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List Price: $6.495 million
The Property: On a bitterly cold day, a welcoming home can transport visitors to a better place. At this Lake Forest estate, that place is an idealized version of India in the 1890s. The home’s entire central hallway, about 25 feet long, is papered with a Zuber wallpaper panorama called Hindustan that was installed when the home was owned by the family of William A. P. Pullman, from 1926 to 1992.
Pullman, a grandnephew of the railcar manufacturer George Pullman, was not the home’s first owner, but it’s because of him that the mansion has such grandeur today. When he bought the three-acre estate a few blocks from Lake Michigan, it held two houses—one for a family and one for a bachelor relative. The Pullmans enlisted the manor house architect Stanley Anderson to completely rework the main house and add a wing that connects the second house to it.
As our video shows, Anderson imbued the house with an timeless elegance, from the millwork wainscoting and doorways that frame the Hindustan panorama, through a large living room and several adjacent sunrooms and parlors, and on to a fireplace-warmed dining room and a wood-paneled and –beamed family room that manages to feel cozy despite its 544 square feet of space.
In a home this size—it’s nearly 11,000 square feet—smaller spaces are a relief from the more grandly scaled ones. There are homey nooks, such as the cove window seat on the staircase landing, and the kitchen and breakfast room are relatively intimate in scale—and that’s not a euphemism for being small or dark. They are both well-proportioned spaces that get lots of daylight.
There are seven bedrooms on the second floor, but because of this home’s unusual history, there are actually two separate second floors, one in each of the original houses. One bedroom is in what was the smaller house, next to a big, barn-roofed playroom or exercise room; the others are all in the larger house. Each of those bedrooms has its own bath, some still with their 1920s-style bathtub coves (but with updated plumbing) that echo the cove on the stair landing.
The master suite has two dressing rooms, a bath, a sitting room, and the bedroom, which has a fireplace and a balcony. From the sitting room and the balcony, there is a view out over the rear grounds. (Another giant swath of lawn in front of the house frames a drive that meanders in from a stone entrance gate.) Although the house was renovated in the 1990s, the gardens were kept in their original layout, as plotted in 1937 by the New York and Milwaukee landscape designer Annette Hoyt Flanders. In its winter state, much of the garden is defined by boxwoods—fitting, since the best boxwood for Midwestern gardens is named for Pullman, who founded the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Price Points: The sellers, Kent and Julie Haeger, bought the estate in 2001 for an amount that is not clear in Lake County records. With their children grown, they put the house on the market in early 2011 with an asking price of $6.995 million; in the fall, they cut it by 7 percent to the current asking price.