169 Wildwood Road

Year of award: 
2000
Award category: 
Renovation
Year built: 
1924
Restoration architect: 
Dan Sutherland

This 1924 story-and-a-half bungalow has been renovated and expanded to increase living space, upgrade deteriorated structures, and harmonize with the Wildwood neighborhood, an historically significant residential-support area developed by John Griffith prior to World War I. As estates were rapidly created in Lake Forest, small or even temporary cottages were built on Wildwood for gardeners, drivers, policemen, etc. along with a few more substantial homes for local businessmen.

The property was owned until 1940 by Alexander Kelley, a contractor who built many homes in the Wildwood Road neighborhood.  Kelley had come to town in the 1870s, importing black Aberdeen cattle from Scotland and accompanying them through Canada to Lake Forest.  He apparently became an important local contractor.  An advertisement in the 1920s asserted that his firm had built over half the local cement sidewalks. 

The house first was remodeled in 1940 when the original wood-frame house was resurfaced with concrete. The present renovation, from plans by architect Dan Sutherland, includes changes made between 1997 and 2000.  The shingle-style character of the recent additions was inspired by unique clay-tile shingles acquired from demolition of a 1950's ranch house on Circle Lane that had been clad with these shingles, which were used originally at Walden, the estate of Cyrus McCormick, Jr.  Architectural elements and exterior finishes are derived from the owners' study of local and international historic architecture.  Landscape renovation is likewise derivative from exemplary local gardens, local landscape designers of the Teens and Twenties, and prairie-landscape principles.