A Touch of European Tradition


Brick Beauty in Chicago

A design team creates an elegant Hinsdale residence grounded in the style of a European Country Home.

Brick Exterior Making a Grand Statement

This elegant Hinsdale home includes a garage on each side and is accessed via a central courtyard. Exterior detailing includes exposed brick, limestone accents, painted shutters and fantail hip roofs. A sweep of green lawn punctuates the architecture, while creeping ivy makes a grand statement.

Swinging Entryway with Chandeliers

An elegant entry foyer greets guests with a neutral palette, giant slabs of creamy stone flooring, horizontal wood paneling and a graceful staircase with a custom-designed X-shaped baluster inset, a nod to the initial of the wife’s maiden name. From there, a white-on-white gallery-like space connecting the home’s two wings leads to primary living and entertaining areas.

The light and bright entry foyer and connecting gallery-like space feature
Paris Ceramics stone flooring and a series of custom-designed Ironware International Andie lanterns from Holly Hunt. The wallcovering at the end of the far hall—custom textured-linen paper designed by Trove Wallpaper—was also purchased through Holly Hunt.

Seating Area with Lots of Shelving and a Fireplace

Within the home’s stately walls—finished with reclaimed Chicago common brick and topped with slate fantail hip roofs—the interior walks the line between traditional and modern. “The main theme is a mix of rustic and old with modern and contemporary, a combination of catalogued thoughts, details and images,” Burridge says. “It’s a clean, edited space that still has warmth to it and doesn’t feel too austere.” 

A seating area off the kitchen boasts a fireplace with a cantilevered hearth by
Pursley Dixon Architecture and Dave Knecht Homes. It is flanked by custom shelving and offset with New Zealand artist Sally Burton’s Nine Bowls painting. Vintage chairs and a glass-topped tree trunk table are from the owners’ collection; the limestone flooring is by Paris Ceramics.

Great Room for Living and Entertaining with Fireplace and Chandelier

On the main floor, an ample great room with reclaimed Belgian white-oak floors features an ecru sectional paired with a walnut-and-bronze coffee table. Large wooden ceiling beams, reclaimed from a barn in West Virginia, provide the sense of warmth and approachability the husband desired. 

The great room functions as both a living area and an entertaining space. Here, a white linen-cotton-and- viscose
Minotti sectional is complemented by George V linen-and-alpaca chairs from Holly Hunt and a custom walnut-and-bronze coffee table by Aaron Bladon. The limestone-and-bronze hearth was designed by Pursley Dixon Architecture, and the hanging hand-forged and carved-wood light fixture is by Dessin Fournir.

Open Kitchen as a Focal Point with Coffered Scalloped Ceilings

This feeling of comfort continues in the kitchen, where the concept of selective reveals is also furthered. “It’s a trend in new construction to elevate the expected aesthetics of a kitchen, like a waterfall island, and tuck away the workhorse elements, such as ovens and warming drawers,” consulting kitchen designer Laura O’Brien of O’Brien Harris says of the idea behind the design. “It balances the structure of the space.” 

The home’s open kitchen is a focal point, designed by
O’Brien Harris with ample space for prep work and cooking as well as for guests to gather and converse. The coffered plaster ceiling, with reclaimed white-oak beams, was inspired by an image of a home in Norway. The walnut-and-polished-nickel barstools are by Bernhardt, and the custom slab maple breakfast table is by Aaron Bladon.

Three Season Sunroom with Country Feel

A three-season sun room features windows inset with retractable screens. Designer Andrea Burridge conceived the bench-height sofa to serve as seating for a custom Aaron Bladon table that expands and rises to dining height. The designer also incorporated leather-and-blackened-steel Lincoln lounge chairs by Miles & May Furniture Works in Geneva, New York.

Elegant Exterior of a Brick Beauty

The elegant exterior of the home was inspired by the courtyards of English and French country homes. A custom water feature, creeping ivy, pathways and exposed brick all add to the European flair.

