Text description provided by the architects. Built in the historic district of Lake Forest, Illinois, and subject to strict municipal review, this house mediates between the common and the unexpected. In a community where large traditional houses prevail, this house seeks a return to simple agrarian forms, colors, and textures typical to the region, but lost long ago.
Two distinct gable structures recall, loosely, a farmhouse “T” plan, but their exact configuration is atypical. Door and window openings are proportioned and spaced with classical regularity, while a continuous band of clerestory windows separates volumes, lightens structure, and adds dimension to certain interior spaces. The prevalence of natural light precludes the need for artificial light during daylight hours, and openings which respond to prevailing breezes substantially reduce the need for air conditioning.
The simple rectangular plan maximizes the efficiency of the building envelope. The driveway segments the lower level at the main entrance and leads to a turn-around adjacent to the garage. The resultant reduction in ground floor area minimizes the footprint (1285 sqf) in a landscape originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.
Detailed with jewel-like precision, the ordinary is given richness without superfluous decoration. The roof is zinc-coated copper, horizontal rain screen siding is clear Western Red Cedar, and shingles are Grade A Eastern White Cedar. Heating is in-floor hydronic set in Gyp-Crete under rift-sawn White Oak.