Playwright Neil LaBute’s North Barrington “Sanctuary”

List Price: $835,000
The Property: For a man whose plays and movies often show the dark and ugly side of human nature, Neil LaBute sure has a light and pretty home…


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List Price: $835,000
The Property: For a man whose plays and movies often show the dark and ugly side of human nature, Neil LaBute sure has a light and pretty home.

LaBute, whose works include In the Company of Men, Possession, Fat Pig, and Your Friends and Neighbors, has lived with his wife, Lisa, and their two children in this three-building compound on nearly two acres in North Barrington for 15 years. Lisa told me that, with the children now grown, she and her husband will “be moving out west, but not necessarily to Los Angeles,” which neither of them likes very much.

The property has three buildings: a Cape Cod-style house, built around 1934; a one-bedroom guesthouse, perhaps built around the same time; and a former artist’s studio that the LaButes converted into a family hangout. They renovated all three buildings extensively, and Lisa LaBute redesigned the interiors, with a goal of making them “unpretentious but sophisticated.” As for her husband, Lisa said that Neil, who commutes to film and stage locations from here, calls the home his “sanctuary.”

Across a gallery-style entry hall in the main house is an airy dining room/kitchen combo that Lisa created from a formal dining room and a small kitchen. The living room has a cottage feel, with a homey fireplace, crown moldings, and big windows on two sides; it opens to two smaller rooms, now used as a TV room and an office.

On the second floor of the main house are three bedrooms; two of them, each with a private bath, are sizable enough to be the master suite. The LaButes use the one on the north, but a buyer might prefer to take the one on the south: it’s adjacent to a very big attic space, some of which could be built out as a larger bath and a study, office, or workout room.

The guesthouse has a full kitchen and living room as well as a bedroom. Behind that is the third building, which makes a great teen or family gathering space with its cathedral ceiling, media shelving, and, as you will see in today’s video, space enough for furniture, a Ping-Pong table, and gym equipment (there’s also a sleeping loft, a mini-kitchen, and a bathroom).

This building and the main house both open onto the broad brick deck that surrounds a swimming pool. There’s a fire ring off to one side, fenced gardens on another, and enough of a lawn to throw a Hollywood-size party. If you were inclined that way—which Neil LaBute famously is not.

The sellers’ agent, Marion Wulff, will host an open house at the property on Sunday, September 9, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Price Points: The LaButes paid $530,000 for the property and then renovated everything (Lisa LaBute did not estimate their total investment). They listed the house for sale in October 2011, asking $865,000.

Listing Agent: Marion Wulff of Re/Max; 847-738-5296 or mwulf@mc.net

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