Oak Park couple create haven in Central Illinois
A pristine, 620-acre Central Illinois getaway with 11 private lakes reflects a Chicago-area financier's outdoor sporting interests. His wife (who works in the medical field) delights in creating outstanding meals and entertaining in the state-of-the-art kitchen of their 10,000-square-foot, second home.
Once leased by a rod and gun club, the property was acquired by the Oak Park couple about 10 years ago. They began a land and lake management program to enhance the compound as a wildlife habitat and ensure its continuing use and future enjoyment.
The expansive wood-and-stone home combines appropriately rustic qualities with the contemporary amenities of the family's active 21st-century lifestyle. It faces one of their private lakes.
Some of the home's other outstanding features:
• Two garage wings (with three sets of doors each) flank the entry. They provide storage for sports gear and areas to prepare and freeze fish and game.
• One wing doubles as a mess hall. It connects to both the lodge kitchen and an outdoor kitchen.
• Recent additions include the restoration of a vintage red barn and a new apiary.
The couple chose Oak Park interior designer Jae Berni of Jae Berni Interiors Inc. (jaeberniinteriors.com) to guide them in creating a lodge interior that integrates rustic characteristics with their unique family artifacts, well-loved furniture and art, some of which was crafted by talented friends.
Known for her ability to create magic with color, fabrics and pattern matching, Berni relied on a jewel tone color palette -- red, green and blue -- to soften and dramatize the lodge throughout. She accented a pair of fawn-colored leather sofas with plaid, then complemented that color selection with a striped, woven area rug and a window treatment of Edwin's Covey linen for Scalamandre. Appropriately, the custom chandelier features white tail deer. confit pots from the owner's wife's collection and a spot of color to the mantel.
A wide, welcoming vestibule leads to a two-story great room. The stone fireplace and its conversation area is a major focal point. French doors on either side of the hearth lead to a sunroom facing the lake.
Throughout the house, the designer chose rich colors and textures with nature and wildlife motifs, such as a framed heirloom poster of a duck-hunting expedition and a butcher block island in the kitchen, which sports a barn wood facade on the refrigerator. The master suite employs a pine focal wall with a red barn faux finish.
The couple and their four children relish the beauty and freedom the rural retreat offers.