A library is at the center of John Hughes’s teen classic The Breakfast Club. A library was also the heart of the filmmaker’s mansion in Lake Forest. “It was a very special place for John and me,” says Nancy Hughes, who moved out of the house after her husband’s death in 2009. “He did all of his writing in the library.” In the striking room, with its walnut and iron lanterns, monumental fireplace, and three walls of leaded windows, Hughes penned the screenplays for Home Alone 2, Beethoven, and Dennis the Menace. (Picasso had his Blue Period. Hughes had Kids and Dogs.)
Despite that legacy, the 11,255-square-foot house sat on the market for three and a half years. It got a fresh start in April, though, when it was relisted after a seven-month break and an ultracustom renovation involving 27 local designers, including interior decorators Alessandra Branca and Christopher Peacock and kitchen designer Michael Del Piero. The Ally Sheedy–worthy makeover happened as part of the 16th biennial Lake Forest Showhouse and Gardens this spring. The sprawling six-bedroom Tudor by Edwin Hill Clark, who also designed Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos, got a half-million-dollar price bump to match; it now lists for $4.8 million.
Though the furnishings supplied for the event have been removed from the house, an estimated $1 million worth of new fixtures and finishes are staying put. The kitchen upgrades alone, which include wide-plank floors made of wood reclaimed from a Connecticut farmhouse, cost about $500,000. Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, to which Nancy Hughes donated the house in October 2014, underwrote the project.
Three room redos in the Hughes house by three local designers