High-End Speculative Homes In Strong Demand in Chicago’s North Suburbs

Chicago developers build luxury ‘spec’ homes in top north suburban locations.

March 23, 2015

“If you build it they will come” has never seemed more true than now for a handful of Chicago developers building luxury ‘spec’ homes in top north suburban locations. With luxury home sales in the Chicagoland area continuing to thrive and the North Shore posting some of the lowest inventory for homes over $1.5 million, firms such as Edward R. James Homes, Foxford Communities, Kinzie Group and Meritus Custom Builders, all have various styles of new-construction, custom-designed homes on the market in established, sought-after neighborhoods like Glenview, Lake Bluff, and Winnetka.

“While today’s time-strapped, savvy homebuyers want a home that’s been customized to suit their lifestyle, most don’t want to commit to the long time frame that comes with building a custom home from the ground up,” said Peter Brennan, president of Foxford Communities. “With a custom spec home, we can save buyers months off the home-building cycle, and still deliver the luxury home they envisioned with one-of-a-kind features such as reclaimed wood ceiling beams, intricate tile work and hand-stained wood panels, ensuring no two homes are alike.”

Here is a sample of just some of the luxury spec homes currently available in the north suburbs:

1425 Glenview Road, Glenview – Edward R. James Homes 
Designed and built by Glenview, Ill.-based Edward R. James homes, one of the North Shore’s oldest and most respected builders, this 4,300-square-foot custom residence features five bedrooms and 4.2 baths, and is nestled on a wooded ½-acre lot in southeast Glenview, just a short walk from downtown Glenview and the Metra. Listed at $1,595,000, this home’s large enclosed rear yard and deck make it a perfect fit for families looking for a lot of space and access to Glenview’s outstanding public and private schools.
The home boasts natural light, large bedrooms, a spacious mudroom with a three-car tandem garage and a finished lower level, to name just some of the elements that cater to an active family. And for the discerning buyer, finishes and design details include first-floor hardwood floors, Viking stainless steel appliances, Brookhaven by Wood-Mode cabinetry, granite countertops, arched openings, a formal dining room and butler’s pantry, and crown moldings.
“Our goal for this home was to combine the charm, elegance and craftsmanship of an older home, with the amenities and proportions that today’s modern family wants,” said Priscilla Schumacher, director of sales and marketing for E. R. James Realty. “We’ve included a large eat-in kitchen, complete with an island, family eating area, and an adjoining place to relax in front of the fireplace. Beyond those goals, we wanted to offer a great location, exceptional schools and a home that provides superior costs of ownership and lower maintenance than competing re-sales. We’re pleased to say, we think we’ve hit all of those objectives and are excited for the fortunate buyer that ends up making this their next home.”

For more information on 1425 Glenview Road, visit erjames.com/1425/

29 Aberdeen Court, Bannockburn – Foxford Communities 
After selling its first spec home at Tarns of the Moor in Bannockburn within a month of starting construction, Foxford Communities has begun building a second quick-delivery home at this small enclave of elegant homes. Plans for the 6,000-square-foot, two-story home complete with finished basement, showcase five bedrooms and 5½ baths, including a lavish master suite with raised ceilings and a fireplace. With a scheduled September 2015 delivery and a listing price of $2,399,000 the home sits on 3.7 acres surrounded by mature trees, sparkling streams and picturesque ponds that provide a natural and serene setting.
570 Lansdowne Lane, Lake Bluff – Foxford Communities 
Foxford also recently started construction on a custom 7,000-square-foot quick-delivery home at the Lansdowne Estate in Lake Bluff. The French Country-style home has five bedrooms, 5½ baths and family-friendly features, including a side-loading four-car garage that connects to the home via a spacious mudroom. The two-story home boasts a finished basement as well as several outdoor entertaining areas, and is scheduled for a late 2015 delivery.

“Spectacular views of Lake Michigan are plentiful because of the home’s unbeatable location,” said Brennan. “It takes alfresco dining and watching the kids play in the yard to a whole new level with such a stunning backdrop.”
Both the Bannockburn and Lake Bluff homes feature superior finishes, including custom cabinets, hardwood floors throughout the main living area, stainless steel commercial-grade appliances, granite countertops and brick- or stone-type material on the exteriors.

Sales for Tarns of the Moor and Lansdowne Estate are being handled by Jeff Ohm of Premier Realty Group. To visit the communities, contact Ohm at 847-821-9090 or http://www.premierlistingshowcase.com/orders/2012/02/02/10644/index.php

23245 Enclave Lane, Lake Barrington – Kinzie Group 
Buyers looking for a home delivering later this spring can tour a home being built by Kinzie Group at Enclave of Heritage Estates in Lake Barrington. The early-delivery home, built from The Oaks plan, has four bedrooms, 2½ baths, and an attached three-car garage on a 1.24-acre home site. Priced at $834,000, the two-story home measures 3,600 square feet.

“The interest in Enclave has been very strong, in fact, we’re more than 60 percent sold, so we wanted to offer something for buyers who may not have time to build a home from the ground up,” said Steven Maher, managing broker for Kinzie Group. “The timing for the completion of this home is perfect for anyone wanting to make a move at the beginning of summer.”

Notable features of the home include a full brick façade; library; great room; mudroom; butler’s pantry; walk-in pantry; master suite with a tray ceiling, walk-in closet, and a deluxe bath with a separate shower and soaking tub and dual-bowl vanity; and second-level laundry.

To schedule a tour of the Enclave showcase home, visit www.enclaveliving.com, 
call 847-315-0896 or email sales@kinziegroup.com.

556 Hawthorn Lane, Winnetka – Meritus Custom Builders 
Available for immediate move-in is this six-bedroom, 5½-bath home located less than six blocks from Lake Michigan, Greeley Elementary School and New Trier High School. Listed at $1,725,000, the home features approximately 4,660 square feet on four levels including a 1,200-square-foot finished basement complete with a home theater area, entertaining space with wet bar, bedroom and full bath.
820 Oakwood Avenue, Wilmette – Meritus Custom Builders 
Meritus Custom Builders is also building this 5,144-square-foot custom home with an expected completion in May. The six-bedroom, 5½-bath home, which includes a 1,400-square-foot finished basement, is listed at $1,789,000 and is located just east of Green Bay Road in the highly desirable Central Elementary School District. The home is within walking distance from Metra and CTA stations, the 4th and Linden Business District and other dining and retail conveniences including Depot Nuevo and the Wilmette Theatre.

“Both of these homes exemplify what buyers want most in a North Shore location – access to great schools, charming downtown areas and, of course, proximity to the beach and Lake Michigan,” said Brian Brunhofer, president of Meritus Custom Builders. “We’ve also filled these homes with special features such as custom woodwork and carpentry, top-of-the-line chef’s kitchens, upscale mudrooms with built-in lockers and storage, and basement rec rooms fully decked-out for entertaining.”

Brunhofer noted the homes are designed to complement the high-end housing stock of their established neighborhoods. “These homes have raised the bar for what people consider a spec home in the area,” he said. “In fact, response has been so favorable we’ll be starting construction on three more North Shore spec homes this spring.”
For more information on Meritus Custom Builders and available homes, call Brian Brunhofer at (847) 707-7307 or visit www.MeritusCustomBuilders.com.