It wasn’t long ago that I would have looked at modern architecture and sneered. It didn’t make sense to me, this modern architecture. I didn’t care for the angles, the lack of symmetry, the nonsensical spaces. For this life long disdain of all things contemporary, I blame the Jetson’s. As a quasi-adult, I now see past the modern stylings of Jetson’s fame and have recently begun to sincerely appreciate modern design done well. In fact, I dabbled with a modern design before embarking on my own build, but in the end shied away from it for fear of doing it poorly. Modern design, if done well, can be beautiful. Modern design done poorly can be an absolute disaster. I played it safe.
The house above and below has not played it safe. Designed and built in the mid 1980s, this modern home is recognizable to anyone who has spent any amount of time on or near Geneva Lake. Set amongst background of older estates of classical design, and intermixed between the newer estates of classical design, you’ll find this and a few other modern style homes on these friendly shores. Today I bring to you this modern example, and trust that you, like me, will find the design to be redeeming.
Valley View Drive isn’t a drive that someone can happen on easily. You must drive down South Lakeshore Drive and then head North on Maple Ridge. When you come to the intersection of Black Point Road, you can turn West to head towards that black point, or you can turn East, and head to Valley View. Few people turn East. If you went straight a distance, you’d hit the Owl Tavern, and your tragic mistake must be corrected by a U-turn. Once you come to Valley View, you should take the entrance flanked by red brick pillars, and proceed slowly down the winding gravel drive that leads through the woods towards the lake.
When you get close, you’ll see this modern stone manse directly ahead, the lush gardens offering you your first greeting. The home rests nicely on a 1.25 acre lot, and boasts 150′ of big, fat, sprawling frontage. The views are to the north, towards Elgin Club, and the views are most important here, as nearly every room puts the lake unavoidably in your gaze. The lakeside deck is large, the front lawn level, the steps to the pier not so many that you’ll have to stop and rest half way back up. The property is wonderful, but the true magic of this home is on the inside.
A long hallway spans the first and second floors, connecting the extreme edges of what is a very large house. The first floor offers comfortable living spaces- a den with fireplace, a great room with another, a dining room with an angled 60′ skylight running both in front of and behind it. The hardwood floors are delightful, the built in cabinetry everywhere, the flow perfect. The kitchen has gourmet touches- new granite counters and appliances from Sub Zero and the like. Entertaining? Why, yes, you’ll find that an easy task here.
Upstairs there are two bedroom suites, each with fireplaces and private baths and great wide lake views. There’s an office here too, or a library if you’re the more casual sort, with a view of its own. The long hallway is illuminated by huge skylights, and that lakeview finds you again on the open staircase that connects the upstairs to the rest of the house. The lower level is exposed, leaving the lake once again the main attraction. There are two more bedrooms down here, with a large rec room and bar area eager to host ping pong championships. Don’t invite me to those competitions, I’ll win. It’s true.
There’s more down here too- a sauna and a couple more bathrooms, and a walkout directly on to the lakeside deck. The theme here is unmistakenly casual, with the lake as the focal point of all activities at all times. The design, in my humble opinion, is modern without being cold, the stone that runs through the outside and the inside of this home providing some warmth that might not otherwise accompany a modern structure. It’s a great house, a great lake house, and it’s yours for $4.195MM. Perhaps just $4.194MM if you take advantage of the Friday special.