New on the Market-Lake Forest’s House of Mosaics

List Price: $7.5 million

The Property: Every exterior wall of this 9,000-square-foot house in Lake Forest is covered in pebble mosaics, all the way to the top of its three-story tower. The mosaics-some that date from the house’s origins in 1882, and others from latter-day additions-depict hummingbirds, vines, family members’ names, and cabbage roses. At times, the pebbles give way to more fanciful materials, such as Coke bottles and pieces of broken plates.

The developer Rocco DeFilippis, whose Legacy Homes bought the place in 2005, calls the interior of this 14-room house “designer-ready,” since he has left many of the final “finish” choices to the buyer (about two thirds of the interior, with its six bedrooms and five-plus baths, still needs finishing). Although DeFilippis reconfigured a number of obsolete spaces-including a warren of six small front rooms that he converted into a single gallery with a pyramidal ceiling-he did preserve the original cottage-style living room with its hand-carved ceiling beams and a 1990s kitchen by DiGiulio. “[This is] a jewel of a house,” say DeFilippis, “and a joy to be able to preserve for the future.”

The house comes with nearly two acres of land, including a lovely formal garden on the south and a big bluestone terrace on the east. Views from the terrace extend across open ground to Lake Michigan, though a new, presumably immense house will soon obstruct that vista.

Price Points: Legacy bought this property in 2005 as part of a $13.25-million purchase of 7.1 lakefront acres. This house, which may have originated as a secondary building for a lakefront mansion that was demolished in the 1970s, stood at the western end of that large parcel of land. At the time, DeFilippis told Deal Estate that he would preserve this house and divide the remaining land into two lots and build houses on them priced at $12.5 million (for the one with lake frontage) and $8.5 million. He priced this house for resale at $6.195 million. Since then, he has sold the two eastern lots to a single buyer, who will soon begin construction on a new residence (the purchase price and the name of the buyer cannot be determined from public records). DeFilippis raised his asking price on this house to cover the cost of the restoration.

Listing Agent: Deborah Fischer, Koenig & Strey GMAC, (847) 234-8400

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5 years ago
Posted by Dennis Rodkin

This one sold 3/31/09 for $3,460,500, or 46% of its original asking price. At the time of the sale, the price was $4,050,000, and the listing sheet referred to the house as 'partially renovated' and said it would be sold 'as is.'

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