When Brian Sarver was growing up in Lake Forest, he would pass the English Cotswold-inspired house on south King Muir Road with dreams that he might someday live there. He, his wife Molly, and two daughters—Caitlin and Colleen—now do.
“When this house came on the market a couple of years ago, it was almost as if we were meant to buy it,” says Molly. “We would walk our dog by the house almost every day, visit it with our realtor regularly, until one day it was just time to make it ours.”
The Sarvers’ home will be one of the four striking Lake Forest dwellings featured on the Spirit of 67’s “Opening the Doors to Education” Home Tour on Thursday, May 2. Established in 1985, the Spirit of 67 Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and acquiring resources to provide enriching educational and cultural experiences for the students, parents, faculty, and staff of Lake Forest School District 67 that might not otherwise be provided. Allison Cekay, Megan Medica, and Sally McDonald are co-chairing this year’s event.
The Sarvers’ home is located in what was once called the “Deerpath Hill Estates” community, a development of Stanley Anderson-designed luxury homes, built in the mid-1920s. Henry Turnbull, the first owner of the Sarvers’ house, was the financier of this project. Unfortunately, when the Great Depression hit, only 14 homes had been completed, and the vision Stanley and Henry had for the Deerpath Hill Estates was never fully realized.
Fast-forward 90 years to the vision of Brian and Molly for this historic 7,000-square-foot home that sits on nearly two-and-a-half acres that promise to be lush come spring. Working closely with Melichar Architects and Lynch Construction since they purchased the home in 2011, Brian and Molly have carefully brought their 1920s home into the 21st century using an aesthetic that marries traditional and contemporary furniture, finishes, materials, and fabrics to create classic, timeless design.
“It’s been a huge project,” explains Molly, requiring the family to move out of the home for eight months while some of the biggest renovations took place. Among them, relocating and redesigning the kitchen, refinishing most of the hardwood floors on the first floor that had been hidden under carpet,, and turning a two-story trophy room that previously showcased the prior owner’s hunting prizes (rumor has it that he was a prolific hunter, hitting the big five or more than one occasion)into a more traditional family room with soft hues of blue, a rounded bay window, and a limestone mantel. Additionally, what was once a high ceiling in this trophy room is now Molly’s second-floor dressing room, just off what is now the master bedroom.
Walking through the home, Molly is almost breathless reciting things yet to be done before the guests arrive for the home tour. With swatches for future window treatments draped over chairs and wallpaper samples pinned to freshly painted walls, it’s clear that Molly’s energy for her home’s renovation still runs strong. “It’s a little overwhelming when I think about what we have left to do,” says Molly, glancing over at her daughters eating cookies at one of the two islands in the kitchen, barefoot on a snowy day. (A Sarver family favorite are the radiant-heated floors in the kitchen!) “But I’m so happy to be able to offer my house for the home tour. We’re very lucky to live in a district that supports advancing education through these grants—so much of what we have wouldn’t be possible without the Spirit’s support,” Molly adds.
Tickets for the Spirit of 67 Home Tour may be purchased online at spiritof67foundation.org, or on Thursday, May 2, the day of the Home Tour, at Sunset Foods, 825 S. Waukegan Road in Lake Forest (on the upper level, right of the entrance).
-Ann Marie Scheidler