Did you ever wonder what a Howard Van Doren Shaw house looked like when it was brand new? Ever think about what it must have been like when David Adler put the finishing touches on the Lester Armour house in Lake Bluff and announced, “my work is done … this is ready for occupancy.”
If you’re a fan of our area’s great estates and historic country houses, it is likely that you’ve had such a vision. Those homes are often restored and renovated, but rarely is there an opportunity to live in a brand-new house on one of those East Lake Forest Historic District properties.
After two years of careful planning and research, Patricia Knapp and Lakeshore Development Partners has unveiled the 21st century version of the quintessential Lake Forest country house.
Built on a plot of land adjacent to a historic James Gambel Rogers mansion, the sprawling French Chateau-inspired home at 980 East Illinois Road is filled with luxury finishes and attention paid to every detail.
“When we started the project we wanted to do something that fit the character of the street and East Lake Forest and paid attention to all the architectural details of the area,” explains Knapp, who worked on the project with her father, John Domanus, and architect Scott Streightiff. Lakeshore Development also commissioned an interior architect from Paris (a family friend) with ties to famed design firm, Alberto Pinto, to design the entry door, foyer paneling with concealed closets, and dining room ceiling detail. “We value intricate historic details, but we also focus on the conveniences of today and the way people live,” Knapp adds.
This means that in addition to a stately slate roof and copper finishes, the home is wired with all the high-end mechanicals and energy efficient features that older homes never had. It’s truly the best of both worlds for people who admire the elegance of historic homes but crave the convenience of modern amenities.
“We know these days that people are busy,” explains Knapp. “They don’t want a large piece of land to maintain. People today are trying to simplify their lives, and that’s what this home gives you. You’re in a prime location with a brand new, luxury home that has all the intricate custom details.”
The six-bedroom, six and two half bath home includes cross vault ceilings, a curved staircase, custom millwork and cabinetry, six fireplaces, two laundry facilities, an oversized mudroom and hardwood flooring throughout. The lower level includes a kitchen/bar, wine cellar, and two fireplaces. Outdoor living extensions are perfect for entertaining—a covered loggia, a three-season porch with fireplace, two exterior terraces and a balcony off the master suite.
“We wanted the home to be unique to the Lake Forest community yet sensitive to the historic district so there are nuances. It’s in the French Chateau style, which is something we love to embrace,” adds Knapp, explaining that she studied in France and has an appreciation for all things French. “The location really merited a house of this stature. It’s grand, but I don’t think it’s overdone”
French influences include a bluestone chip forecourt, arched French casement doors, a painted entry door with center knob, an antiqued checkerboard floor in the foyer, and mirrored pocket doors that add an element of glamour.
“There are a lot of touches that builders don’t typically do in a spec home,” Knapp says. “The quality and level of finishes is definitely on a level that you would only see doing a custom build and using a designer.”
Think Ann Sacks tile, Rohl/Perrin Rowe, Kohler, Exquisite Surfaces, Circa Lighting, Katonah Hardware, and vendors of “Merchandise Mart quality.”
Jean Anderson, broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/KoenigRubloff Realty Group in Lake Forest, who is currently representing the home, says the house looks like it has always been there.
“The style of architecture is classic Lake Forest,” she says. “The finishes are extraordinary. Custom millwork throughout, incredible custom cabinetry, and a fully paneled library. This home definitely fits right in to the historic district.”
Knapp, who left her marketing job to start Lakeshore Development Partners with her builder father, says it was a thrill to develop the project and bring such a special property to the Lake Forest market. She has a penchant for interior design while her father has more than 25 years of experience in building luxury homes in the area.
“The timeless design, quality of construction, and attention to detail ensure this home will stand for many generations to come.”
The house at 980 East Illinois Road is currently on the market for $4,999,999. For more information, contact Jean Anderson at 847-460-5412. For new construction or remodeling inquires, contact Patricia Knapp at 773-687-8087.