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Stanley Tigerman’s ‘Suburban Village’ is For Sale in Highland Park

The legendary architect’s experiment put a village environment under one roof (or several conjoining roofs). It is on the market for $2.2 million.

“Suburban Village", built in 1988.   Photo: Ian Spula

Price: $2.2 million

“I never thought I’d leave this house,” says Marlene Pochis, the first and only owner of architect Stanley Tigerman’s “Suburban Village” in Highland Park. But with her husband’s passing this winter, the house’s size—5,100 square feet on a 1.6-acre lot—became an issue.

The eccentric, asymmetric design, featuring a mix of wedge and cylindrical room shapes, was conceived for the Pochises, and in many ways they collaborated on the final result. Tigerman’s wife and partner-in-design, Margaret McCurry, was heavily involved in the furniture design and decor, and the Pochises sat down many times with Tigerman and McCurry to hash out the finer details ahead of the 1988 construction. “If I said there won’t be enough light in one room, he’d accommodate,” says Marlene. “Whatever it was, he’d work it out…. I liked his ideas and personality. You meet a lot of architects who design for themselves, not for you. We all worked together. That’s Stanley’s way.”

The “village” moniker comes from the sprawl of the complex: There are no straight lines of travel across the single-story structure; the main living areas serve as the huge central squares; and rooms vary wildly in terms of shape, orientation, and ceiling height. “The kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms are out-croppings at the edge of the village,” reads the description on the Tigerman-McCurry website.

McCurry designed tables of unlikely shapes to fit the rooms, and a series of site-specific rugs compound each room’s angularity. One, in the living room, has what first appears abstract doodling, but is actually a sketch of the house’s layout. “This stays with the house,” says Coldwell Banker listing agent Paula Simon. Two rooms stand out in the tour: the circular dining room and library. The dining room is the house’s main gathering place, with three tables arranged in the room, and towers some 20 feet to a concentric band of skylights. Think of it as the village center. The library is a more compact cylinder, clad in wood. Two of Pochis’s daughters, Nancy Pochis Bank and Cindy Chudacoss, accompanying me on my walkthrough, see a nod to the octagonal drafting room at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio.

The huge kitchen has two window walls, a skylight, and a dense cluster of hanging lamps; the master suite has a ton of closet space, a spa bath, and an alien structure at the foot of the bed that hides a television. Back out in the hallway near the kitchen, an abstract play on a London phone booth is now a powder room with corrugated steel floors. Metal is in heavy use throughout the house.

The 1.6-acre lot also includes a pool and rose garden, and there’s a large patio and two sheds that mimic the main house. It is all part of the original design. Lawn wraps around the house and a crushed stone circle drive leads to the front door and to separate two-car garages. 

Given the huge scale of the place, the eccentric layout, and the bizarre shapes of some of the rooms, don’t expect this property to fly off the market. Yes, it’s designed by a noted architect, but the fact remains that two other Tigerman homes have been for sale in Highland Park for more than a year: the affordable “Animal Crackers”, now selling $499,000 after listing in March of 2014 for $599,000, and a sprawling property near the lake, listed at $2.5 million after starting at $3 million in February 2014. Bottom line: That $2.2 million price tag may eventually drop.

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