Glitz, glamour, and goodwill define the 47th annual Cooks’ Tour.
Beauty and benevolence will yet again be combined during the 47th annual September 25 Cooks’Tour— the sole fundraiser of the Rush Woman’s Auxiliary uniting more than 600 guests each year, over the intrigue of exquisitely designed homes.
After a luncheon at the Winnetka Community House, guests will be dazzled by the homes on display—The Historic Estate, Serene Retreat, Breath of Fresh Air, and finally, Nantucket Charm-owned by Amber and Ommid Farashahi.
While this Winnetka couple worked alongside Builder, Leo Birov of Heritage Luxury Builders, and Designer Dominique Birchmeier, the final creation is a true reflection of their own vision.
Amber put a considerable amount of thought into the design, favoring an open concept floorplan that combines elegance with livability for her two young children. For example, an impressive mudroom on the first floor allows for easy dispersal of kids backpacks, sports gear, and more.
The white, open, and airy kitchen is minimally decorated with House, hints of blues and grays, a custom designed oven hood, and similar lighting fixtures, Amber explains that she considered both style and comfort for the design.
“I would describe my kitchen as bright, comfortable, and luxurious,” Amber says. “We like that we can all sit at the island for an informal meal and that it opens up into our family room. We have other lounging spaces in our home, but somehow, everyone always ends up in the kitchen and family room.”
Around the corner from the kitchen is a stately, elegant, and creatively designed staircase. Amber decided that each riser would be covered in wallpaper with the same hints of blue, white, and grey, providing an endless and natural flow throughout the entire first floor.
“I found a beautiful picture of risers dressed in wallpaper that looked like it belonged in my house. It had the blues we incorporated into our home and a laid back beach feel I just loved. I ordered the wallpaper from Arhaus right then and there.” Amber explains.
Both Ommid and Amber appreciate nature, working collaboratively with Landscaper JP Popiolek of Ruffolo Landscaping. The outdoor space is now just as functional and enjoyable as the indoors.
“Our backyard is one of the main highlights. We created slightly separate outdoor spacing—one for cooking and eating, another for play. We are big music-lovers so we have installed a sound system that allows us to enjoy the songs we love, without blasting the neighbors. This space is truly livable,” Ommid said.
Along with being inspired by the homes on the Cooks’ Tour, guests can relish in the good feeling that comes with knowing all proceeds will benefit the Rush Community Service Initiative Program (RCSIP)—giving students, faculty, residents, and fellows the unique opportunity to make a direct impact in Chicago’s most needy communities.
Co-Chairs Sophia Kondos, Betsy Lewis, and Laura Elsaden, explain why they are proud to host an event that benefits so many. “RCSIP allows medical students to apply their education, talent, and skills to real-life situations in communities where quality medical and preventative services aren’t the norm,” Elsaden explains. “A program like this one teaches medical students about empathy while reinforcing the fact that as doctors, they have the power to make a real difference in the lives of their patients and the communities in which those patients live.”
Funding donated to RC- SIP means that Rush medical students have access to a med- ical mobile van, allowing for treatment for the homeless. Likewise, various health clinics stationed around the city, along with a 20/20 vision care facility, means more access to preventative care for all.
“When we first learned about RCSIP, we were told the startling statistic that the life expectancy of people who simply live five miles outside of the loop is 16-years less than a citizen in a more affluent community; a truly eye-opening fact,” Elsaden shares. “Plain and simple, RCSIP is a program that works. It’s revolutionary and we are honored to support the mission any way we can.”
For Kondos, the most heartwarming aspect of the Cooks’ Tour is the simple fact that families are eager to open their doors for the day.
“Year after year, it brings us such joy that so many families welcome the public without hesitation, simply because they want to support a good cause,” Kondos says “Not only is their graciousness appreciated by visitors and the Board alike, but this event is a good way to showcase the many talents of local builders, designers, and landscapers too.”