Wilmette Residence

Wilmette, Illinois / United States of America

Situated on a corner lot in a suburb of Chicago, the parti of the home is evident from the exterior: load-bearing concrete walls enclose the first story while the second-floor wood volume sits above, shifted slightly. The pavilion-like home opens at critical moments to its garden setting. Despite the contrast of the home's appearance to its traditional context, its scale and warm palette make it a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

A large central skylight occupies the heart of the plan, which highlights the primary space of the home on the second floor: a family library. Here, the family can work and play together. This space and the adjacent stair opens to the first level, allowing one a clear understanding of the interior upon entering the front door. The modestly-sized private rooms emphasize the importance of the central communal spaces for the life of the family.

The skylight, whole-house fan, and floor openings of the central library facilitate movement of natural light and ventilation throughout the home, minimizing the need for artificial lighting and HVAC. A compact plan, highly-insulated exterior envelope, and a geothermal system help reduce energy consumption. Extensive green-roof systems integrate the home with the landscape.

Architect of record

Dirk Denison
Dirk Denison Architects
1123 W Washington BLVD
Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Phone: 312-455-1388

General contractor

Todd Altounian
Altounian Builders
13110 W Highway 176
Lake Bluff, IL 60044, USA
Phone: 847-234-8600


Michelle Litvin
The Michelle Litvin Studio
731 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60616, USA
Phone: (312) 421-9242