List Price: $1.795 million
The Property: You could say that the architect John Crittenden and the builder Dan Cohan are “Stickleys” for detail. That is, they are devotees of Gustav Stickley, the early 20th-century American architect who led the Craftsman movement in residential architecture, a descendant of the Arts & Crafts movement in England.
On a teardown lot in Wilmette, Crittenden and Cohan—whose company is called Round Peg—created a new house that, except for the two-car garage out front, might pass for an original Craftsman, with its abundant use of natural materials, its built-in benches and bookcases, and its reliance on daylight as an essential piece of the residents’ experience. The five-bedroom (four up, one down/basement) house embodies the Craftsman principles and nature-inspired aesthetic, but it also meets modern demands for a big, open kitchen, an expansive master bath, tight insulation, and space for a media room in the basement.
Crittenden laid out a floor plan that emphasizes multifunctionality. For instance, the wide second-floor hallway has a long window seat and built-in bookcases, making it more like a commons room than a conventional passageway. Similarly, the mudroom and the sunlit laundry room open to one another across a handy built-in bench that makes that portion of the house a magnetic place for children to gather, not just a spot to drop shoes and backpacks. Even the three-story staircase that hangs in the big, window-lined bay suggests multiple uses. With some shelving around its edges and a bath of sunlight, it will become the place where kids color and cats nap.
Interior windows between rooms on the first floor let southern light spread to a northern breakfast room; unlike the typical flat-mounted side door, a sheltered side entrance enhances the home’s welcoming personality. Hand-trimmed kitchen cabinets, abundant use of beadboard, and exterior details—such as a tapered box column at the front door and a single high window with a flared, shingled eyelid—all contribute to the feeling that this house would pass muster with Stickley.
Price Points: Cohan explains that the lot size—50 feet by 132 feet—and Wilmette building codes wouldn’t allow an extra-large house; he could only build 3700 square feet (2,650 above-ground, and the rest in a finished basement level). So he and Crittenden employed meticulous detailing to make the house “live larger.” That even included carefully concealing a pull-down attic stairs that is in a bedroom so that the child who sleeps there won’t worry about monsters coming down from above.
Listing Agent: Maureen Spriggs, Coldwell Banker, (847) 441-1028, www.maureenspriggs.com