Orland Park’s Home on the Range
For a closer look at the house, launch the photo gallery »
List Price: $2.5 million
The Property: Now this is a ranch house. The Orland Park residence is infused with the character and materials of the American West, from its log-framed entry to the forest of timber beams and the huge stone chimney in the great room. Each of the five bedrooms has a mural, wallpaper, or some other finish that evokes a western setting; the stone and wood kitchen is a sophisticated take on the old chuck wagon; and the hot tub is tucked beneath a waterfall in a rocky hideaway.
The home’s centerpiece is the great room, a 730-square-foot space with 36-foot-high ceilings. The beams, held together by pegs rather than nails, hang beneath a salvaged-wood ceiling, while the wetlands beyond the room’s wall of windows provide a feeling of wide-open spaces. The home’s owners, Mike and Judy Lembke, who also own a high-end fishing lodge in Saskatchewan (among other businesses), intended to evoke this sense of the West, their favorite part of the country—and their planned destination now that the youngest of their four sons is about to finish high school.
As you will see in the video, the house, completed by the Lembkes (after two and a half years of work) in 2002, has many personal touches. Off camera, Mike Lembke explained that they configured the basement expressly to accommodate an archery range, since everyone in the family is a bow-and-arrow hunter. But Jason Bacza, one of two agents listing the property, noted that, with the family’s hunt-themed belongings gone, “it will feel as much like a ski lodge in Aspen as a hunting lodge in Montana.”
The lodge-like ambience pervades the master bedroom, a large open suite that includes a sitting area in one of the home’s three turrets and a spa tub set into its own rock grotto. The boys’ bedrooms are all over-sized, and there are many other places for kids to enjoy, including a huge attic that right now has one of the biggest slot-car racetracks I’ve ever seen.
Everything is big about this four-story lodge: the dining room, with a table that seats 22; the cookout terrace with its built-in stone benches; the pool deck; and the laundry room, which has four washers. It’s also rugged, with thick stone floors in some of the main rooms and sturdy oak-core pillars supporting the catwalk and ceiling in the great room. Though it was built on a Montana scale, the house feels as comfortable as a broken-in pair of boots. As Judy Lembke told me when I was wiping my feet to come in the front door: “Don’t worry about that. This place can take it.”
Price Points: In the listing for the property, the Lembkes’ agents state that the sellers spent at least $4 million to build the home. Their asking price is just 62.5 percent of that investment. “They’re realistic sellers,” Bacza said. “They understand that they built their dream home and lived in it, but they know where the market is now.”