Join Dennis on a tour of Hinsdale’s house of treasures, where you can hear Brian Baetz talk about the antique materials he brought back from France and New England and see how he employed them in this one-of-a-kind home. Click here for a larger version
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List Price: $6.3 million
The Property: Brian Baetz and his company, the Lemont-based Morgan Builders, have been putting up houses and entire subdivisions in the west and southwest suburbs for two decades. But this six-bedroom, 9,300-square-foot house, which was completed in November in Hinsdale, is Baetz’s pet project. Inspired by the centuries-old homes outside Paris, it is a repository of Baetz’s most lavish design dreams, as well as many of the artifacts he had collected over the years. “I treated myself to building a really awesome project with everything I have a passion for,” says Baetz.
Those artifacts include a 350-year-old limestone mantel from France; the weathered roof beams and ceiling planking from an old New England tobacco barn; and 19th-century terra cotta tiles that show the squiggles and other imperfections inherent in the handcrafting process. The house also incorporates the ornate, hand-carved wood paneling, shelving, and cabinetry that Baetz retrieved from a pharmacy in Pamiers, a town in the southwest of France. The window pediments in the library are also from the pharmacy, as are the three human figures, each about two feet high, on the cabinets in the butler’s station. Where Baetz used new materials—as with the Art Nouveau–style wall panels or the quarter-sawn white oak parquet flooring in the dining room—he strove to give them an antique feel that matched the older materials. “I want you to think we built the house in France a long time ago and moved it here,” he says.
The house has lots of other luxurious touches, such as three outdoor fireplaces, a curving staircase, and a morning kitchen in the master bedroom, where arched cabinetry conceals a sink and refrigerated drawers. All the base and crown moldings and other millwork were cut with a custom-built knife that gives them a unique pattern; the knife comes with the house, for use in repairs or additions.
Price Points: Baetz’s project is priced at $1.1 million more than the highest-priced home that has sold in Hinsdale over the past three years. While Hinsdale is no stranger to multimillion-dollar home sales—18 have sold for $3 million or more since 2005, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois—the price for this place is a new benchmark for Hinsdale, a contrarian spot to claim in today’s down market.