Year after year, The Winnetka Club HouseWalk — the major fundraiser of the over-a-century-old organization — gives back to its community by celebrating its history and beauty.
Guided by its mission, “Local actions make a difference in our lives and that of our neighbors,” The Winnetka Club, founded in 1908, continues into its second century of shaping the North Shore community with the same dedication to outreach and volunteerism as its first.
The 2017 HouseWalk is pleased to include a house that is new to the fundraiser, but hardly new to the community. This year, homeowners Amy and Ted Zook will open the doors of their Locust Road home, built in 1896, in support of this annual charitable event.
The Zooks have been true explorers of the Windy City and its suburbs throughout their 30-year marriage. Amy, originally from Frankfurt, a south suburb of Chicago, and Ted lived in the city before buying their first home in the western suburbs and eventually settled on the North Shore in 2000. “We’re well-rounded,” Amy offers with a smile.
It wasn’t until 2010 that the couple purchased their current home, a six-bedroom, six-and-one-half bath Hubbard Woods property, for themselves and their three daughters. Once they walked into the space, it immediately felt right.
“Our oldest was getting ready to leave for college, so we wanted to move in and have it feel like a home right away. The decorating process started with her room, so she felt settled.”
But it was long before 2010 that Amy had felt a sense of certainty about the house herself: “I love to be outside and I love gardening. We didn’t live far from here—whenever we would drive down the street, I just always loved this house and its beautiful yard.”
Entering the house, you are first welcomed into a reception hall, instantly struck by the high ceilings and the soft light streaming through the many windows that line the walls. From room to room, gleaming hardwood floors, detailed moldings, and woodwork impress.
As you move into the gourmet kitchen, it is the room’s unique color that catches your eye. Amy and Ted kept the distinctive green kitchen just the way it was when they moved in—and it continues to draw them in: “We have a booth in the kitchen that is probably where we spend the most time. It’s the heart of our home.”
The kitchen opens into the family room with its oak-beamed ceilings and views of the expansive lawn. It is that serene vista that makes it Amy’s favorite room and a gathering spot for the family.
But it is the living room that holds Amy’s most beloved piece: a painting by Chicago artist Matt Almy. The couple commissioned the work, which now resides above the fireplace, a depiction of Moses in battle with the Amalekites. Zook is struck by both its spiritual implication and artistry.
The dining room also features a painting by Almy in a handmade frame by the artist. Flowers by Victor Hlavacek Florist and a tablescape by Peachtree Place add color to the otherwise subdued and quietly sophisticated space.
In order to make this sizeable space function, Amy prefers a “neutral, clean, and uncluttered” look, something comfortable and tailor-made for quiet relaxation and a full family life. She describes the house’s style as “transitional,” saying this works for her and her husband—he is more traditional, while she likes things a little more modern.
Decorator Rita Lashmet helps the two meet in the middle when it comes to style, picking elegant and decidedly non-fussy items for the house.
Rita shares, “I have had the pleasure to work with Amy since her first home in Winnetka.” For the Zooks’ current space, Rita combines the antique rugs, Biedermeier, and Empire antiques mixed with designs from Barbara Barry and Holly Hunt from the Zooks’ previous space with updated fabrics and new upholstered pieces. “We had great fun searching for unique accent tables and French mirrors to showcase the height of the rooms!”
Some of the decorator’s favorite resources include Anna’s in Lake Forest, Antique Resources and Holly Hunt in Chicago, Baker Furniture, Rouzati Rugs in Wilmette, and The Find in Highwood.
Rita echoes her clients sentiments in assessing the look and feel of the house saying, “I think the style can be defined as luxurious yet somewhat minimal.”
And, thankfully, “minimal” can also describe the work they have had to put into the house—it was the previous owners that made many of its greatest changes, including adding the back patio, raising the roof line, and changing the shingle and stucco exterior to a completely stucco façade.
But it was a resident from further down the house’s “family tree” that proved to update the Zooks’ understanding of the house.
“A few years ago, there was a man in town for his 75th birthday and a New Trier reunion. He revealed that he grew up in this home and we invited him for a tour of the property with his family. We always thought our exercise room had been converted from something else, but he said that his mother actually wrote an article for the Winnetka paper that every house should have a gymnasium! Even then, it was an exercise room. “
The Zooks are thrilled to participate in this year’s HouseWalk, Lifestyles of the North Shore, taking place May 17 from 10 am to 3 pm. In addition to the money raised for local scholarships, The Winnetka Club will make a $500 donation to the homeowners’ charity of choice, The Well of Mercy.
“The time is right to open our doors this year and we are so happy to give back to the Winnetka community.”
For more information on The Winnetka Club and this month’s HouseWalk, visit thewinnetkaclub.com