Earlier this month, Vince Gerasole of CBS2 Chicago reported that a 35,000-square-foot mansion in Burr Ridge with a $25-million price tag was the most expensive home on the market in Illinois. Apparently Gerasole didn’t know about this super-lavish Winnetka mansion that is priced at $32 million.
Completed about four years ago on two-plus acres in an unincorporated area west of Winnetka, the house has been handled since at least early June by Ronda Fish of Sudler Sotheby. The house is being marketed as a private listing, which means it’s not included among properties at Midwest Real Estate Data.
The sellers are Sherwin and Deborah Jarol; Sherwin is the managing partner of Bradley Associates, a Chicago commercial real-estate investment company with a portfolio that in May 2008 was reportedly worth $1.5 billion. In November 2003, the Jarols paid $2.56 million for the site, which at that time was occupied by a much smaller home designed by the architect Irving Colburn. The Jarols demolished that house and commissioned the Landry Design Group of Los Angeles to build a French chateau with about 17,000 square feet of living space. They christened it Le Grand Rêve: the Big Dream.
Surrounded by tall hedges and a large privacy gate, the house is obscured from view (as you see, my photos show only the upper reaches of the house). But the Landry website has some excellent photos of the exterior, with its mansard roof, masonry quoining, a carved, arched pediment above the main entrance, and, in the rear, a broad loggia below a balustrade-enclosed terrace. The extensive landscaping includes a formal motor court in front of the mansion. Cook County Assessor records say the house has eight fireplaces, seven bathrooms, and a four-car garage.
Neither Sherwin Jarol nor Ronda Fish would discuss the listing with me, although Fish sent some details via e-mail. The mansion, she wrote, is made of the “finest materials brought in from around the world, handcrafted and custom designed for the entire interior. . . . Level of detail and finishes is unrivaled in the entire Chicago marketplace.”
The price is unrivaled, too. Because Jarol and Fish would not elaborate, it’s not possible to report why the property warrants an asking price of $32 million. You have to look pretty far to find anything with a comparable asking price. I found one in Manhattan—a 16-room, full-floor co-op on Park Avenue—and two in southern California: a 12,000-square-foot Bel Air mansion and a cliff-hanging stunner in Laguna Beach. The latter is priced a bit higher than the others, at $34 million.
As to why the Jarols put the house on the market just a few years after building it, Fish said by e-mail that the “home was designed when the owner had children living with them several years ago; now there is just the two of them and they are looking to move to a smaller home.”