This is another entry in a series of posts titled “open house” in which we offer photographic tours of selected projects.

This English country style inspired home was our first commission located in Hinsdale, a bucolic neighborhood and Chicago bedroom community. The house is situated on a long, narrow corner lot.  Given the difficult nature of the property, the design of the house realized itself as a one-room deep house. This type of design is very advantageous as the resulting multiple exposures of rooms create a bright, sunny interior. Also, given Chicago’s often-gray climate, this distinct English Country model seemed perfectly in keeping. The house’s exterior became a rambling composition of sagging slate roofs, hand moulded brick and characterful chimneys.

The interiors, designed by McAlpine Booth & Ferrier, became another opportunity to reinforce the English dissertation. Spanning from front to back, the classic stone-paved and wood ceilinged entrance hall allows not only welcome, but a luminous dining bay. A pair of antique crystal chandeliers (sourced from an old house in Montgomery) gives a hint of feminine presence in the manly hall.

Every quintessential grand English country house always features at least one colorful room; these seem designed to compensate for the gloomy clime. Bobby McAlpine, who once had a deep disdain for the color yellow, decided to design an entire yellow-hued living room. He was convinced that, if you inundated a room with various hues of one particular color, it would create a neutral palate. The resulting design created a statuesque salon which always appears bathed in buttery sunlight. Through this exercise, Bobby’s contempt of the color yellow faded in the light.

A furniture tidbit in the salon: Bobby had a series of antique Chippendale dining chairs (of a so-so provenance) which he actually cut up, reassembled and created custom benches in this room – a modern take on a traditional style.

We designed this house almost 18 years ago. I recently spoke to the Owners and they relayed a story concerning guests who visited the house a few weeks ago . Their company, who had never been to the house before, thought it was just decorated as it seemed so fresh and new. Sure proof that classic never goes out of style.






Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley


  1. Jane says:

    We live near Hinsdale so this is a very fun post. I believe there is another house for sale in Hinsdale that you designed which is beautiful as well. If you ever have time, and just for fun, I would love to see your ideas for the exteriors of a more modest house that would be more affordable…say the under $1M range. Your homes are breathtaking, but unfortunately most of us cannot afford multimillion dollar homes and would love to see your take on a home that is more accessible to most homeowners. Always love your blog posts!

  2. hatteam says:

    So glad Bobby got over his disdain for yellow. It’s the perfect antidote to gloomy Midwestern winter grey, which I know all too well having grown up there. And the room absolutely radiates warmth as well. I’d love to live there. Well, rather to visit there. Midwest winters are still too much for me.

  3. Bryson Thomas says:

    So well done(:

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