In this first look, we talked with Doug about how their architectural design came together.
After 17 years in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, Jonna and Doug decided it was time to move north, closer to great schools and where they could give their young children a yard to play in. “We wanted a nice home in a nice place, and to be able to simplify our lives,” explains Doug.
They bought a well-located teardown in Kenilworth and got to work. “I’ve actually known Lisa Pickell for a long time, and used to joke that one day she’d build me a house,” offers Doug. “We did consider another builder we’ve worked with, but with so much experience on the North Shore, it was clear that the Pickell team was the right choice.”
Inspiration in Family
After building their last home, Jonna and Doug were comfortable with the process and confident they knew what they wanted. “We’re reasonably simple people—we weren’t looking for grandeur. We wanted a home to raise our kids in—something beautiful that was also casual and comfortable.” The result is a contemporary farmhouse design with a two-story window and floating staircase at its core.
Asked about their wish list for the home, Doug focuses on how they will use the spaces. The family looks forward to watching movies together on Saturday nights in the theater. The play loft will be decorated with imaginative building facades and nooks for the children to explore. And Jonna wanted a sunny place to relax, so the sunroom features expansive windows on three sides, as well as a fireplace that looks through to the family room. A spa may be added to give the kids a place to splash around.
Larger than It Looks
The home’s footprint maximizes the available space, but the family hoped to increase their square footage beyond what the relatively small lot allowed. By working with the Pickell design team, they were able to find that additional space below grade. A deep basement includes three more living areas, a kitchenette and two bedrooms, and leads out to a welcoming patio and entertaining area.
Experience Adds Value
The process has proven positive so far, with designs and material selections complete and construction about to get underway.
“Our goal was to complete the project quickly, so we like the way the design-build concept means Pickell has the resources to keep everything moving forward,” says Doug. “What’s more, we’ve been able to rely on Pickell to show us what people expect in this area. We knew what we liked and what worked in the city, but they’ve helped us create a home that reflects the way we live and fits nicely into the neighborhood.”
“People talk about forever homes,” he adds, “And that’s how we feel about this house. It’s all about a place to raise our family.”