If you pine for the charm of a historical home but covet all of the amenities of new construction, this recently completed 4,500 square-foot home at 637 S. Grove Avenue in the village is a dream-come- true.
In fact, it’s been a labor of love for Mark Corn- well—co-owner and partner with Ron Arder of Grand Traditions Fine Homes—that he will find hard to part with when some lucky family makes it their forever home.
“We were drawn to the property, with its privacy, nearly 300-foot deep lot, and desirable location to downtown,” Corn- well says as he gives us a tour of the home, which was originally built in the 1920s. “And I appreciated the style of the home and had a vision of what it could be—an English Arts & Crafts style home with a transitional modern twist.”
That vision is realized in the careful attention to detail throughout the construction and design; the creative maximization of space and light; and the sourcing of unique materials and finishes (many from Europe), including some reclaimed materials to help preserve historic charm.
Cornwell was also inspired from recent travels with his family abroad. He was particularly impressed by the design details and aesthetics of Florence, Paris, and Versailles. While navigating the restrictions of redeveloping an old home within the Historic Preservation Overlay
District (Barrington’s historic neighborhoods) may have challenged some, Grand Traditions embraced the task. The result is a home that preserves the physical aesthetics of the original portion of the home in terms of architectural design, setting, materials, workman- ship, and character.
And it’s got plenty of new home “wow” factor. In the original, front portion of the home, Grand Traditions recreated a front porch—a veranda reminiscent of the period—that spans the front of the home, inviting lounging on a hot summer day.
Inside, the original living room has been reimagined as a parlor or home study with built-in shelving. The reclaimed white oak flooring was laid in a Versailles style pattern that really sets the tone in this room. It’s quite beautiful. The parlor leads to an adjacent dining and wine room that flows seamlessly through to the butler’s pantry and onto the kitchen and great room at the back of the house.
At the center of the home, which adjoins the old portion with the new portion, Grand Traditions’ vision really took shape—a soaring glass stair vestibule with exposed rafters and grand scale windows and doors that bring in the southern exposures of natural light. This is where the stairs, made of thick slabs of oak and delicate iron railings, rise to the second floor where a “catwalk” seemingly suspended in air leads to bed- rooms both at the front and the back of the home.
Wherever possible, Grand Traditions preserved some of the original home, such as with the original wood double-hung windows in the front bedrooms. Or, he found replicas of fixtures like the English doorbell and front door brass rim lock hardware. But, even in the 1920s portion of the basement, Grand Traditions has upgraded to the latest mechanicals and audio/video equipment.
What stands out most, when walking through the home, is the attention to detail in every aspect, from the unique, carefully sourced materials to the im- ported fixtures and finishes and the custom cabinetry. Cornwell sought out innovative design inspiration and products to give the entire home a very special and one-of-a-kind custom feeling: a true limewash on the exposed beams; hand finished black marble fireplace surround; inlaid brass tile in the powder room floor; blue stone slabs leading into the home; outdoor fire- place with option for reflecting pool.
You really do have to see this home to appreciate it, and that’s what Grand Traditions invites prospective buyers to do.
637 S. Grove Avenue in Barrington is currently listed at $1,950,000. For more information, call Grand Tradi- tions at 847-304-4900 or visit grandtradtionhomes.com