In the world of famous North Shore architects, the name Ernest A. Mayo is often spoken in the same breath as David Adler, Howard Van Doren Shaw, George Maher, and even Frank Lloyd Wright. Not only was the Britain-born legend a resident of Evanston until his death in 1946, he designed more than 30 homes here and helped renovate at least five others.
One of those landmark properties, a 1913 Cotswold-inspired home with a quintessential English garden, is on the market for $1,999,995 with renovations that bring the manor-style property fully into the 21st century.
“The design is timeless,” says Amy Knepper on a recent tour of the six-bedroom house and gardens, located on Sheridan Road about a block from Lake Michigan. “It’s classic to the period, but with some modern twists.”
The graciously-appointed “country house” in Evanston’s Lakeshore Historic District boasts floor-to-ceiling arched windows, a majestic fireplace in a salon-like living room, and elaborate crown molding. But this isn’t your typical historic home. While great lengths have been taken to preserve the original architectural details and Mayo’s iconic English country “bones,” the property has a fresh, updated feel.
The kitchen was substantially renovated in 2006 with the addition of an entire wall paved in “Chicago brick.” Designed to blend with the hearth of a cook’s station, the open concept gourmet wonderland includes Subzero refrigerators, a Thermador six-burner professional range, sleek granite work surfaces, a tumbled marble backsplash, and limestone flooring with radiant heat.
That renovation also included an overhaul of electrical wiring and plumbing throughout, the addition of wireless in-ceiling speakers in multiple rooms, and a makeover of the sunroom that included new slate flooring and built-ins that functioned as “study carrels.” Subsequent projects have ranged from a new cedar shingle roof and new copper gutters to fresh exterior painting, new furnace and AC units, and a remodel of multiple bathrooms.
The home is large and flexible enough to work for a variety of living situations, from an empty nester couple to a multigenerational family.
“It has the sophistication of a historic home, but it’s also comfortable and casual,” Knepper adds, noting the recently remodeled “Greg Brady” basement, a lower-level living space with a rubber-floored exercise room, media room, wet bar, and separate entrance out to the driveway. “It’s elegant, but livable.”
One of the most stunning features of the property isn’t inside the house at all. It’s outside in the elaborate gardens, restored in 2014 by award-winning Evanston landscape artists Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp.
Enhancements Mayo could never have dreamed of include a food prep station with beverage cooler, a programmed in-ground irrigation system, and a gas fire pit ring. And yet, these modern amenities are subtle in a garden that is just as evocative of the English countryside as ever, with a host of mature perennials, an expansive organic vegetable garden, vine-entwined pergola, and a new terrace hardscaped in bluestone with flagstone walls. Designed in a series of open-air rooms, the outdoor oasis can be enjoyed from spring through fall.
But the best view of the gardens—and of the historic neighborhood that Mayo and so many others fell in love with a century ago—is from a secret nook high above it all. The roof top deck, outfitted with a wood floor and views that change through the seasons, is accessible just off the master retreat.
“Everything about this property feels like a mini-estate,” Knepper says. “This is very rare find in Evanston.”
This 6 bedroom, 4.5 bath home is currently offered at $1,999,995. For details, visit 1030sheridanroad.info.