Lake County’s Riverwoods is known for dozens of houses designed in the 1950s and ’60s by Edward Humrich. His masterful riffs on Frank Lloyd Wright’s rustic Usonian homes give the bucolic community cachet among fans of midcentury style. Clad in cedar and redwood, these low-slung, many-windowed residences were fashioned to fit the wooded landscape. Tucked away at 1385 Woodland Lane is a house of the same vintage, but a very different profile: a high modernist box that architect Philip Thrane built in the mid-1960s for his family.
Thrane studied with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and his home adeptly expresses the Miesian ethos of simplicity and functionality. The main living areas ride on an open plan, while the living room and dining space are separated by a free-floating wall that stops short of the ceiling. Set on a 1.25-acre wooded lot and put on the market this winter at $999,000, the 2,405-square-foot brick-and-steel house features three bedrooms, a workout room, and three and a half bathrooms.
The current owners made significant upgrades, including installing clean-lined cabinetry and an island covered in a composite stone in the kitchen, in sympathy with Thrane’s aesthetic. They also lightened the color of the dark oak floors and clad the fireplace wall in the living room with soothing, light green tile.
As with Mies’s work, austerity pervades this home. The sealed-tight aspect is alleviated by floor-to-ceiling windows orienting the house to the landscape and offering access to the outdoors. From the living room, one steps out to the lawn, while the kitchen and two of the bedrooms lead to a generous patio. Less isn’t always more, but sometimes next to nothing is all one needs.