Walk through the Arts and Crafts-style mansion with Dennis. Click here for a larger version.
List Price: $2.45 million
The Property: Prominent on its hilltop site and looking like a hen among chicks, this Arts and Crafts–style mansion is surrounded by the ranch houses and other smaller homes that now occupy all but two acres of its original 300 acres of grounds. Formerly known as Warwood Farm, this Glen Ellyn property was the next-door neighbor of Thornhill, the 1,700-acre estate of Joy Morton that later became the Morton Arboretum. Warwood’s 16-room, twin-peaked house was built in the 1910s for W. A. Rogers, a top executive at Chicago Bridge & Iron Works (now CB&I)—which may explain the house’s many copper accents, including an enormous two-story window bay on the rear, balcony flooring and balustrades, and rain gutters so big you could almost bathe in them.
The most striking of the many distinctive details on the interior is a collection of flower and animal forms raised out of the stucco in the dining room walls and ceilings. They are astonishing (although hard to capture in the video tour or my still photos because they are white on white). Like many other features of the home, they are in mint condition, thanks to the care that the sellers, Louis and Nancy Holland, have lavished on the house in the 25 years they have lived there. (Louis is a Chicago-based investment expert and the now-retired founding partner of Holland Capital.)
The Hollands have maintained the art-glass interior doors, endless stretches of wood and stucco, and other details, while upgrading the bathrooms and surrounding the house with exquisite gardens designed by Tony Tyznik, the former landscape architect of the Morton Arboretum. Their respect for the house’s character is evident in, for example, the new terrace out back. Wide and curvaceous, the way we like our patios today, this one was made of bluestone. “We wanted to echo the patina of the copper,” Nancy Holland says.
Except for an out-of-character white kitchen done in the 1980s (and ready to be replaced by the next owner), the house feels like a textbook example of good Arts and Crafts design, from the quarry tile floors on its main level, through the broad, fluid staircase, and on up to the expertly maintained clay tiles on its enormous roof. But the house also has important updates, such as air conditioning and a top-floor suite that puts playrooms and other family spaces where servants would have slept.
When the Hollands bought the house in 1983, they paid in the high $300,000s, says Nancy. At the time, the grounds were overgrown with high shrubbery that made it look like a haunted house, she recalls. With their three kids grown, the couple is now looking to downsize.
Price Points: Although they installed air conditioning and upgraded other utility systems at considerable expense, the Hollands stuck with radiator heat. The decision was prescient. “I have neighbors whose homes are half this size but they have higher heat bills than we do,” Nancy Holland says.
Listing Agent: Maureen Rooney, Coldwell Banker, 630-917-5708