A French Provincial-Style Hinsdale Home Comes into the Light


Casual Elegance in Hinsdale, Chicago

Classical styling and modern accents make a Hinsdale home both relaxed and sophisticated.

Entry Bench in Front of Wooden Staircase with Artwork

In the entry of a Hinsdale home decorated by interior designer Steve Kadlec, an Estudio Furnishings bench covered in Townsend leather complements the curve in the walnut handrail designed by architect Catherine Osika; to the left is Holly Hunt’s Forsyth table. The rug is from Oscar Isberian Rugs, and the Diane Thodos painting is from Thomas Masters Gallery.

Olive Living Room with Flower Artwork and Fireplace

A Holly Hunt D’Orsay cocktail table is the organizing feature in the living room, where the sofa, wearing Great Plains fabric, is by Estudio Furnishings. The lounge chair and ottoman are by Ironies, and the Janet McGreal painting is from Gruen Galleries.

Bright and Airy Sunroom with Plants, Chandelier and Sofa

A forged-iron chandelier from Casamidy in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is suspended from the sunroom’s white-oak ceiling. Three pairs of striped sheers from Tres Joli Designs provide the backdrop for a Dennis & Leen coffee table from Holly Hunt, Eno skirted lounge chairs from The Bright Group and a Marian Jamieson floor lamp.

Wooden Recreational Room with Pendant, Bar, and Wine Glasses

On the lower level, the rec room features an Andover table from Room & Board and counter-height barstools purchased at Blu Dot. The Endless Straight light fixture is by Roll & Hill in Brooklyn, and the custom-stained white-oak cabinets were designed by Kadlec Architecture + Design and fabricated by Lambright Woodworking in Topeka, Indiana.

Copper Hinted Kitchen with Wooden Concealed Refrigerator

Walnut floors with a clear finish from Biehn’s Floorworks & Design in Bristol, Wisconsin, contrast with the kitchen’s Madre Perla backsplash and countertops from Artistic Tile. The refrigerator is concealed with a stained bird’s-eye maple veneer, and the custom copper-and-polished-nickel stove hood was fabricated by John Durbin of Exclusive Woodworking.

White Hinsdale Kitchen with Living Room View

Osika designed the kitchen’s white painted cabinets, which sport pulls from Katonah Architectural Hardware. The Kallista sink is from Studio41, and the Loewen windows are from Assured Corp.

Rounded Soft Dining Room with Chandelier and White Chairs

The oval-shaped Raleigh Legacy table from Donghia introduces an intentional soft, rounded element in the dining room, where the Lee Industries chairs from Jayson Home follow suit with their curved profiles. The chandelier is by The Urban Electric Co. in North Charleston, South Carolina, and the rug is from Oscar Isberian Rugs.

Neutral Library with Table and Chairs and Glass Doors

The whole family uses the library, where Kadlec refinished a table from the homeowners’ collection and added Lee Industries chairs from Jayson Home; draperies from Tres Joli Designs frame the windows and French doors. The rug is from Stark, and the Kevin Reilly hanging light is from Holly Hunt. Phoenix Day portrait lights from A. Rudin top the painted white-oak cabinets by Exclusive Woodworking.

Map of the World Wallpaper Master Bedroom with Vibrant Throw and Artwork

Wallpaper showing a black-and-white world map from Wallpapered in London makes a statement in a bedroom, where a Missoni Home throw on a Room & Board bed introduces a shot of color. An existing dresser was sanded and repainted. The iron orb chandelier is from RH, and the tailored draperies are from The Shade Store.

Paisley Style Wallpaper Pattern Powder Room with Copper Fixtures and Mirror

The bold pattern of the Phillip Jeffries wallcovering infuses the powder room with whimsy and charm. A Normandy hammered-copper sink stand with a rectangular overmount from Waterworks continues the ambience.

Gray Master Bedroom Chaise Lounge Chair with Dresser

The subtle print on the master bedroom draperies from Tres Joli Designs creates a soothing background for the Anees Upholstery chaise, which is swathed in mohair from Larsen Fabrics. The bureau by Lagomorph Design features Lucite drawer pulls.

Master Bedroom with Gray Overtones, Cozy Fur Throw, Bench, and Lamp

Kadlec upholstered the niche in the master bedroom to create a cozy frame for the custom Estudio bed topped with Muse Bespoke bedding. The viscose rug is from Lucid Collections, the Nessen table lamp is from One Source and the bench is by Oly Studio.

Large Soaking Tub Master Bathroom with Black and White Tile Backsplash

An Ovo tub by Hastings Tile & Bath is the sculptural centerpiece in the master bathroom; a wall of glass mosaic tile from Daltile adds drama. The limestone floor is from The Fine Line, and the goblet table is from Holly Hunt.