Full Display European Influenced Master Bathroom

European influences are also on full display in the master bathroom with a plaster hipped-groin ceiling and a Palladian window covered with a hand-embroidered linen Roman shade designed by Holland & Sherry. Victoria + Albert’s Ravello tub sits beneath a bubble pendant by Pelle and atop mosaic flooring by Artistic Tile.

Serene Blue Master Bedroom with Art and Chandelier

The serene master bedroom features a custom bed upholstered in Great Plains fabric by Holly Hunt and a headboard designed by Burridge, paired with an antique bench with Osborne and Little fabric and Baker night tables by Barbara Barry. The chandelier is by Ironware International, and the wall upholstery is by Dedar.

Ample Yard With Gate, Hedges, and Trees

One challenge was nestling the new house into its more established surroundings. Principal landscape architect Craig Bergmann and project architect Erin Marie Herrera created a modern design that nods to the history of the area. “The owners wanted a current garden, nothing old-fashioned,” Bergmann explains. “We protected existing mature blue spruce to match the scale of the new house, hedged in spaces that were more exposed to the street and added English ivy to exterior walls. It was based on traditional gardening principles but more out of the modern garden box.” 

The ample yard includes a grouping of cushioned chairs and ottomans from
RH, custom-painted by Burridge. Craig Bergmann Landscape Design completed the picture, installing expanses of lawn, row hedges and flowering planters.

Having a clear design vision doesn’t always come easily, but one Chicago couple knew exactly what they wanted when they decided to build a new home in historic Hinsdale, with years of travel and more than a passing interest in architecture and interiors informing the overall concept. “The project was inspired by a love of English and French country homes, with deep courtyards to bring in light and act as additional rooms,” says Andrea Burridge, who led the interior design aspect of the project. “The thought was, ‘Let’s try to do a house like that here, without having it look pretentious and like a fortress.’ ” 

The couple’s first step was to do some serious research, poring over design and architectural blogs—which is how they discovered architect Ken Pursley. “Ken’s name kept popping up,” the wife recalls. “I went to his website and fell even more in love with his work. Then, I called him out of the blue.” 

Soon afterward, Pursley, whose firm is based in North Carolina, flew up for a consult. The homeowners had provided him with a rudimentary floor plan, a plethora of images and tear sheets they had collected throughout the years and even photos they had taken of a particular Lake Forest home. In response, Pursley, along with project manager Mark Kline, created an elevation drawing based on their inspirations. “Ken really envisioned the concept,” Burridge says. “He even figured out who the architect of the Lake Forest home was and when it was built. He’s one of the best architects out there right now, but it doesn’t get in the way of his listening to an owner.” 

In this case, Pursley recalls his clients having differing visions. “In his mind, the husband wanted a traditional family home—comfortable and approachable,” he says. “But, the wife wanted a little bit of an edge to it. The trick was trying to find that line of making the house look traditional and grounded and like it fit into the neighborhood yet also have a little bit of seductiveness and intrigue.” 

The solution was designing a layout that had an element of surprise, playing up what was visible from the outset to create private areas. “The planning was so different from most houses,” Pursley says. “By placing the garage structures in the front, it allowed those more modest elements to mask the main house and courtyard beyond.” As a result, the home doesn’t reveal everything from the street; rather, its compelling layout unfolds after stepping inside. 

Private areas, including the master suite and the husband’s study, are situated on the main level as well, while four bedrooms upstairs and one in the basement accommodate guests, including two of the couple’s grown children. “The upstairs can be completely closed up when we’re here by ourselves,” the wife says. 

Executing the significant detailing throughout the project was no small task. “The architecture was very complex, detailed and authentic,” says general contractor Dave Knecht, who worked on the home with project manager Mike Zalud. “We meticulously handpicked our subcontractors to create a team that met our stringent standards and executed the construction details seamlessly.” 
As a result, “everything works and lives exactly as we all thought it would,” the wife says. “The team interpreted everything perfectly. It’s remarkable.” To Pursley, the project is an example of different design talents working as a cohesive unit. “When the elements of architecture, interior design, landscaping and construction come together so fluidly,” he says, “it makes for a truly special place.” 

–Linda Hayes