History of Concept Houses

Building dream homes for families over the last 40 years has allowed Orren Pickell to perfect the design/build process and integrated ideas for living that are reflected in the architecture of a home. While many homebuilders will offer a show house open to the public, Pickell wanted his custom homes to illustrate the difference that a collaborative design/build process can make. He did not want to build beautiful show homes to display his work; he wanted to show people how a home could be imagined to meet the specific needs of a homeowner. It was that realization that led Pickell and his team to the idea of a “Concept House.”

Specifically designed and built around a particular theme or homeowner’s wish list, the Concept Houses fulfilled Pickell’s mission to inspire the imaginations of future home owners and visitors. Each of the nearly 20 Concept Homes are a source of pride for Pickell and the company and illustrate their dedication to innovation, craftsmanship and actualizing dream homes for their clients. Open to the public for a designated period of time, thousands of designers, industry leaders and potential custom homeowners have been inspired by Pickell Concept Homes through the years.

urban family farmhouseUrban Family Farmhouse: Kenilworth (2019) – 2,995 sq. ft., contemporary farmhouse with an additional 1,370 s.f. finished in the walk-out basement (built beneath the garage and patios). 5 bedrooms/4.5 baths. (pre-sold)

maison mettawaMaison Mettawa: Mettawa (2017) – 4,300 sq. ft., custom-built French country home in Mettawa, Illinois, set on an exquisite, 5 acre, partially wooded lot backing up to the Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa. Its Old World exterior features a combination of rustic stone, over-sized brick and full masonry stucco, with rough sawn stained cedar trim, brackets and shutters, and standing seam copper roof details and gutters. Open 2 weekends (pre-sold).

GlassHausGlassHaus: Northbrook (2017) – 3,600 sq. ft. contemporary home in Northbrook featuring a balanced mix of glass, stone, and stucco. The covered entry is surrounded by glass and opens to a 2-story foyer. Glass details are echoed in the staircase and throughout the home. The open concept first floor is perfect for family and entertaining with a large great room, dining room, kitchen, office, and laundry/mudroom. The second floor has four bedrooms and a gorgeous mezzanine/hallway that is open to below. Open 3 weekends (pre-sold).

the valley's edgeThe Valley’s Edge: Bull Valley (2016) – Situated on a spectacular ten-acre site, this 6,300 square-foot home embraces the stunning surroundings while incorporating cutting-edge materials, technology, and design techniques. From a state-of-the-art scullery kitchen to the walkout basement with family room and wet bar, wine room, exercise room, spa bath and Zen garden, each space serves a unique purpose while still being cohesive in design. Open 3 weekends (pre-sold).

Lakeland-Tour-of-HomesLakeland Tour of Homes: 389 North Lake Shore Drive, Fontana, WI (2013) – Reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century lakeside summer cottage, this stone and shingle home was designed with large windows, a screen porch, sun room, decks and patios to enjoy the lake breezes and long vistas; open 3 weeks (pre-sold).

At-Home-GetawayAt Home Getaway: 27 Aberdeen Court, Bannockburn (2012) – This rustic nouveau French inspired residence boasted all the amenities of a luxurious retreat with the warmth and comfort of home – masterfully demonstrating how luxury amenities, once suited solely for a vacation home, are being incorporated into today’s primary residences in Bannockburn, Illinois; open 4 weeks (pre-sold).

Turn-of-the-Century-IITurn of the Century II: 100 Abingdon Avenue, Kenilworth (2011) – A traditional residence situated on Sheridan Road in Kenilworth, this once grand home suffered from severe neglect including a white painted brick exterior, oddly shaped roof domes, abandoned indoor pool and overgrown landscape. With an abundance of creativity and superior craftsmanship, Pickell was able to transform the residence into the dream home the owners always wanted; open 4 weeks (pre-sold).

Scottish-ManorThe Scottish Manor: 30 Aberdeen Ct. Bannockburn, IL (2008) – The centerpiece of Pickell’s Tarns of the Moor development, this extraordinary residence had two personalities—one clean and elegant and the other quite warm and antiqued. Capturing the mood of Scotland’s idyllic countryside, the Scottish Manor was filled with character and remarkable detailing both inside and out; open 2 years.

dearborn-exterior1523 N. Dearborn St.: 1523 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL (2006) – Complete renovation of one of Chicago’s classic Gold Coast mansions with a focus on retaining its exquisite vintage details while infusing each space with modern amenities; open 8 weeks (pre-sold).