From the day they purchased the 1960s builder-grade Tudor plagued by dark rooms caused by tiny windows, a young Hinsdale couple knew a renovation was inevitable—and the sooner the better. But, as often happens, the demands of child rearing and managing careers—she is a doctor, and he works in financial services—stalled their good intentions. Fifteen years and two children later, they decided it was time to see the light and hired architect Catherine Osika and interior designer Steve Kadlec for the job. “The landscape was beautiful, but it was the darkest house I had ever seen,” Osika remembers about her first impression of the structure. Kadlec’s was even more succinct: “It was a nondescript suburban home,” he recalls. 

Not surprisingly, early meetings with the homeowners revealed a desire for rooms flooded with natural light and a flowing open floor plan. “We wanted the first floor to have maximum natural light, no doors between rooms and as few hallways as possible,” the wife says. “We envisioned windows on all four sides of the house and 10-foot ceilings everywhere, including the basement.” 

Because the owners wanted taller ceiling heights on the first floor, it was necessary to raise the second level. This prompted Osika, who had already drawn several remodeling iterations, to turn to builder Kim Eriksen to help determine whether to retool the first floor and foundation or wipe the slate clean with a new build. “Starting over meant we could easily address the existing low basement ceiling heights in lieu of excavating for a deeper basement,” Eriksen says. “It also solved some infrastructure issues and allowed for more design flexibility.” The costs for both options were similar, he concluded, and in the end the team decided to move forward with all-new construction. 

For the new plan, Osika got busy designing a French Provincial-style home. “The owners wanted a traditional envelope that was not overly formal and appeared as if it had been there for a while,” she says. To establish the proper tone for the exterior, she selected the pink common brick that had been used on countless old Chicago buildings. The material is coupled with a gray slate roof reminiscent of older manor houses and a muted-limestone trim, a look the architect describes as “a contemporary interpretation of the heavier detailing often seen on a country French home.” As it happens, this interplay of traditional details with a modern finish emerged as a central theme. 

Kadlec, who is also trained as an architect, collaborated with Osika on several interior details that convey a classic contemporary look. In lieu of a traditional grand staircase in the entry, their 21st-century version combined his open-railing concept with her idea of stacked walnut cubes for risers. When it came to millwork, they agreed on simple moldings that frame the rooms and articulate the drywall, preventing walls from feeling too stark and vast. And noting coffered ceilings tend to make rooms feel smaller, they employed clean-lined recessed trim to delineate spaces without overwhelming them. “The home has the essence of traditional but none of the heaviness,” Osika says. 

In keeping with the established concept, Kadlec sought furnishings and accessories that reference the home’s classical style expressed with contemporary profiles and that provided the peaceful atmosphere the owners desired. A wingback chair in the living room, for example, is rendered in a more contoured shape, and the rounded leather chairs in the adjacent dining room have a Deco flavor. In the master suite, the clean lines of the tightly upholstered linen bed balance the tufted mohair chaise lounge—a nod to the past—and the bathroom chandelier is fashioned from glass teardrops instead of formal crystals. 

Responding to the noticeable lack of wall space for artwork because of the plethora of windows, Kadlec relied on window coverings to create visual focal points. “Although all the spaces open to each other, a variety of drapery types adds warmth and further delineates the spaces,” the designer explains. In the living room, linen draperies with a metallic thread reference the kitchen’s striking copper hood. The same warm tone repeats on the floral pattern of the draperies in the dining room, while pale blue and cream stripes accent the expanses of glass in the sunroom. 

Paramount to the success of the project was integrating the architecture with its heavily wooded surroundings and rolling-hill locale. “We conceptualized a brick wall to form a terrace off the library on the front side of the house and placed a mixture of evergreens along the property line so the owners could enjoy privacy while sitting outside,” says landscape architect Bob Hursthouse. Those trees also greatly improved the view from the interiors, the husband explains: “Because we are on a hill, our first floor is at the same level as our neighbor’s second floor. But when we look out, all we see is greenery from every room.” 

Come nightfall, the owners enjoy lighting the 8-foot-long bluestone backside fire pit, no matter the season: On summer evenings, friends and family gather on the cushioned benches that surround it, while in winter the couple enjoy watching the ames flicker from the dining room during dinner and from the sunroom with cocktails. It’s a symbolic example of the sense of warmth and well-being the family enjoys in their new home. “We had design principles,” the wife says, “but it was our design team that took what was in our hearts and minds and made it come to life.” 

Mindy Pantiel