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List Price: $9.4 million
The Property: When you see the expansiveness of the grounds and house that make up this estate, it’s hard to imagine that the quaint center of the village of Winnetka is only a few blocks away. But its location makes the property, set behind a tall hedge and built in the French Regency style, “an estate you can walk to,” as Blanche Romey, one of its listing agents, puts it.
Set on 1.45 acres, the house was built in 1964 for members of the Bensinger family (who ran the Brunswick company for decades), from a design by Fritz Huszagh. In 1989, Al and Freeda Hofeld bought the property for $2.6 million, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. An attorney, Al Hofeld ran unsuccessfully in the 1992 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat held by Alan Dixon (Carol Moseley Braun won the primary and the seat).
The Hofelds completely renovated the property, which included rebuilding the 2,000-square-foot solarium that is the home’s centerpiece. They installed a subterranean basketball gym underneath the solarium and an enormous rooftop terrace over it. Freeda “Free” Hofeld, who has since died, oversaw every decorative detail, from the swirly wrought iron ringing the terrace to the trompe l’oeil in a first-floor hallway and the opulent mural of cherubim and clouds in the master bedroom. She even did the gold leaf work in the trim of the formal dining room herself.
As you will see in today’s video, the home’s 22 rooms are done in a variety of styles, from the rusticated breakfast room to the serene elegance of the light green living room, where French doors open onto the grounds. With its hefty fireplace and rough timber beams, the family room has a Norman ambience. But the home is not a series of decorating episodes; there’s a cohesive feeling throughout.
The house has eight bedrooms, six of them on the second floor (most of them on the home’s north side). Across the upper level of the two-story foyer lies the master suite, which contains four rooms—two studies, a sitting room, and the bedroom—and two bathrooms. The 1,000-square-foot terrace above the solarium looks over the estate’s pool, cabana house (with its own kitchen), tennis court, and formal gardens into the estate’s wooded surroundings.
Hofeld, who declined to be interviewed for this article, put the property on the market in June. His agents say that, with his children grown, he no longer needs all that space.
Price Points: The Hofelds’ extensive renovations—they even replaced the original swimming pool—plus the original purchase price may add up to more than the current asking price. The listing agents wouldn’t say, though they believe that the 1.45-acre lot alone is worth $4 million. But even at $9.4 million, this is not the most expensive home in Winnetka right now; a stunning property on the lake is listed at $13.9 million. Maureen Mohling, one of Hofeld’s agents, is also part of that sales team.
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