Modernism on the North Shore

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We were not looking for a house. I was pushing a stroller with C.J. on an extra long walk. This house was different, and having an open house, so we went in to have a look. And now it’s been our home for 29 years. Every family, every home, has a story. Let me tell you ours.

“Eventually we’ll need to move” became “this is the house for us.” We were a family of three – did we need five bedrooms, a family room and a home office? High school was more than 12 years away – but we did want to be in the New Trier district. Anne’s work future and mine as a free-lancer was still unsettled – but we did want to be close to Northwestern and transportation. We could already walk to the lake – and we didn’t want to give that up.

We did use all space. Anne and I had offices to work in. We had a guest room when my parents came to visit. The living room was large enough (cleared of furniture on wheels) for a three-year-old to play Nerf soccer in. Being only two stories (no basement or third floor), it was easy to move around in. From living four winters in Rochester, New York we knew what a blessing an attached garage was. And, as Anne’s plant hobbies grew, we converted a porch into a solarium – just off the kitchen and bedroom we could enjoy year-round.

We will miss being near Lake Michigan: the vistas across the water, the cool lake breezes in the summer, the roaring (yes we can hear them) storms, the sandy beach, the harbor, taking a 20-minute walk past “Canal Shores” golf course, the Bahai Temple, the harbor, the dog beach, the playground and tennis courts, Michigan Shores Club, and back home.

The four white window bays are striking viewed from the street. Catherine easily drew the nested box shapes of our home as an elementary school assignment. C.J.’s strong memory is the view FROM the windows. Each window has a wide, padded seat – perfect for a person to sit in. (Perfect also for our cats and dog to sit in.) The view is to the north. There are a few special days each summer when the morning and evening light shines in.

What do you see from the windows? Of course you can come and see for yourself! First you see the yard. C.J. named the grass “a cat’s paw:” much smaller than a dog-leg golf hole. The hawthorn trees filter the view across the street. They have white flowers in summer followed by red berries – a favorite of birds and acrobatic squirrels. On the east side of the driveway you look down on the flower bed. It’s bare in the winter. The daffodils are waiting in the ground to be followed by dazzling hybrid day lilies rescued from a tear-down down the block.

Next, you see the neighbors, the walkers, the dogs, the kids on bikes, and a dad with a backpack and yoga mat heading for the train. Oh, they know you see them – sometimes we even wave. The other windows are large too, with great views of the yard and trees.

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Modern home with Exterior, House Building Type, Flat RoofLine, and Brick Siding Material. Summer view from the street Photo  of Modernism on the North Shore

Summer view from the street

Modern home with Living Room, Chair, Gas Burning Fireplace, Sofa, Ceiling Lighting, and Carpet Floor. Fireplace end of the living room / dining room - 48' long in total Photo 2 of Modernism on the North Shore

Fireplace end of the living room / dining room - 48' long in total

Modern home with Living Room, Sofa, Ceiling Lighting, Sectional, and Coffee Tables. Living room / dining room with four large north-facing windows and stylized ceiling. Photo 3 of Modernism on the North Shore

Living room / dining room with four large north-facing windows and stylized ceiling.

Modern home with Dining Room, Table, Ceiling Lighting, and Medium Hardwood Floor. Dining room lead on to the solarium Photo 4 of Modernism on the North Shore

Dining room lead on to the solarium