There are some houses that are special, and there are others that are spectacular. The 2023 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens is one million percent the latter.
The Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens is largest fundraiser for the Lake Forest Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society, which raises money for the Infant Welfare Society (IWS) of Chicago. Founded in 1911 with a mission to provide fresh milk in response to high infant mortality rates, IWS now provides an array of services to men, women, and children of Chicago’s working poor through its Logan Square clinic.
At a Showhouse, interior designers and landscape architects pitch the co-chairs on the rooms and outdoor spaces they would like to redo. It’s an opportunity to reimagine a space, while showcasing a designer’s ability to do so. The 2023 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens is open to the public until Sunday, June 4. You can buy your tickets here.
The home at the center of this year’s event was designed by renowned architect Walter Frazier in 1969. Frazier was known for his stylish, livable classic residences along the North Shore. His designs were noted for their refined elegance and his ability to welcome new design perspectives. Twenty-one of his homes can be found throughout Lake Forest and Lake Bluff.
This year’s Showhouse—owned by one family until 2022—is set on nine acres of beautifully landscaped property, including a five-acre conservation area.
The 16-room red brick, five-part structure features two low, flat-roofed, one-story links leading to two temple like wings on the east and west. The first-floor primary bedroom wing has a flexible arrangement of five rooms, and there are six additional bedrooms and 4.3 baths. All of the south-facing main rooms open to a blue-stone patio and gracious lawn.
As if the main house wasn’t enough, there is a charming, updated three-bedroom, two-bath caretaker’s cottage; an additional outbuilding with garages, workroom, kennels, and two-finished rooms with a half bath, kitchenette and fireplace; and a separate three-car garage.
More space in this year’s Showhouse meant more opportunities for designers to do what they do best. And boy did they! It appears to be the year of the decorated ceiling, acrylic curtain rods, plaster accessories, and woven brackets and pedestals. Here are some of my favorite moments from this year’s Showhouse that you must check out when you visit.
The Dining Room
Alex Kaehler brought the outside into this dining room space using floral window treatments, blocked vine wallpaper, and sky blue velvet chairs. Alex masterfully mixes old and new and a variety of textures to create this inviting space. One trend that was evident throughout the Showhouse was decorative fabric trim being used as a finishing touch on the upholstered furniture and the drapes. You can see it here on these gorgeous dining room chairs.
To fully appreciate the new kitchen design, we must take a minute to look at what it was before.
Can you even believe this transformation? What makes the new kitchen extra special is the use of a sand-colored natural stone for the countertops. It makes the space so calm and serene. Just lovely in every way.
The Primary Bedroom
This home truly has everything, including a first-floor primary suite. Soledad Zitzewitz created the most serene space with custom colored lamps, stripped antique night stands, and walls covered in the most beautiful Venetian Plaster Inlay with the prettiest sheen.
The Girls’ Room
Jenny Brown used Schumacher’s Joni Chintz as her jumping-off point for the girls’ room and everything else just fell into a place. A lover of all things vintage, Jenny’s whimsical aesthetic touched every part of this room–blending colors, patterns, and textures for the perfect result, down to her vibrant detailing of the closet doors. I happened to be visiting the Showhouse the day that Jenny was shooting her room and was thrilled to see her dress choices are strewn across the end of the bed. It reinforced that this room was authentically Jenny and I loved every bit of it.
East Cottage Hallway
The only things that could possibly upstage the Showhouse are the property’s East and West Cottages. I feel like I could be very happy living in either one–especially the East. From the moment you walk in the door, your are immediately taken with the cottage-y feel. Designer Maggie Getz covered the walls in a classic grasscloth with pink and blue hues that magically played off the painted wooden floors.
West Cottage Garden Room
I have long been a fan of local designer Cynthia McCullough and her garden room in the West Cottage is absolutely dreamy. Purple isn’t often a favorite color of mine but the way she wove this into her design has me singing a new tune. It’s incredible to see the amount of furniture she fit into this space, including a beautiful antique breakfront. Her mix of vintage and modern definitely had me rethinking the design recipe in my own home. Love!
So what are you waiting for? Buy your tickets to the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens today, a wonderful event for an even better cause!