A Touch of Europe in South Barrington

List Price: $5.5 million
The Property: The homebuilder Joe Elias and his company, Vintage Elegant Family Estates, pride themselves on bringing an old-world timelessness to their projects. At Hidden Lakes, a gated subdivision of very large homes in South Barrington, Elias took it up several notches, layering on the European-inspired details when creating this 13,000-square-foot home for his family…


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List Price: $5.5 million
The Property: The homebuilder Joe Elias and his company, Vintage Elegant Family Estates, pride themselves on bringing an old-world timelessness to their projects. At Hidden Lakes, a gated subdivision of very large homes in South Barrington, Elias took it up several notches, layering on the European-inspired details when creating this 13,000-square-foot home for his family.

That’s evident outside from the decorative chimneys capped with chimney pots and the intricate mix of brick, stucco, wrought iron, and wood. There’s no one place in Europe this conjures; it’s a collage of borrowings from across the continent.

Inside the 20-room home, after crossing a foyer floored with intricate tile mosaics, visitors arrive at a grand living room; its ceiling soars above a fireplace wall of stone and ornately carved mantel and cabinets. Inlaid into the wide-plank walnut floors are ebony fleurs-de-lis with tiny silver insets cut from old silver trays. Above hang heavy timber beams made of wood salvaged from old Wisconsin buildings. A large bay of windows looks over the terrace and the swimming pool to the subdivision’s shared tennis courts and nearly four miles of trails.

The formal dining room has fabric-covered walls, a beamed ceiling, and windows that overlook a fountain. A more informal dining area is nearby, part of a large suite that includes a kitchen with two islands, a family room, a dining area, and what’s known as the cabana room—a breezy space with a grill, a fireplace, and big glass doors that make it an indoor-outdoor cooking and entertaining spot.

One of the most intriguing rooms is a study with paneled walls, twisted columns, and wooden eagles. They hover above a pair of carved lions who flank a limestone fireplace mantel that feels lifted from a centuries-old manse. The room is an example of how Elias breaks down the grand scale of the home with more intimate spaces. The very large and formal master bedroom—it has an inverted dome in the ceiling and a Juliet balcony with a long view over the terrace—shares its fireplace with a cozy sitting room. And on the second floor, which contains four children’s bedrooms, there are window seats, an interior balcony, and a hidden playroom that I had to crawl into (as you will see in the video).

The walkout basement has a full-scale pub room and dining area, a wine room, a movie theatre, and a game room. In fact, there are so many spaces and detailed finishes in the house that, by the end of the tour, the most welcome amenities may be the multiperson indoors Jacuzzi and the massage table.

Price Points: The house originally went on the market, with a different agent and agency, for $8.9 million. It was reduced a few times before being listed with Koenig & Strey’s Jason Pietrucha in late 2011. Since then, it’s been firm at $5.5 million.

Listing Agent: Jason Pietrucha of Koenig & Strey Real Living

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