Looking for more space and the chance to build a home to their precise needs, a family of six found the perfect opportunity in Glencoe. With primary residents including two adults, four children, two cats and a dog, the home had to meet very specific qualifications. Individual spaces needed to be comfortable and inviting, colors and finishes rich and robust, and fabrics lush yet logical, chosen to withstand the wear and tear of a bustling domicile. “We wanted a house that was a true home, not a museum,” says owner Lynne Wolfberg. “So many homes are lovely but you don’t get a feel for the personality of the people who live there. We like objects that are unique, a bit quirky and try not to take things too seriously.” The result is a warm and welcoming space that blends East Coast design influences with a strong sense of family and adventure.
To bring their ideas to fruition, the owners turned to designers Melissa Lewis and Cari Giannoulias, who infused the space with a balance of materials: woods and industrial pieces to lend a lived-in look; velvets, soft linens and outdoor fabrics for simple elegance and durability; and muted, earthy hues highlighted by pops of color that provide a sense of whimsy. “We work by a model of livable luxury,” says Giannoulias. “We want people to walk into a space and say ‘wow’ but to also feel like they can really live there.”
The designers’ model comes through in the mixture of custom-designed, antique and global pieces peppered throughout the home and also in the logic behind their decisions. “Everything is a war horse,” says Lewis. “The family lives such an active lifestyle, each piece had to look beautiful but also withstand the test of time.”
The Wolfbergs worked with architects Tony Perry and Kent DeReus to create the individual areas that would set the stage for the designers and bestow intimacy to the large abode. “Division of space was crucial to the feel of the home,” DeReus says. “It was equally important to determine the degree of openness between adjacent areas, which became a primary factor in the development of the floor plan.” A smaller, more formal area and dining room, for example, were created for entertaining, while several more spaces, like the expansive living room and kitchen area, were intended as true family living places. The exterior of the home was planned much like the interior, with the idea that it would be used, not simply looked at. And this idea translated to the landscape as well. “My goal was to not just create a usable space, but a place that would be used and enjoyed,” says landscape designer Chris Klier, noting the request was for simple, low-maintenance materials balanced with both color and accessibility.
“This is a very family-friendly house,” says builder Jon Kogan, whose company found the property for the Wolfbergs and then went on to construct the dwelling. He points to elements like the distressed hardwood floors and East Coast stone used on the fireplace, the porch and the home’s exterior as the creating forces for a very welcoming atmosphere. The designers note the flooring did indeed influence their own decisions as it afforded the home an inherent sense of warmth, which they paired with colorful antique carpets and a variety of textures for a result that begs to be touched and truly enjoyed.
The wife says the designers’ “wonderful sense of playfulness translated into a home that is elegant but with a rebel vibe.” One of her personal favorites is the library, which she says came together “in a way I never could have imagined. I love being surrounded by books and the different materials are so diverse yet complement each other so well.” Adds Lewis, “The house was so grand that we just had this amazing canvas. It’s not a precious home where you can’t touch or sit. It’s comfortable and inviting and came together beautifully.”