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List Price: $3.1 million
The Property: When it was built in 1903, this Tudor-style home in Winnetka was more of a country house, with just one large estate between it and nearby Lake Michigan. More than 100 years later, it still retains all its charm and comforts, thanks both to the fine work of its original architect (whose name is not recorded) and to an extensive, multiyear renovation by the present sellers, Lisa and Peter Beebe.
When the Beebes bought the home in 2001, it still had its original electrical wiring and a kitchen that was several decades old. “The worse shape it was in, the happier my husband was,” Lisa Beebe says, with the last of three major phases of work now several years behind her. “It just meant more that he could do.”
The house got all new electrical and plumbing systems and a nice addition off the back, as well as decorative interior work that complements the home’s vintage. (Among the people who lived here over the years were William and Beulah Fiske, in the 1920s; their son, William “Billy” Fiske, twice won gold at the winter Olympics—in bobsledding—and was killed while flying with the RAF during the Battle of Britain in World War II.) The living room feels much as it would have in 1903, with a beamed ceiling and a big wood-framed bay of windows facing Lake Michigan. Opposite the bay is a large fireplace in an inglenook, and there’s a library and music area on the south end of the room beneath big windows. Next to the living room is a large dining room lit by big windows with their original leaded upper panes intact.
The kitchen has a big island, hand-built cabinets in an Arts and Crafts style, and a tiled nook for the stove. Far bigger than the servants’ kitchen that was still in place when the Beebes bought the house, this one complements the vintage rooms nicely. It opens to a family room addition that does the same; it has a beamed ceiling and other features of the living room, but it’s fitted out with the entertainment technology for today.
And as you will see in the video, there are two advantages to this addition being elevated above the sloping yard: its big windows look out into the tall trees that surround the rear lot, and the Beebes were able to put an attached garage underneath it, with a mudroom next door big enough for everybody’s sports equipment and castoffs, as well as a Ping-Pong table.
The second floor has three bedrooms now; it used to have more, possibly five. There are two children’s bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, and then the entire south side of this floor is the master suite. There’s a large sitting room with another original fireplace, a big bathroom, and the bedroom, whose original sleeping porch has been enclosed for closet space.
Up one flight are two more bedrooms and a large family room with yet another fireplace. The windows there look south into the trees, but in the eastern bedroom, original windows (updated) still frame a view out toward Lake Michigan. It’s not visible past the trees except in winter, but like this house, it’s still there, its beauty unchanged by time.
Price Points: Planning to downsize, the Beebes listed the 7,500-square-foot, 14-room house for sale in May. “You can’t reproduce this quality at the price they’re asking,” says the couple’s agent, Monica Childs. “Everything you’d ever need to replace they’ve already replaced, from the roof all the way down.”