home Depot. I even got my shades and draperies there. Then I hit the pond and the pool, and three months ago I found a couple to live in the caretaker’s house and use some of the land for organic farming. They’re raising grass-fed beef, pork, and chicken and are going to start selling it next summer.”

FAVORITE PART OF THE FARM “The barn. It’s this huge three-story building with an equally huge five-story silo adjoining it. It’s so beautiful that I want to move into it someday, but it’s going to be a work in progress for years. The barn has stables on the lowest level and a bi-level loft that has a kitchen, a massive stone hearth, and open space that I’m using as a game room and a dining area for entertaining. Then the silo has a kitschy pool on the ground level, and there are four floors above it, including one at the top that’s lined with windows and overlooks the entire property. When I first saw the pool, I figured I’d fill it in with dirt, but everyone kept telling me how great it was, so I restored it. Now it’s the biggest draw in the place. Everyone loves to go swimming. And the rooms above it are breathtaking. I have big plans for them. One will be a library, another an office. I’ll figure it out when I move in there someday.”

FUTURE PLANS “For now, I’m happy having a party barn so I can have my friends out. When I get the place in shape, I’d like to start a nonprofit arts program for students.”

 

Photograph: Bob Coscarelli; Hair and Makeup: Martina Sykes

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