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Inspiration from the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, 2015

Not only did I tour a bunch of Frank Lloyd Wright and other historical homes this past weekend, I also went with my mom to see the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens. The tickets sold for the home tour benefit the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, and this year they presented the former home of the late John W. Hughes, Jr.

Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, 2015, Exterior

My mom and I are both house looky-loos, and we love John Hughes movies (The Breakfast Club is a favorite for both of us), so I bought tickets for us as a Mother’s Day present. I figured we’d spend the morning touring the house, have lunch and enjoy the day, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from the home itself. I’ve been to a handful of showhouses before and while they’re always beautiful, they can be a bit stuffy and too traditional to pull practical inspiration from. Not the case this time!

In front of the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, 2015

Again, photography was not permitted, but I was able to obtain photos to share of the interiors this time (hooray!). This was my favorite room: the butler’s pantry, with its original cabinetry receiving a fresh coat of paint (Farrow & Ball’s ‘Drawing Room Blue’) along with other updates by Wily Designs LLC.

Butler's Pantry, Wiley Designs LLC, Photography by Werner Straube

My mom’s favorite space was the living room designed by Alessandra Branca. The designer posted several shots of it on Instagram.

Designed by Alessandra Branca for the Lake Forest Showhouse, 2015

My mom also absolutely loved this girls’ bedroom, designed by Jeannie Balsam. A great layout, a window seat, and patterns upon patterns!

Teen Bedroom by Jeannie Balsam for the Lake Forest Showhouse 2015

Some of what I took away was simply giving myself permission to be more bold. I find myself pulling back a bit in my house sometimes, deferring to the house’s style and history, but yawn. The showhouse was a multi-million dollar historical home, and they painted original dark wood, wallpapered the heck out of it, remodeled the kitchen and bathrooms, took apart and opened up built-in closets, and on and on. There was respect for the home, but it was also fun. The kind of place you could actually see a family living in and enjoying themselves. I mean, how could you not enjoy the type of house that has a hallway with monkeys all over the place (by Sarah Whit Interior Design)?

Back Stairs, Sarah Whit Interior Design Copyright © 2015 Janet Mesic Mackie

And behold, a nursery by Steve + Filip Design, drawing inspiration from The Grand Budapest Hotel. Those diapers. Ha!

Nursery Inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel, Steve and Filip Design, Photograph by Wittefini
Nursery Inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel, Steve and Filip Design, Photograph by Wittefini

There were many other rooms I wish I could share with you, but the Showhouse didn’t have photos available of every space. There was a garden room with a pink settee (be still, my heart!). A master bath and “women’s reprieve” (former closet) with the most amazing antique furniture. A killer redesigned kitchen by Christopher Peacock Home — not too large — that had me wishing for its pair of built-in fridges with a black interiors. My mom and I both walked out of the home feeling inspired, and we had so much fun touring it! I’ll end here with a floor plan. And hey, feel free to put an offer in on the place. It will be available in June, “price upon request”.

Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, 2015, Floor Plans
Photo credits: JS Eckert Photography, Nicole Balch, Werner Straube Photography, Alessandra Branca, Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, Janet Mesic-Mackie, Wittefini

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  • Laura @ The Quirky Bungalow
    May 20, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    I love this! Especially love what they did with the cabinets, that blue color is gorgeous! And those diapers….not sure if that design is entirely practical in my opinion, but I have to admit it’s pretty neat looking.

  • Susie
    May 20, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    You and your mom are too cute! That nursery too. I don’t know about having it filled with diapers all the time but it sure looks good.

  • Jo
    May 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    That is one fancy butler’s pantry!

  • HollYo
    May 21, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I get what you’re saying about giving yourself permission about being more playful with the design. Sometimes old houses can be intimidating in that way! I’m in love with the monkey wallpaper – do you know the source??

  • Marcee ... ILLINOIS
    May 21, 2015 at 11:21 am

    WOW. For sure you and mom were in 7th Heaven! Just love those gorgeous blue cabs, etc. in that kitchen. ; )) Gorgeous.

  • Your Mother
    May 21, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Oh, you got the photos! I love, love, love this house! So liveable and FUN!

  • Joni
    May 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I’m not sure our Costco diapers would look as cute in those cubbies… ;)

    I just want that bev dispenser in the kitchen!

  • The Office Stylist
    May 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    How fun! I am in love with those dark blue cabinets. Totally obsessing over that awesome girls’ bedroom too. Who wouldn’t enjoy a house like this?

  • Val
    May 29, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Does boutique mean something else in this context? Were those garages at some point?

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    February 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    […] the built-ins red and call it a day. Kind of like nursery inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel in the Lake Forest Showhouse that I visited last […]