A Custom Build On A Verdant Site Greets A Chicago Family


In the living room, designer Catherine Walsh incorporated a pair of Mr. Brown taupe velvet-upholstered chairs to harmonize with the soft tones of the clients' rug. Painted in Benjamin Moore China White, the walls juxtapose dark floral Schumacher drapery.

Serving as the centerpiece of the space, the black firebrick fireplace with a marble surround was fabricated by Huff Group. Above it hangs a lithograph by Keith Rasmussen. The Highland House cocktail table is from Fritz Porter in Charleston, South Carolina.

Imposing bronze-and-matte-glass Visual Comfort pendants from Circa Lighting are suspended above the black Absolute granite island in the kitchen, which is lined with counter stools from CB2. To contrast the light walls, the window mullions are painted in Benjamin Moore Graphite.

In the sunny breakfast area, an oil-rubbed bronze pendant light from Rejuvenation illuminates the dining table, which is surrounded by wicker side chairs from Serena & Lily and black Windsor chairs from Rejuvenation.

Designed to set the tone for the interior, the bar is painted in Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain and features a honed Calacatta marble top, antique-glass panel inserts and a custom brass sink from Linkasink. The mounted brass faucet is from Rohl.

A hemp wallcovering with brass rivets by Phillip Jeffries offsets the white paneling in the dining room, which is furnished with a dining table and leather-covered host chairs from RH. The chandelier is by Visual Comfort from Circa Lighting.

Custom wall molding painted in Benjamin Moore Soft Sand in the daughter's bedroom is a sweet backdrop for a white cane bed from Serena & Lilly, nightstands from Pottery Barn Kids and mercury glass lamps from West Elm.

Covered with a cushion by Lulie Wallace from Fritz Porter, the built-in window seat in the daughter's bedroom offers a cozy spot for resting or playing. The Roman shade fabric is from Holland & Sherry.

The son and daughter share this Jack-and-Jill bathroom, where a shiplap-covered nwall adds interest to a vanity with a cerused-oak finish and Caesarstone countertops. The brassand-opal-glass sconce is from Cedar and Moss.

A part of the family in every way that counts, the family's beloved Golden Retriever, Kinzie, relaxes at the side entrance to the mudroom.

Clad in painted cedar shingles with limestone accents, the traditional home features a twostory bay along one side and a second-story ribbon of windows over the columned front porch.

Architects and designers can often point to one major project that launched their careers. For architect Mike Shively and designer Catherine Walsh, who both recently established their own firms, it was a limestone-and-painted-cedar shingle-sided dwelling in Winnetka, Illinois. “A lot of the ideas had been germinating, and we got to play them out on a big scale,” says Shively.

The architect was recruited by general contractor Matt Huff, who, with project manager Chuck Gladfelter, first tore down the original Tudor-style structure on the site. There was little time to spare when it came to completing the construction and the interiors, as the clients, a Chicago couple with three children, requested an ultra-tight 10-month timeline. Their home in the city was bursting at the seams, and, the wife says, “I had a fear about moving into a new town in the middle of winter when everybody is hibernating.”

Shively worked closely with the couple to develop a layout that combines defined rooms in the front of the house with open, contemporary spaces in the rear, where double-height windows overlook a sprawling backyard. “The way the windows are designed is amazing,” says Huff, “especially from the back perspective.” The park-like setting is visible from the front foyer, where a well-appointed bar with custom cabinetry, antiqued mirror doors and a Calacatta marble countertop make a striking first impression. “Instead of tucking it into the corner, we made the bar a focal point,” Shively explains. “Cat took it to the next level.”

In the living room, white walls with custom moldings and decorative ceiling beams make an elegant backdrop for a dark sofa and velvet-covered chairs in front of a traditional fireplace mantel with a marble surround. Dark floral-patterned draperies add contrast. “They wanted a mostly light and bright home, but we felt we could have a lot of fun with color used in a more calculated way,” Walsh says. Although subtle, that formula is apparent throughout. In the dining room, a hemp wallcovering with rivet detailing adds texture, while patterned draperies introduce deep purple and gold hues that are echoed in the artwork.

White perimeter cabinetry and marble countertops in the kitchen juxtapose a gray-painted island topped with black Absolute granite finished in leather. “The island is the heart of the whole floor plan, and we wanted it to read like a big work table with tapered legs,” Shively says. A bank of soaring windows provides views of the lush greenery outside. Those vistas can also be enjoyed from the breakfast room and the family room, where large pendants descend from the peaked ceiling. A pair of matching rugs defines a sitting area furnished with a large sectional sofa and a pair of green velvet swivel chairs.

For the various personal spaces, the designer collaborated closely with both the couple and their children. To deliver on the 4-year-old daughter’s wish for a pink-and-red bedroom, Walsh painted wall moldings a pale blush tone and installed them in a grid pattern, adding accents in the form of Roman shades and throw pillows. “She was really interested in the work we were doing,” Walsh says of the little girl, recalling the many questions she asked during the process. “It was very cute.”

The project was finished on schedule, and the designers are quick to credit builders Huff and Gladfelter with meeting the aggressive deadline. “The owner put his arm around my shoulder and told me he couldn’t believe we did it,” Gladfelter recalls, noting that everybody involved in the project understood the timeline, prepared accordingly and acted decisively. “To pull off a custom build in 10 months is really remarkable.”