En Masse Architecture and Design crafts an inviting, light-filled abode for a Wilmette family of six.
The four seasons room beckons year-round with chic Strings Attached lounge chairs by Palecek, a Maxwell sectional from RH, and artist Meghann Riepenhoff's "Sea Wall Sea Stack II," sourced by EAB Fine Art.
There’s nothing like a glowing referral from a satisfied homeowner to keep new design projects rolling in—which is exactly how Chicago firm En Masse Architecture and Design landed a recent assignment in Wilmette. Explains En Masse founding partner Mike Shively, “We had a great experience designing their friend’s home, and while that home was a very different style, the client trusted us to interpret their aesthetic and functional needs.
With sleek French ball globe pendants by Ann-Morris and cabinetry by New Style Cabinets, the kitchen is the picture of sophistication.
The client really wanted to be a partner in the process, and the spirit was collaborative from the first meeting. We came to enjoy each other’s company and the process, despite challenges, was one full of celebration, collaboration and satisfying design.”
Walls of windows in the dining room let the outdoors in.
With four active children, the client was determined to create a home that took advantage of the property’s oversize lot and expansive backyard. “They wanted a home that allowed for connection as well as the opportunity to find a moment to yourself,” notes Shively of the abode, whose aesthetic the team describes as contemporary with classic layers. “In designing the layout, formal spaces were eschewed for spaces that were both beautiful and casual. The dining room, for instance, was placed in a pavilion at the back of the house and has sweeping views of the backyard; pushing this space beyond the main mass of the house allowed for vaulted ceilings. Similarly, the four seasons room, with a wall of sliding doors that pocket out of view, creates a courtyard at the center of the rear of the home and provides multiple connection points from the inside out.”
Custom-sized and hand-honed Waterworks tile in Keystone Piedmont limestone and Carrara marble add a stylish touch to the formal powder room.
“Negotiating and balancing the scale of the home with the character of the street was a challenge,” admits En Masse partner/design director Lucas Goldbach. “The client wanted to take advantage of the maximum available height in order to create a private third-floor study, which could have led the home—which already sits slightly above the street level—to feel large and imposing. The final design pushed the three-story portion of the home further from the street with two story-and-a-half wings in the front, minimizing the scale of the home. Second, Goldbach explains, the client wanted to avoid an open floor plan but still desired a sense of connection between spaces. The En Masse team’s solution? “The layout was developed with multiple access points to all of the main rooms with views toward light or design features anchoring the view across the home’s sightlines. For instance, the front hall connects a powder room at one end and a wine cellar at the other. The stair hall has connection points to the four seasons room, library, family room, entry and powder room. These overlapping spaces provide privacy, shared access to light, and connecting views to the lushly landscaped site.”
In the den, a Hickory Chair Freya dining table and Ambrina lamps by Paolo Moschino provide a cozy work space.
“The house has a warm and luminous quality,” Goldbach says proudly, crediting primary spaces that stretch almost the full width of the home and noting that the building’s “H” shape allows for natural light throughout the day with limited views of neighbors. “These large expanses of windows, often on multiple sides of the room, provide a sense of connection and an indoor-outdoor quality to spaces, which is not always afforded.” Goldbach also cites the east-facing stair tower that connects and provides light to all levels of the house as a particular source of pride. “To either side of the tower are small light well courtyards which further distribute light into the interior spaces. At the basement level, landscaped boulders slope down in these courtyards, minimizing the sense that you are on a lower level. At the upper levels, the stair feels as though it is floating in the treetops.”
Kelly Wearstler Tableau pendant lights from Visual Comfort add a chic accent to the primary bedroom, which also features Schumacher San Carlo Mohair Velvet for added texture.
Sums up Goldbach, “The client feels at home. The space has adapted to and suited their needs as their children have aged, and they feel that the balance of styles [suits] them while offering a welcome addition to the historic streetscape. The home has become a hub of activity for their four active kids with their bevy of interests and friends.”
Primary bath highlights include Waterworks tile and a floating vanity by New Style Cabinetry.
En Masse Architecture and Design
Page Louisell Design
Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp Landscape Architecture
The patio exudes charm with wallhung Frisco lights from Carolina Lanterns (Frisco model), custom floor-mounted lanterns by New Wave Creations and outdoor furniture from RH’s Provence collection.
Kitchen island pendants
CHRISTOPHER FARR CLOTH
Desk chair/work table in living room
NEW STYLE CABINETS
O. HENRY HOUSE
Family room sofas, living room chairs/ottoman
Kitchen counter stools, four seasons room chairs
Wallcovering in dining room/ primary bedroom
Various tile/bath fixtures