Wilmette Residence

Wilmette, Illinois / United States of America

For a couple whose heritage represents eastern and western cultures a 3,500 square-foot house was designed on an atypical suburban lot to replace the ancient Victorian they had owned for over twenty years. Unattractively altered by previous owners its convoluted 19th century plan neither took advantage of the site nor of the interactive life styles of its two sustainably minded, professional owners. The village of Wilmette on Chicago’s North Shore was incorporated in 1872 hence the brick paved streets in the historic district and a block with an eclectic mix of traditional homes, residual coach houses and midcentury town homes. In fact, grandfathered zoning to the west of the client’s lot had produced just such a collection of deeply set back single story condominium units. This configuration allowed for the design of an elongated T-shaped plan capitalizing on that open sunlit orientation. Thus the stem of the ‘T’ could house the great room sharing cross breezes, garden views and terraces to the North and South. The kitchen handily accommodates both cooks and kibitzers. The den in front doubles as a guest bedroom as does another en suite one in the basement adjoining an insulated music room Upstairs the empty nesters have appropriated all three bedrooms. Besides the master suite over the great room the two bedrooms on the long axis, while plumbed for attached baths, have been repurposed into a much used library/joint office overlooking the street and a more private meditation/exercise room at the rear. From the alley, the garage screens the fenced rear yard where espaliered pear trees define the walkway to the canopied back door while, in front, a Chinese red portal set in a beech screen and a front door set within white corrugated metal siding signal a unique ownership as do the playfully Reitveldt-ian color accents.

Architect of Record

Tigerman McCurry Architects

Associate Architect

Tigerman McCurry Architects


B Wu and Eric Larson

General Contractor



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