Winnetka Club housewalk is May 16
The owner of a house featured on the Winnetka Club's annual housewalk May 16 had this spot in mind when she commissioned a painting by St. Louis artist Sarah Giannobile to adorn the top of her curving staircase. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Wednesday, May 16
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Advanced tickets for $60 are available online at www.winnetkahousewalk.org, or be purchased “at the door” on the day of the event. Just come over to the Hubbard Woods Park “Warming House.”
It was a detail in the foyer that made Meegan McMillan fall in love with the house she bought on the Winnetka-Glencoe border. When she saw the plaster swag above the entrance, she thought, “This is my house.” It was the 31st house she had looked at when she was house hunting in 2002.
Now the house overflows with interesting details, most in the décor, which includes antique chandeliers and a flat-screen television above the bathtub.
McMillan’s is one of five houses on the Winnetka Club’s 2012 Lifestyles Housewalk on May 16.
“I’m a real fan of putting antiques next to something from Crate&Barrel,” said McMillan, who has worked as an interior designer.
It’s not surprising to hear McMillan studied fabric in art school and abroad, when someone sees the bedrooms. The walls are covered with fabric, and the beds are draped with it, and sometimes it’s the same print. The effect could be overwhelming, but McMillan says when a pattern covers nearly every surface in a room, the mind has a tendency to suppress it into the background.
Her bedroom, though, features a combination of solids and prints. The bed has a bamboo-motif headboard with a striped canopy festooned with tassels. The off-white silk curtains have enough shimmer and rustle that Scarlet O’Hara would be hard-pressed not to transform them into a ball gown. “It’s the real refined, next to something tribal,” McMillan said. “They work together in a way most people wouldn’t think.”
A first-floor powder room, which McMillan refers to as the rococo powder room, is awash with a tropical floral print on the walls, in the sink and even on the toilet seat.
McMillan can be practical, as when she designed the kitchen, which was part of the addition she put on the house. It’s an interior room, except for the eastern wall, which does not get much light and houses a nook for a dining booth. The opposite side of the kitchen is framed with cupboards with glass doors so the light from the west can shine through. Another wall opens into the family room.
“You get light and it feels open, but it feels like a separate space, too,” McMillan said.
McMillan’s home, which originally was a stable on early Winnetka resident Jared Gage’s property but was converted into a home in the 1930s, was on the Winnetka Woman’s Club housewalk six or seven years ago. Visitors then did not get to see her garden.
When she started creating her garden in 2006, McMillan applied the same attention to detail as she did in the house. Her lot is about a half-acre, but she has divided the garden into separate sections so it feels as though it’s part of a much larger estate.
“Gardens take five years to fill in. It’s like magic, -- the fifth year, Bam!” McMillan said. The foliage is thick enough so sections of her garden are screened from each other. “It’s not that large of a property. But when you walk through one area, you are not aware of the others.”
Visitors to the garden will see a Franklin tree, envied even by the staff at the Chicago Botanic Garden; espaliered Kieffer pear trees, trained to grow flat and form a wall of leaves; a huge weeping willow which survived the construction; 57 different types of Japanese maple; plus a greenhouse, water features and a vegetable garden.
McMillan expects to be home during the housewalk. If so, she will be a valuable resource, able to recall exactly where she got every item or plant in her beautiful home and garden.