LAKE FOREST — Imagine a Lake Forest estate decorated by noted designers who are given the freedom to demonstrate a home of the near future.
The biennial Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens will provide a preview of such a home April 29 to May 21.
This year’s featured home was designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw on two acres in east Lake Forest in 1924, according to Katie Ford, who is co-chairing the event with Elizabeth Nemickas and Sara Pickus, all from Lake Forest, and Sue Slaughter from Lake Bluff.
The home will be decorated with furniture and accessories from table settings to lamps and artwork. Nemickas said the professionals creating the show house are free to use their creativity to put together a dream house with only a few restrictions. It will likely offer a glimpse of future trends.
“Some of the designs in past show houses have become current trends, and what you see now may become future trends,” said Nemickas. “In this house, visitors will see high gloss, lacquered paints and textiles on the walls. There will be rich colors and textures.”
Along with viewing possible future trends, Nemickas said, people who tour the home will be able to get furnishing ideas of their own. They could see something they want to copy or do a variation on a theme.
“You could see the unexpected and it will open your eye to something you would view as possible,” said Nemickas. “Come see the house and let your imagination make it your own space.”
In the past, between 6,000 and 10,000 people have toured the designated house during the weeks of the event.
Nemickas described this year’s design as a “sophisticated casual feeling.”
“It’s not formal, but has dressy elements mixed with a comfortable feel,” said Nemickas. “It won’t be a traditional formal house. It will be a place where kids can play with their toys.”
The cost of tickets is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Proceeds benefit the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. Founded in 1908, the Infant Welfare Society initially worked to reduce the infant mortality rate in the Chicago area by providing healthy milk for babies, according to its website. Nemickas said today its clinic provides health services to underserved children and their parents. Fathers were added this year.
“The health of fathers is important to the well being of their children,” said Nemickas. The organization operates a clinic for family health on Chicago’s North Side.
Along with visiting the house, participants may walk the gardens designed by Craig Bergmann Landscape Design, Scott Byron & Co., Rocco Fiore & Sons, and Mariani Landscape. There also will be a boutique in the garage selling furniture and many home accessories. “Much of the inventory will be provided by Anna’s Mostly Mahogany,” said Ford.
A portion of sales from the boutique as well as Craig Bergmann’s garden market will go to the clinic.
A special feature of the more than four-week event is a talk by Mark D. Sikes at 1 p.m. April 30. The author of Beautiful: All American Decorating and Timeless Style, Sikes is the honorary Showhouse chair. The cost of the lecture is $135, and includes a copy of the book.
Shuttle buses will take viewers to the house. Tours take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends. During the week, participants may park at Christ Church at Waukegan Road and Highway 60, taking shuttle busses to the home. On the weekends, transportation is provided from the downtown Lake Forest train station.
Click here for more details about the event including ticket sales.