Originally from River Forest, Beth Wood was living in San Francisco during the tech boom of the late 1990s when her sister introduced her to Bill Cadigan. Though she was already itching to return to the Midwest, it was romance that tipped the scales in Windy City’s favor—Bill happened to live in Chicago.
She moved back and the couple married and moved in together, settling into Little Italy in Chicago’s near west side, where they remained for several years. While they loved city life, after a year of living with a baby in a small 2-bedroom condo, Beth began exploring other options: “It was a snowy Sunday in 2008 when we drove out to see the house. When we turned onto the street, we were both instantly struck by its charm,” she shares.
While the quaint street and location just half-a-block from the lake sealed the deal, they discovered one more compelling detail prior to the sale: the previous owner? None other than a former Chicago Cub! “We occasionally still get mail from his fans. We pass these letters along to him, and he always responds with the kindest notes—and even signed balls for our son. Everyone on the street says he was a great neighbor.”
There is no doubt he would appreciate the “man cave” in the basement shared by Bill and the couple’s son Billy, who is now 10: the comfortable rec room is covered in posters featuring their favorite Cubbies. The room is also home to Bill’s favorite leather club chair: “He’s had it since before we met,” Beth laughs.
Though the basement is the boys’ domain, the remainder of the “cottage-y” 1920s home, which is a charming intersection of Tudor and Georgian styles, is all carefully designed by Beth. What was always a hobby for the busy mom, who has worked for the past 17 years as an account executive at a payments technology firm, became a passion project.
But she had a helping hand in turning her ideas into reality. Beth’s aunt, Kathy Hanley of Lake Interiors, based in Lakeside, Michigan, executed her niece’s vision into actual fabrics, furniture, and trimming. In the 1980s Hanley, with a group of partners, opened Vintage Pine, the much-beloved furniture and antiques store in Chicago. “I worked there on the weekends after college. This was my first introduction to professional design,” Beth shares.
“I take an inspiration point and work around that,” she explains. “I found a dress for my niece years ago that was gray flannel with a brown velvet sash. That provided a jumping point for the color scheme for the family room.”
This is a homeowner with an eye for detail and a passion for the hunt. “I fell in love with a pair of lamps I saw in a magazine, trying to find out who made them. Years later, I found them on First Dibs—I designed an entire bedroom around them.”
Every room is dotted with these decidedly vintage details. “I have such an appreciation for all the little things—that’s what gives a home personality.” This includes midcentury pieces from Donald Stuart Antiques in Winnetka (“About 90 percent of my house is from Donald Stuart!”), blue and white porcelain from Pagoda Red in Chicago, English antiques found at Winnetka’s Rare Finds, midcentury modern accents from Chicago’s Redefined Décor, and cranberry glass she inherited from her late aunt, Mary. Other favorite sources: Wilmette’s Heritage Trail Mall, estate sales, and Lake Forest’s Antiques & Treasures in the field.
Color also abounds in this joyful space, so beautifully captured in these images taken by Beth’s sister, photographer Regan Wood. “Color makes me happy and makes a statement—I’ve always gravitated towards it,” Beth explains. “Those are the interiors that jump out at me. Take Miles Redd designs—they’re eye candy to me, all the color and detail—or Tory Burch’s interiors, designed by Daniel Romualdez. And I love Alessandra Branca and her use of reds and greens.”
This inspiration can be seen throughout the house, but especially visible in Beth’s favorite room, her office. In it you’ll find a Tiffany blue velvet couch, an Easter egg striped carpet, Slim Aarons photographs, lavender velvet stools, ivory grasscloth on the walls, and an orange Chinoiserie coffee table. “I spend so much time in there, I wanted it to be bright and cheerful.”
She adds, “I love making things come to life.”
To learn more about Lake Interiors, visit lakeinteriorsinc.com. To learn more about Regan Wood Photography, visit reganwood.com.