Lake Forest resident Fiona McCarthy recently blended two of her passions—community and home design—in the construction of a modern farmhouse in the shadows of South Park.
“I think there’s a need for a smaller, newer home in this established city,” explains McCarthy. “In this house, people can have something new, but still tap into the rich history that is Lake Forest. And the accessibility to the things that make Lake Forest wonderful—its downtown and the beach—makes this house that much better.”
When designing 700 Greenbriar Road, McCarthy had a clear vision of the families she was building this house for. “This home is very flexible. It can meet the needs of a young family needing space to grow, or it can easily accommodate empty nesters who prefer first-floor living,” she explains.
Working with Timberline Inc. construction, McCarthy carefully wove rustic and modern design influences to create a home like no other in Lake Forest.
Each room features a mix of layered textures. When you walk in the home’s entrance, you are greeted by a generous foyer with 12-foot ceilings and an exposed brick wall.
“Are you wondering where the front hall closets are?” McCarthy asks. “I tucked two deep storage closets into the living room so that no one ever feels closed in when they walk into this house. For me, it’s all about openness and light.”
Carlisle custom hardwood with oak flooring is used throughout the first floor. The living room boasts of a custom limestone fireplace and doors to a bluestone patio, that’s reminiscent of an extremely private outdoor space you might find off of a swanky downtown Chicago condo.
“You can tell I have a thing for fresh air,” McCarthy says, as she opens the nearly floor-to-ceiling doors off of the kitchen on to the patio. “These doors also establish the symmetry of this home’s design that I like so much.”
European influences weigh heavily in this home as seen in the layout of the kitchen and the selection of tiles and fixtures.
The kitchen features a 17-foot island topped by sleep quartz and illuminated by four oversized silver pendant lights. The modern custom cabinets are by Wood-Mode and the gourmet appliances are Miele, Wolf, Bosch, and Thermador. The kitchen pantry, located behind a large barn door, features a quartz stone counter, white oak cabinets and shelving, and a Kohler sink with a Kalista wall mount faucet in a gun metal finish. Gorgeous geometric Italian porcelain tile flooring is repeated in the adjacent full bath and mudroom.
“People often ask me if I grew tired of making all of the selections on the finishes, or drawer pulls, or paint colors,” McCarthy says of her second significant home design project. “But the answer is no. I loved every bit of it. From waking up early and meeting the contractors to going to showrooms and picking out fixtures—it was a wonderful experience overall.”
Not far from the kitchen is the first floor master bedroom with a private dressing room that connects to the “his and her” master bath twin vanities, to private water closets, a double-sided walk-in shower, and a beautiful freestanding bathtub.
The second floor has two symmetrical bedrooms with custom barn doors and custom closets. They share a perfectly appointed bathroom with Italian porcelain tile on the floor, two custom Woodmode vanities with quartz counters, two private water closets, and an incredible walk-in shower.
The finished lower-level provides fabulous additional space and continues the thoughtful level of finish.
“The color palette currently in this house is mostly whites and grays—cooler colors, but when combined I think they feel very cozy and warm,” McCarthy explains.
McCarthy also included an attached, heated two-car garage with keypad entry in her home design, and an extra overhead door set off the back for easy storage of patio furniture. The bonus room above the garage has its own staircase.
The home was constructed to feature today’s technology. It features flush-mount ceiling speakers, wiring for 5.1 channel surround sound, WIFI access points, and TV outlets that are wired for cable TV or satellite and include a network connection.
Oak Tree Barn, as McCarthy affectionately calls the property, was built with natural material including brick and cedar, with a stunning bluestone patio. The property has been landscaped with a keen eye for design, as well as intent to keep maintenance to a minimum.
“I designed this home so its owners can truly enjoy every element of it,” she says, pointing to the old-fashioned school bell that is Oak Tree Barn’s unique doorbell. “That was the first fixture I bought for this house and it set the tone for the rest of this space.”
700 Greenbriar Lane is for sale through Coldwell Banker. To learn more, call Suzanne Connolly Myers at 847-421-4635 or visit oaktreebarn.info.