List Price: $6.255 million
Sale Price: $5.55 million
The Property: Set apart from its Lake Forest neighbors by a private wooden bridge, this 19-room mansion sits on two and a half acres alongside a sylvan ravine. The house sold in November after its owners, Joseph and Sarah Tripodi, dropped their asking price by ten percent as part of Coldwell Banker’s nationwide sales-stimulus event.

Built in 1909 by Pond & Pond for the Lake Forest College alums Arthur and Anna Wheeler—Arthur started the Chicago Telephone Company, which later became part of AT&T—the house was originally known as Thalfried (“peaceful valley” in German). After moving from New York (when Joseph became the chief marketing officer at the Northbrook-based Allstate), the Tripodis bought the place in February 2004, paying $3.95 million. They conducted extensive renovations, which included installing a new kitchen, converting a porch into a breakfast room, adding a second family room and walnut-paneled library on the second floor, and turning an old coach house into a guest apartment with a full kitchen.

“The attention to historical detail and the quality of the design make it all feel authentic and original,” says Jean Royster, who was the Tripodis agent when they bought the house in 2004 and again when they sold it this year. Royster would not say how much her clients spent on renovations, but the lengthy list she rattled off suggests it was in the $2-million range. For their effort, the Tripodis received an award from the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation in July.

That same month, the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company announced that it had hired Joseph Tripodi as its chief marketing officer, a job he started in September. The couple listed the house for sale, asking $7.45 million; they later cut the price twice, and in early November, they had a contract to sell. The deal closed November 21st. Joseph Tripodi declined to comment on the sale.

While my pictures, taken from the street, couldn’t capture the house behind its dense screen of trees, photos in the agents’ listing sheet show a broad, half-timbered country home with a pair of gables and numerous windows. The lot itself has the look of a rural country estate, even though it’s just three blocks from the center of Lake Forest. “It’s a magical setting,” Royster says.

Price Points: After listing the house for sale at $7.45 million, the Tripodis cut their price to $6.95 million. Then, when Coldwell Banker announced its ten-day, ten-percent-off sales event, they dropped it to $6.25 million. That’s when some potential buyers who had seen the house earlier put in a call. “They didn’t need to see it again,” says Royster. “They wanted to present an offer.” The names of the buyers could not be determined from public records of the sale.

Listing Agents: Jean Royster and Ann Lyon of Coldwell Banker, 847-234-8000