There’s wood over one's head and beneath one’s feet in this modernist house in Downers Grove, and then outside the walls of glass, “we’re immersed in the woods,” said Pancha French. She has owned the house since 2002 with her husband, Neil French.
79彩票注册网址Every above-ground room of the house, on Wallbank Avenue, has at least one wall of glass, “which puts us a couple of feet from the animals who pass by,” Pancha French said. While home-schooling their two children, instruction would often stop and turn to nature observation, as, for example, a hawk devoured its prey on a tree stump.
79彩票注册网址The family of four “live in our glass bubble, hidden in nature,” she said, and yet from the street hardly anyone would know the house is there. On a street of attractive but largely conventional homes and lawns, there’s a wooded lot with a brick garage facing the street.
Architect Richard Marker built the house for himself and his family in 1973, designing a steel-and-glass box in the style of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a cool, somewhat austere look for a home. Marker warmed up the interior with wood ceilings pierced by big skylights, crisp white walls and a bright red light tube running across the kitchen ceiling. He designed west-suburban houses, subdivisions and other buildings, few of them as boldly modernist as this. His firm still operates, now based in Yorkville.
The Frenches added to the warmth by installing a big Scandinavian-style fireplace wall in the living room. Neil French grew up in Norway, “with log-burning fireplaces that give off a lot of heat,” he said, and wanted one in this home. It’s designed to heat the entire main living space, consume all wood without leaving heaps of ash and fit in well in Marker’s original composition.
With their two kids leaving the nest, the Frenches plan to downsize out of the four-bedroom, 3,400-square-foot house. They’ll put it on the market this week, priced at $850,000 and represented by Brita and Elaine Pagels of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago.
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