When a historic home is infused with modern conventions in the heart of Kenilworth, there are no words to describe it.
But there may be music.
Known by its neighbors as the “wedding cake house” because of the beautiful plaster details on its dormers, this lovely home in one of the North Shore’s poshest suburbs was built in 1889 for a founding member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And today, it’s been lovingly restored for modern family life.
“This home is truly remarkable,” says Dave Chung, the Compass listing agent for 337 Melrose that went on the market earlier this year. “This is a historical house where you really don’t know what’s old or what’s new. Even at 8,000-square-feet, this is an incredibly comfortable and livable space. It’s very warm and homey—you know that a family actually lives here. It’s hard to find an older home in this pristine condition where the next family could just move in and not have to do anything to feel at home.”
This particular house is rumored to have been one of the first 10 homes built in Kenilworth and the current owners are only the sixth family to have lived here in 130 years.
The minute you walk through the front door, you know you’re somewhere special. With a gracious foyer and soaring ceilings, a gorgeous paneled fireplace greets you.
“They don’t build homes like this anymore,” explains Chung. “Even in new construction, you won’t see this much space dedicated to a front hall. It was clearly designed for a family that did entertaining on a grand scale.”
The foyer opens to an expansive floor plan that is perfect for the family that loves to host. The current family mindfully separated the formal living spaces from where it spends their time day to day. Once three separate rooms, the kitchen is now a wide-open space outfitted with a tin ceiling, custom cabinetry, marble countertops, and a generous eat-in area. A relaxed family room is immediately adjacent.
“This is one of the family’s favorite parts of the house,” says Chung. “When it’s warm outside, the doors from the family room open to the veranda and provide additional space for entertaining or just another way to enjoy this home with views of their beautiful landscape.”
The living and dining rooms are flooded with natural light and maintained their coved ceilings even after the first floor was significantly renovated.
“The coved ceilings were intentionally designed for the first homeowners to create perfect acoustics for the musicians they hosted,” Chung says. “The current homeowners were interested in preserving some of the home’s history by maintaining elements like this. Another example is when it came time to replace the hardware on the doors, they discovered that some of the hinges were original to the home. With some research and a talented craftsman, they were able to replicate them and have them installed throughout.”
The second-floor master suite has a lovely five-piece marble bath and walk-in closet with custom cabinetry. Three additional large bedrooms each with their own ensuite bath complete the second floor. The third floor has two additional bedrooms, a fantastic full bath, laundry room, and a gym or seventh bedroom.
As if the rest of the home isn’t enough to have you swoon, the lower level will win you over for sure. With a large playroom with endless built-ins, a bar that would make Ralph Lauren or the Deer Path Inn envious, and an incredible media room—this is truly where the family lives.
“The lower level is totally unexpected because the same attention to detail that was paid upstairs was carried through down here, as well,” Chung says. “Even the media room, which is typically an uninspired space in a house, was designed to be inviting and comfortable for all members of the family.”
For more information, visit 337melrose.com.