List Price: $8.499 million
The Property: A grand estate built in 1911 but allowed to run down in later years, this stately brick mansion has been brought back to its exquisite origins—but with modern conveniences—by John Krasnodebski and Kris Boyaris, the husband and wife team who run Lake Forest Landmark Development.
Set on 2.4 acres on Green Bay Road, the house was the design of the architecture firm Schmidt, Garden and Martin, with landscaping by the great Jens Jensen. In the video, Krasnodebski says that the interior of the home wasn’t nearly as grand as the exterior; in fact, he says, it was downright modest, with little of the rich millwork and plaster work that was typical of its peers. So in the restoration, along with replacing a badly damaged roof, eliminating the effects of basement flooding, and repairing other signs of age, the couple trimmed the main rooms at a level that’s more in tune with the scale of the house.
“It used to be a very dark house,” Krasnodebski says. “We brought more light in wherever we could.” That included punching out a main wood panel of the hefty front door and replacing it with leaded glass. Here and there are remnants of the original interior, such as the plaster ceiling in the foyer and the glass light sconces on the dining room walls. They are side-by-side with new amenities, such as a large, sunny kitchen and family room situated partly in old servants rooms and partly in an addition. The broad, somewhat imposing rear façade of the house originally had just a few sets of French doors leading to the vast back yard and smallish windows where the servants’ spaces were. Now, French doors open in six points along the façade—greatly improving the sight of the house from out near the wooded edge of the property.
The house has 18 rooms, seven of them bedrooms. At the north end of the second floor the master is very nice, with large bathing and dressing areas and a “secret” room (concealed behind mirrored closet doors) that would work as an exercise space, office, or grownup getaway. But the bedroom at the south end of that floor is my pick: while smaller in scale, it opens onto a large terrace that looks into the woods and gardens of the estate.
Krasnodebski and Boyaris suggest that the estate’s two-story gardener’s cottage would make a picturesque pool house if a buyer opted to put a swimming pool in the sunken northern section of the garden; situated there, a pool wouldn’t intrude on the genial relationship between indoors and out established by all those French doors—as well as by the formal front court and by the covered patio on the mansion’s south end. A bluestone terrace and formal plantings lie immediately behind the house, but beyond them is the sweep of lawn that runs down to trees and a monumental boulder that the developers believe Jensen might have put on that very spot.
Price Points: Lake Forest Landmark development bought the property in 2006, for an amount that is not clear in Lake County records, and in early 2010 completed the full-scale renovation. The asking price has not changed since the house went on the market.
Listing Agent: Lori Baker of Coldwell Banker; 847-863-1791 or firstname.lastname@example.org