Cozy Minimalism in Winnetka Heights - Home Tour Preview
Homeowners | Karen and Barry French
Home Sponsor | Anne White Foster
According to Wikipedia, ‘the Airplane Bungalow style dates from the early 20th century and grew out of the Arts and Crafts Movement. It is similar to the Craftsman Bungalow but is characterized by a "pop up" second floor, usually of one or two rooms; resembling a cockpit of an airplane.’
Barry and Karen French have taken their airplane bungalow and transformed it into a fusion of tranquility and creativity. The transformation took almost a year, during which the structure was stripped to the studs and rebuilt with styles and features from homes they’ve lived in across the globe. Although they’ve called many different countries and regions of the world ‘home’, a strong Scandinavian character fills the home from their time spent in Helsinki, Finland.
Karen reflects that a minimalist design was needed to allow a meditative nature to permeate the house, and that above all, the design should provide a forum to showcase their art instead of compete with it. The golden pine floors and slated plank feature wall tie the home together from floor to ceiling and provide a serenity uncommon in many homes.
A favorite art piece is featured in the artist’s cove just inside the kitchen. The work represents a turning point in the life of their oldest son, Charlie, who has a dual-diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Regression Disorder. Charlie, who trained under many European mentors, saw a dark and colorless world as Regression Disorder took hold. With therapy and time, his world began to transform, and the colors and shapes featured in the piece indicated both an improvement in his condition and a new chapter in his life.
This is not the only work by Charlie inside the home. Across the backyard, guest quarters and an artist’s studio occupy the old carriage house. Several stunning pieces and many works in progress are available for viewing.
Architectural Style: Airplane Bungalow
Year Built: 1924
Neighborhood: Winnetka Heights