Recent Walks among Spectacular North Shore Homes: Solace and Inspiration

Published: May 6th, 2020

Walking outdoors is a vital way I cope during the pandemic, but it can be a little challenging maintaining social distance requirements in the urban neighborhood where I live. In order to find more space in a gorgeous setting, my husband and I have restored the tradition of the “Sunday drive” (although not just on Sundays!) to transport us to walks along Chicago’s North Shore.  At these times, Sheridan Road becomes something more than my usual route to client homes. It leads me to undiscovered neighborhoods of unqualified beauty and homes of architectural distinction. Here are some of the standouts I’ve encountered along the way, along with some thoughts about what draws me to them.

I’ve always appreciated the Georgian style for its simplicity and graciousness. Classic Georgian homes can seem formal but here, on a slight incline, is a more relaxed version. It leads not with traditional red brick and white trim, but with a monochromatic limestone palette in an expansive setting, Both serve as lovely counterpoints to its classic symmetry. One can easily imagine the generous spaces and restfulness within.

North Shore Georgian

The contemporary home below may at first glance appear completely different from the one above, but I am struck by their similarities: the symmetrical forms, the soft colors, gracious setting and even the feature above each home’s entrance that suggests importance and hierarchy. 

North Shore Contemporary home reveals complements traditional architecture

This is a great example of how many of the contemporary homes we see on our walks complement the more numerous traditional residences. Yet even among the former, there is delightful variation. For example, the flat roof and clerestory windows in the following contemporary home present a clean interpretation of classic mid-century modern form. The well-executed design, now timeless, is a welcome deviation from other contemporary dwellings.

North Shore Contemporary with mid-century details

Architectural integrity abounds in this classic English Arts and Crafts home below, and in particular in that trio of gables. Unlike the Georgian, this distinctly asymmetrical residence suggests something more informal and picturesque, complemented by a more casual landscape.

North Shore classic British Arts and Crafts

And then there’s this delicious home we encountered on the diagonal on a corner lot; Arts and Crafts, yes, but with perhaps a bit of Tudor added. The asymmetry, warm brick and leaded windows exude cottage-like charm despite its grand scale.

North Shore Arts and Crafts with Tudor details

The storybook cottage below is equally endearing.  Again, the home blends Arts and Crafts with Tudor, but that wonderfully striped facade adds a bit of quirkiness to its air of enchantment.

North Shore storybook cottage

I cherish these walks along Chicago’s historic North Shore. Each one celebrates the art of design and restores my hope in the human capacity to excel.