Once Covered in Mold, a Midcentury Gem Outside Chicago Is Reborn

An artist recasts the home of a Mies van der Rohe student as a minimalist haven.

Eva Kowalow leans over a table in her Lake Forest, Illinois, painting studio, paging through a sheaf of architectural plans. The plans, each drawn in pencil on yellowing tracing paper and dated 1959 to 1964, depict the 2,960-square-foot house that stands on the same five-acre wooded lot as the studio. On paper, it looks like two neatly stacked rectangles, the top one exactly twice as large as the bottom. In real life, it is a sleek glass-and-steel box floating amid the trees on a wood-paneled pedestal. 

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