Modernist Inspired Lakefront Residence

For today’s design inspiration, we have a modernist inspired lakefront home with crisp contemporary interiors.  The residence is located on a wooded property on Chicago’s North Shore and features walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, a neutral and nature-based color palette, and clean line contemporary design furnishings.

The owners of this home were empty nesters looking to downsize and simplify their lives.  They decided to sell their sprawling 1930s Colonial family home and to build a smaller, smarter, and more streamlined home nearby.  A scenic 90-foot-wide lot right on the waters of Lake Michigan, with trees that would flank the future home like sculpture was selected for the site.

To create this new home for the next chapter of their lives, the couple enlisted Ernest A. Grunsfeld III of Evanston based Grunsfeld Shafer Architects, whose modern design inspired works they really liked, and wanted for themselves.  For the interiors they enlisted Steve Kadlec of Chicago based Kadlec Architecture + Design, who specializes mainly in residential interiors and whose work is noted for its simple yet sophisticated design.

For their new residence, the couple definitely did not want what had become the norm for lakeside homes of late, such as what they perceived to be, the grand statement-making exteriors and overly made-up interiors.  On the contrary, they didn’t want a house that would attract excessive attention from the street at all and didn’t want huge rooms that they didn’t need and wouldn’t use.  They wanted nothing fussy, over-sized, or too involved and that is exactly what they got.


The now completed 5,000 square-foot home, which Grunsfeld shaped into a modified H configuration to increase the amount of exterior wall space, most importantly to provide as many lakeside views from wherever possible, which was the owner’s biggest request.  The configuration also organizes the home into three zones: public spaces in the middle, mainly the living areas; private spaces to the north, including a study and master bedroom; utility spaces to the south, mainly the kitchen and garage.  The architect topped the center of the H with a second level home gym, and two guest bedrooms.  This configuration allows the main living area, master suite, kitchen, gym, and a guest bedroom all to face the lake.  These room’s walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, from the outside, creates a fabulous two-story rear elevation.


The three photos above show the homes primary open living space which Kadlec quietly perfected while making the lake views the focal point.  The space includes multiple seating zones arranged on area rugs.  The dining area features a rift white oak table that seats 16 regularly, but can be split and enlarged with leaves to seat 30.  The floors here and throughout the entire ground floor are white limestone and are continued up to create the fireplace surround.




Kadlec granted the home owner’s request for sleek, contemporary design interior pieces as well.  Many of the items the designer used throughout the home are of his own bespoke design.  The interior design was kept clean with contemporary furnishings in the same colors that you see in the views outward, further embracing and enhancing the homes natural surroundings.




In the master bedroom ( which you can see looking in from the outside), Kadlec hid the huge walk-in closets behind cream colored lacquered panels, and had the bed custom created to float in front of the doors.  There need be nothing to interrupt the peace and flow in the space.  Bespoke design custom furnishings create a calm low-profile sitting area.







Outside, the lawns were entrusted to Scott Byron, of Lake Bluff based Scott Byron Landscape architect.  Byron created wide ledges that terrace down to the lake creating more outdoor entertaining spaces, this also was an eco-friendly move designed to conserve the bluff.  Clean, disciplined designs are used primarily around the home, while efforts to maintain the look of the natural surroundings were embraced about as well.

This is, in all of its very refined simplicity, a Modernist inspired, Contemporary design, luxury home.  This is how these homeowners define luxury.  Clean lines and open spaces, natural elements, beautiful views of the outdoors, sleek minimalist design fixtures, and custom-created, contemporary design furnishings.  It’s calm.  It’s easy. I must agree.  This is luxury for modern day life.

That wraps up our design inspiration for today my friends.  I hope you all have enjoyed this excellent modernist inspired contemporary residence and have been inspired by its clean lines, open spaces, and nature based, neutral colors.  It certainly looks to be an oasis of peace and calm..and really, is there much luxury greater than that?

To see another great post on Steve Kadlec’s work: Modern Deco Design in Chicago!

Architecture:  Ernest A. Grunsfeld III with Grunsfeld Shafer Architects

Interior Design:  Steve Kadlec with Kadlec Architecture + Design 

photographer:  Tony Soluri Photography

additional sources:

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