When 1780 Shore Acres Drive was built in 1928 for Frederick Hampden Winston and his socialite wife Mayra Breckinridge Winston, the design was inspired by the ambiance of an Italian country house with Mediterranean style influences. Because of the home’s association with Winston, who developed the north area of the Shoreacres Country Club, it has since become a Lake Bluff landmark and is potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Because of this legacy, the investors who began a full rehabilitation of the home in 2017 enlisted the help of interior decorator Lauren Absler of Art & Soul Interiors to preserve the 8,000 square-foot space’s authentic architectural roots. “The house was in terrible condition,” says Absler. “It had been through years of vacancy and neglect, but we saved as many elements from the 1920s as we could.”
To do so, the project became a marriage of modern and vintage. Where that’s most prevalent is in one of Absler’s favorite rooms, the Art Deco-inspired powder room on the first floor with dark wall paint, Hudson Valley lighting, and Brizo fixtures in matte black. “I love to bring historic homes back to their former grandeur and restore them instead of tearing them down,” explains Absler.
1780 overlooks the 10th fairway at Shoreacres Country Club and is situated on 2.67 acres with six bedrooms, four full bathrooms and one half bath, three fireplaces and a three-car garage. Needless to say, the project was a full-time job for Absler in 2017, and she had creative freedom from the investors who own the home to bring it to life. Their one request? Make sure it feels warm. “We pulled out the monastic features that made the house feel cold,” says Absler. “I really wanted to stay true to the style of the house, though, by keeping or recreating the elements that honor the vintage flair in a modern way.”
Absler was able to save many of the homes doors, like its entry and the steel French doors that lead to the expansive outdoor patio, as well as a vintage chandelier light fixture in the foyer. “I went to the mat to save that,” laughs Absler. The stunning carved pediment in the living room had barely survived the passage of time, but Absler worked with a Mexican artisan to bring it back to life. And, of course, it’s a perfect complement to the hand-planed original wood paneling in the dining room, which Absler stripped and stained to make the area both darker and warmer.
“A staging company handled the furnishings, but it would be my dream to contract with a company like Restoration Hardware or Britt Carter to create virtual showrooms,” says Absler. “Imagine the living room with two big, sumptuous leather couches.”
Absler often works with clients of all budgets, finding decor in places like Pier 1 Imports and at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. “People have gorgeous things in their homes but often are unsure how to display them to create atmosphere,” explains Absler. “You can do beautiful things without spending much money at all, and it’s exciting to help someone create a personal sanctuary.”
Absler reveals, “My sanctuary would be the kitchen, the design of which was inspired by the idea of a European winery where guests want to linger. With distressed gray cabinetry, Calacatta marble countertops, a custom stone hood, polished nickel hardware to add glitz and glam and exposed brick, mission accomplished.”
“We thought about doing a white kitchen since that’s so popular right now, but it wasn’t right for the home,” explains Absler. In terms of trends, Absler notes gray tones are still going strong and that we’ll start to see the shade matched with Ultra Violet, Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year. “It might turn into another year for jewel tones,” she says.
Ultimately, 1780 Shore Acres Drive combines old world charm with relevance for today’s lifestyle and reverence for its past.
For more information, please contact Griffith, Grant & Lackie at 847-234-0485 or visit, gglrealty.com. For more information on the interior design, please contact Lauren Absler at 847-287-2444 or [email protected].