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List Price: $2.35 million
The Property: At the end of a long private drive through an enclave of notable Wheaton homes stands this columned, ivy-covered manor. Although it looks as if it might have been picked up from some historical setting, it’s just 20 years old. It borrows, however, from the traditions of country homes in the United Kingdom and some of the grand Georgians in Virginia. “We’re Anglophiles,” says Vonla Airhart, who designed the home with her husband, the longtime DuPage County homebuilder Mac Airhart, as a tribute to the grand old homes they had seen while traveling in Mac’s native Scotland.
Like any good country estate, the house has a name, Treetops, which was picked up from the original home on the lot, which had been built on multiple acres for a founding member of the Chicago Golf Club. That residence stood vacant and derelict for years before the Airharts bought the site. Though the home the Airharts built nods to mansions in distant places, it’s roots are right here: the house’s bricks were all salvaged and may have come from the city’s stockyards.
The feeling of a British Isles manor home comes across most in the Airharts’ 836-square-foot living room, which is paneled in knotty pine and ornamented with pilasters, cove bookcases with shell-shaped caps, and other millwork details, all beneath 13-foot ceilings and a pair of chandeliers. As you can see in today’s video, the room has formal furnishings—but Vonla envisions a buyer redesigning it and the home’s other rooms in a more relaxed, clubby style along the lines of Ralph Lauren’s homes.
The dining room also has a traditional character, with its picture-frame wall moldings, thick crown moldings, and a chandelier. Beside it is a large space that combines the kitchen, the family room, and a breakfast room, all with views over the rear terrace. Also on the main floor are a library with more pine paneling and a brick fireplace. Nearby is a conservatory, with a waterfall splashing in the pond outside.
There are four big bedrooms on the second floor; the master is very large, and its adjacent bath has a soaring ceiling above an open shower and tub. There is also a second-floor laundry room.
The spacious basement could accommodate multiple uses, and out back, Mac Airhart’s meticulous landscaping surrounds a Gatsby-size lawn. The pond, an Italian gazebo, and seating nooks are nestled among his many plantings, which, according to Vonla, provide lots of color through three seasons. The 1.5-acre lot is more than enough for most family dogs, but Vonla points out a unique touch: a few neighbors have gotten together on one continuous invisible dog fence, so that the families’ pooches can roam over a total of five acres.
Price Points: The Airharts put their home on the market in January, at the same price they are asking now. Other homes in Wheaton going for $2 million and up include one by the architect Larry Booth priced at $2.4 million; an over-the-top McMansion for $2.25 million; and a historical home on 3.5 acres near Chicago Golf that is being sold “as is” for $2.225 million.