List Price: $1.485 million
The Property: There aren’t too many families that can outgrow a six-bedroom, 6,500-square-foot house, but Mike and Nancy Cowden managed to do it. They have five biological children, and in recent years they adopted four more (children of at-risk mothers) and took on one foster child. “If we could manage to squeeze everyone in, we’d stay,” Nancy says. “But we doubled the number of kids we have, so we had to move.” The family now lives in a larger house nearby.
Today’s house, completed in 2001 (when the Cowdens had only their first five kids), has a spacious front porch that leads to four floors of living space. All the main rooms are large and richly detailed in a modern Victorian style. The wood-trimmed living room has a fireplace, the primary family room (on the main floor) has a huge, carved wood mantel, an office in the front turret has a domed ceiling, the dining room has an elaborate coved ceiling, and the big kitchen has a tin ceiling.
There are five bedrooms on the second floor, including the master, with a large master bathroom whose cabinetry looks like a set of Victorian furniture pieces. The third floor has a big loft space—the home’s third family room—and the basement contains a big pub-style bar, a built-in children’s playhouse, and a children’s performance stage, which, as you will see in the video, attracts hammy adults like me, too. Fittingly for a home that recently housed a family of 12, there are two laundry rooms.
Out back, there is a swimming pool, and the house even has hot and cold running water at an outdoor dog wash. “Everyone gets treated well in this house,” says Barb Janota, the Cowdens’ agent, who notes that the home’s layout has “enough nooks and crannies and sorters and cabinetry to keep a family of [the Cowdens’] size sane.” Downtown Naperville, with its many shopping and dining options, is just two blocks east of the house.
Price Points: In August, the house next door sold for $1 million. “There’s a world of difference between the two houses,” Janota says, enumerating the many upgraded details in the Cowden home, including the butterfly-patterned granite countertops, Schonbek crystal chandeliers, Victorian-look pull-flush toilets, a seal-coated garage floor, and a whole-house sound system.