Oak Park couple create haven in Central Illinois

  • The stone fireplace and its conversation area is a major focal point of the great room. French doors on either side of the hearth lead to a sunroom facing the lake.

    The stone fireplace and its conversation area is a major focal point of the great room. French doors on either side of the hearth lead to a sunroom facing the lake.

  • Two garage wings flank the home's main entry. They provide storage space for sports gear and vehicles used to hunt, fish and enjoy the 620-acre property.

    Two garage wings flank the home's main entry. They provide storage space for sports gear and vehicles used to hunt, fish and enjoy the 620-acre property. Photos Courtesy of Norman Sizemore/Fine Architectural Photography

  • The dining room's triptych mural (depicting local seasons) was painted by a former classmate of the owner. Chair backs carved from locally harvested pine are wildlife inspired. The Michigan flame birch table and chairs were built by longtime friends. A circa 1900 Turkish rug anchors the setting. The green built-in hutch belonged to the owner's grandfather.

    The dining room's triptych mural (depicting local seasons) was painted by a former classmate of the owner. Chair backs carved from locally harvested pine are wildlife inspired. The Michigan flame birch table and chairs were built by longtime friends. A circa 1900 Turkish rug anchors the setting. The green built-in hutch belonged to the owner's grandfather.

  • A framed heirloom poster of a duck-hunting expedition salvaged from the owner's grandfather's basement provides a vintage touch in the great room.

    A framed heirloom poster of a duck-hunting expedition salvaged from the owner's grandfather's basement provides a vintage touch in the great room.

 
By Patricia Gerlach
Special to the Daily Herald

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:

The master suite's pine focal wall has a red barn faux finish making it a complimentary backdrop for the room's rich red bedding and plaid wool area rug. Farmhouse Collection furniture -- totally Made in America -- represents solid comfort throughout. It is the largest of the lodge's six bedrooms.
The master suite's pine focal wall has a red barn faux finish making it a complimentary backdrop for the room's rich red bedding and plaid wool area rug. Farmhouse Collection furniture -- totally Made in America -- represents solid comfort throughout. It is the largest of the lodge's six bedrooms. -

• 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.

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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.

A copper tub and sink in the en suite bath elevates rustic to luxury.
A copper tub and sink in the en suite bath elevates rustic to luxury.

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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
The distinctive kitchen's butcher block island, Hilliard pendant lamps and barn wood refrigerator facade invite smiles and delight the senses in a culinary setting that is both efficient and pleasant to use.
The distinctive kitchen's butcher block island, Hilliard pendant lamps and barn wood refrigerator facade invite smiles and delight the senses in a culinary setting that is both efficient and pleasant to use. -

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.

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