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updated: 12/31/2012 5:27 PM

Suburban pagoda home The Wall Street Journal's house of the year

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  • Joyce Marcus' Riverwoods home was selected "The House of the Year" by The Wall Street Journal readers, beating out 48 others selected from the newspaper's "House of the Day" feature.

      Joyce Marcus' Riverwoods home was selected "The House of the Year" by The Wall Street Journal readers, beating out 48 others selected from the newspaper's "House of the Day" feature.
    Courtesy of Tracy Wurster/Prudential Rubloff

  • Walls of windows bring landscaping into the Riverwoods home of Joyce Marcus, recently named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.

      Walls of windows bring landscaping into the Riverwoods home of Joyce Marcus, recently named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.
    Courtesy of Tracy Wurster/Prudential Rubloff

  • The 3˝ baths have been recently remodeled in the Riverwoods home of Joyce Marcus, recently named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.

      The 3˝ baths have been recently remodeled in the Riverwoods home of Joyce Marcus, recently named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.
    Courtesy of Tracy Wurster/Prudential Rubloff

  • The main living area in Joyce Marcus' Riverwoods home is completely open without any interior walls. The property recently was named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.

      The main living area in Joyce Marcus' Riverwoods home is completely open without any interior walls. The property recently was named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.
    Courtesy of Tracy Wurster/Prudential Rubloff

  • Joyce Marcus' Riverwoods home for sale for just under $2 million backs up to the Ryerson conservation area. The property recently was named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.

      Joyce Marcus' Riverwoods home for sale for just under $2 million backs up to the Ryerson conservation area. The property recently was named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.
    Courtesy of Tracy Wurster/Prudential Rubloff

  • Joyce Marcus says natural materials such as wood and stone give her house a homey feeling. The Riverwoods property recently was named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.

      Joyce Marcus says natural materials such as wood and stone give her house a homey feeling. The Riverwoods property recently was named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.
    Courtesy of Tracy Wurster/Prudential Rubloff

  • A 30-foot-tall rubber tree growing under a skylight is one of the ways nature comes indoors in the Riverwoods home of Joyce Marcus, recently named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.

      A 30-foot-tall rubber tree growing under a skylight is one of the ways nature comes indoors in the Riverwoods home of Joyce Marcus, recently named "House of the Year" by readers of The Wall Street Journal.
    Courtesy of Tracy Wurster/Prudential Rubloff

  • Wood and tall ceilings mark the Riverwoods home readers of The Wall Street Journal chose as "House of the Year."

      Wood and tall ceilings mark the Riverwoods home readers of The Wall Street Journal chose as "House of the Year."
    Courtesy of Tracy Wurster/Prudential Rubloff

 
 

Joyce Marcus' Riverwoods house has more than 50,000 fans. Now she and her husband hope one of them loves it enough to pay $2 million for it.

Readers of The Wall Street Journal picked the 5,700-square-foot suburban home as their "House of the Year," rating it above 48 others that editors winnowed from 200 for-sale properties featured during 2012 as the newspaper's "House of the Day."

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The vote was not close. The home with pagoda-style roofs got 52,633 votes from the 456,939 cast, beating out a Connecticut island and a glass house in California's Napa Valley, the paper reported.

Marcus is very proud of the house, which she had built in 1981. She wanted drama and got it when she commissioned Arthur Dennis Stevens, Frank Lloyd Wright's last protégé, to design the home on her two-acre lot.

However, she and husband Gary Janowitz, who married in 2009, have decided to downsize to a home in downtown Chicago and a Florida winter escape.

Stevens calls it "the Jamaica house," and true to the spirit of Wright, the outdoors definitely come inside. Not only do ceiling-to-floor windows show off the neighboring 561-acre Ryerson Conservation Area, but indoor plantings in the central atrium include a 30-foot rubber tree under a beamed wooden ceiling that itself stretches up to 40 feet.

That tall main living space -- 40-by-40 feet -- is totally open without even a wall separating the recently remodeled kitchen.

"It has a very Japanese, Asian, Caribbean feel because of the roof structure," said Marcus. Stevens never designed pagoda roofs for any other two-story home, she added.

Alyssa Abkowitz of The Wall Street Journal mentioned those roofs when calling the house "playful and fun."

"It's like being in the middle of the forest, but we are five minutes from I-294 and the Edens," Marcus said. "We're three minutes from restaurant row in Wheeling."

Marcus, who owns an advertising and public relations firm, said the home is great for people who entertain, but needs empty nesters or a family with older children.

"It's not little-kid friendly," she said, mentioning the open staircase.

Besides the views, Janowitz stresses the home's private zones with the master suite on one side and two other bedrooms and a bath far away on the other. Marcus said her office and fitness room beneath the master bedroom could also be an in-law area.

Realtor Tracy Wurster of Prudential Rubloff in Lake Forest says the home is "unlike any other I've been in in 15 years of selling real estate."

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