List Price: $2.85 million
The Property: Although it’s only six years old, this ravine-side Lake Bluff mansion evokes the century-old country homes by McKim, Mead & White on the East Coast and Howard Van Doren Shaw on the North Shore. That’s entirely intentional: When Mike and Marti Palmer set out to have a house built for themselves, they told their architect, Robert Ruggles, “We would prefer to live in an old house, but we want the comforts of a new house,” Mike recalls.
The home that resulted features modern comforts like insulated windows and zoned heat but feels as if it’s been around for decades, thanks to the meticulous attention Ruggles paid to the home’s handmade finishes, which hark back to the Arts and Crafts movement. On the exterior, those details include a double-gabled front above a sheltered entry; many, many windows; and gardens that embrace the house. Inside, there is extensive woodwork, most of it alder with a honey-like finish; six fireplaces, including one whose stone chimney rises almost three stories high in the great room; and many light fixtures that, although new, look as if they might have been cadged from an older home.
The enormous, lodge-like great room is the centerpiece of the house, with three rows of glass windows rising up one wall, a broad walkover and balcony along the opposite side, and wood beams perched between. Even though the great room is huge, the house doesn’t seem overly large. As you’ll see in the video, all the other spaces in the house, from the formal dining room to the children’s bedrooms, are smaller and more intimate, giving the house a welcoming, family-oriented attitude, not an ostentatious bigness.
The first-floor master bedroom and the living room share a homey screened porch with a view into the woods that’s spectacular, especially now, with leaf colors starting to change. Indoors and outdoors also connect where the country club–style bar in the basement gives onto a walled garden and dining area that borders the rear yard, which is at the top of a wooded ravine.
Price Points: The Palmers initially listed the house for sale with Julie Morse at an asking price of $2,999,000. In mid-September, they cut that to $2,850,000.
Listing Agent: Julie Morse of the Proximity3 Partners at Griffith, Grant & Lackie Realtors; 847-283-0792 x228; firstname.lastname@example.org