An Arts and Crafts Latecomer, in Lake Bluff
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List Price: $2.495 million
The Property: Although it’s only 14 years old, this Lake Bluff house on one and a half acres has many of the hallmarks of the Arts and Crafts movement from a century earlier.
It starts with the way the home incorporates its natural surroundings. “We wanted to meld the indoors with the outdoors,” says Paul Evans, who commissioned the house with his wife, Debbie. (It was designed by the architect Robert Douglass of Lake Effect.) Evans is standing beneath the high, beamed ceiling of the living room. It projects from the house and opens on two sides with big glass doors to terraces that spill out to the landscape. The nearby dining room—built extra large to accommodate a long antique table—has rows of tall windows on two sides that frame garden views. Behind those two rooms is a more relaxed suite of family room, breakfast room, screened porch, and kitchen. Most of them have views of a formally landscaped walled garden.
In keeping with the Arts and Crafts style, many of the rooms and the garden gates share a common design trait: a broad, shallow arch. There are also vivid floral wallpapers, lots of millwork, a window seat in the breakfast room, and other traditional finishes. The best is the wooden stair rail that begins with an S-curve in the foyer and then winds up to and around the second floor galleria. From there it goes on to a third-floor penthouse space that serves as a family office. Windows at the top let natural light pour down to the foyer.
Five bedrooms are on the second floor (there’s a sixth bedroom on the first floor). Four of them are in paired children’s suites, and the fifth is the master bedroom, with a fireplace, a bathroom with a glass-box shower and a large tub, and views through the treetops to Lake Michigan (on the other side of a neighboring property). There is also a homework alcove and a big hallway/galleria space.
The basement and mudroom are spacious, as befit the needs of four growing children. Now that most of them are grown, Paul and Debbie Evans plan to downsize.
Price Points: The home, which sits near the blufftop end of a long, secluded street, went on the market in August at $2.695 million. On the last day of November, the Evanses cut the price by 7.4 percent, to $2.495 million. Another modern Arts and Crafts–style home that’s nearby recently sold for $1.768 million; that one didn’t have lake views and resided on a busier street. Property taxes on today’s house used to be about $51,000, but Paul Evans filed for a review that lowered them to about $35,000 for the past two years. “We anticipate it getting into the low $30,000s when the next bills come out,” he says.