A recently sold Lake Forest home

It’s been a rocky road for this 130-year-old charmer, whose exterior is covered with small stones as well as pieces of glass and tile. Greatly expanded over the years, the 9,000-square-foot, 17-room Cotswolds-style cottage probably started out as the coach house for a nearby mansion, which was demolished in the 1970s. Each successive addition continued the pebble-and-beam look, and today the exterior is emblazoned with mosaics of cabbage roses, hummingbirds, and vines.

In 2005, Legacy Custom Homes bought the residence and the 7.1 acres it sat on for $13.25 million. The company intended to build two new mansions on most of the land, which runs east from this house to a bluff above Lake Michigan. (It ended up selling the eastern lots to a single buyer; the sale price cannot be determined from public records.) In 2007, Legacy had nearly completed renovating the house and put it on the market at $7.5 million. Two years later it was bought for $3.46 million.

In November 2011, those buyers listed the house and its two-acre lot at $5.17 million. The estate sold in June for $3.2 million—8 percent less than the 2009 sale price. The sellers’ and buyers’ names are not in public records, and Andrew Mrowec, a member of the Griffith, Grant & Lackie team handling the sale, would not identify them.


Photograph: Dennis Rodkin