Family-OasisThe Family Oasis: 1391 W. Longwood Drive, Woodstock (2005) – This beautiful brick bungalow-style homestead was designed for contemporary family living with the theme “keeping life in balance” in mind. Some of its theme-oriented features included: a second-floor family retreat with tree mural and swing; reading nooks both indoors and out; music room with alcove where children can put on dance recitals, etc.; outdoor cooking center; Mom’s retreat in master bedroom (yoga mat, aromatherapy, etc.); Dad’s retreat with the ultimate garage outfitted as a workshop, sports storage and just plain relaxing for the man-of-the-house; open 4 weeks (pre-sold).

EdgewoodEdgewood: 1190 Edgewood Lane, Lake Forest, IL (2005) – This Nantucket style custom built Lake Forest home, in natural Cedar shake with stone and bright white trim, inspired a quaint and charming feeling while maintaining the elegance and formality of the neighborhood; open 6 months.

Architects-CottageThe Architect’s Cottage: 1203 Oak Trail Lane, Libertyville, IL (2002) – This creative, one-of-a-kind home combined the look of a European countryside cottage with the Thoreau-like quality of being one with nature; open for 8 weeks (pre-sold).

Design-HouseThe Design House: N1622 Lakeside Lane, Lake Geneva, WI (2006) – Chicago Home & Garden Magazine’s 2003 feature house designed in collaboration with Interior Designer, Richar. This custom built Lake Geneva home features fine European traditions presented in a modern-day American
showcase that is perfect for vacation-style living; open for 2 years.

Vacation-HouseThe Vacation House: N1561 East Lakeside Lane, Lake Geneva, WI (2003) – South Shore Club Model Home showcasing the South Shore Club. This Old World, classically designed, luxury resort home featured five-star amenities in a charming storybook, lakefront neighborhood; open for 2 years.

RenRenaissance.com: 156 Maple Hill Road, Glencoe (2001) – Blending Italian Renaissance and Beaux Arts architectural style with amazing technological achievements, this classically designed and built Glencoe residence paid homage to art and science; open for 2 years.

Jewel-BoxJewel Box: 1079 Jensen Drive, Lake Forest (2001) – This home featured Craftsman style architecture with the “Jewel Box” approach to design which emphasizes cutting back on rarely used areas and investing the savings into those details that make living in the home a pleasure and exceptional aesthetic experience; open 6 months.

Turn-of-the-CenturyTurn of the Century House: 224 Sheridan Road, Kenilworth (2000) – Orren Pickell’s first remodel “model” displayed the best of both worlds by restoring the beautiful details of an early 20th century home with the convenience of 21st century amenities. An addition allowed us to add a spectacular Great Room as well as a second level master bedroom suite, making the home suitable for today’s lifestyle; open for 8 weeks (pre-sold).

Transition-HouseTransition House: 140 Timber Lane, Glencoe (1999) – Designed to meet the needs of a family in transition, from a full house to an “empty-nester” lifestyle, this first floor master bedroom plan wasted no space and actually included a number of rooms that serve dual purposes; open for 8 weeks (pre-sold).

Entertainment-HouseEntertainment House: 2313 N. Sheridan Road, Highland Park (1999) – A “Grand” house designed, built and named for its amenities including: an elegant espresso bar, computerized lighting, a twelve seat home theatre, sunken wet bar and wide open spaces all of which facilitate lavish entertaining; open for 2 years.

Organization-HouseOrganization House: 2494 Shoal Creek Court, Riverwoods (1996) – Designed to accommodate the busy lifestyle of today’s young family, this home featured highly organized spaces throughout including the first Orren Pickell “Family Workshop” (aka. home organization room with laundry, built-in computer station, gift wrapping center, and locker for every member of the family), master suite with coffee bar and ironing station, 3 car garage with bike and golf racks, sled storage, skate center and much more; open for 5 months (pre-sold).

Original-ConceptOriginal Concept House: 488 Thorngate Lane, Riverwoods (1995) – Show home for the Custom Builders Show, an eco-friendly “green” house; open 2 years.

WineberryWineberry: 1719 Mulberry Lane, Libertyville (1991) – A blend of French and Federalist styles, this architecturally pleasing design featured an open floor plan conducive to efficient traffic flow and beautiful detailing throughout; open for 2 years.