House-in-the-Dell is one of Lake Forest's secret treasures. Located within the Lake Forest National Register District and the Residential Historic Preservation and Open Space District, it is hidden behind trees and sited at a level lower than the street on one of the city's major ravines. Adaptive re-use of the structure actually began in 1927 when Stanley Anderson rebuilt the gutted building after a fire by using all of the original foundation and incorporating much of the original concrete. The Anderson structure housed a three-car garage, boiler room/coal cellar, two horse stalls, and a tack room including one cow stanchion. The upper floor was apartment space with two baths.
The current owners had lived in Lake Forest for more than 20 years before they found this charming, but dilapidated building in 1981. Their work was completed in 1983. Though they did not want a period interior, they made every effort to maintain the exterior in its original form. The entrance was sited in the location of three sets of garage doors; the brick pillars which had separated the garage doors were reused and quoining was added. All original windows were removed, stripped, refinished, and re-installed. Only three new windows were needed. The roof was redone, copper gutters cleaned and reattached, and stucco was removed and new stucco applied.
On the interior, all five-panel interior doors were re-used, and their number dictated the number of rooms requiring door entries. All cabinetry was re-used from the harness room, the wood being of a diagonal pattern. Four pillars from the horse stalls were re-used in the living space, defining the entry hall/dining area.