A Home for Hanging Out

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August Issue View more

After building a home several years ago—a process involving dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of decisions both big and small—Caroline Hamilton vowed she would never do it again. “But it’s kind of like having a baby,” she laughs. “You forget the pain.”

Hamilton and her husband, Steve, recently teamed with Downers Grove–based Oakley Home Builders to design and construct a dream home for their family of five. The 13,355-square-foot, five-bedroom, nine-bath space is tucked away in a quiet pocket of Wheaton. Completed in March 2021, the home seemingly has every feature imaginable for hosting fun get-togethers: an in-ground swimming pool and hot tub, a 10-seat movie theater, and a detached indoor sport court. “We want our home to be the place where all of the kids hang out,” Hamilton says. 

For a family that loves to throw a party, spaces to relax and entertain were part of the essential definition of “dream home.” Also included in the design were a basement bar and wine storage area, as well as a screened-in porch perfect for nestling up with blankets on cool fall nights. In fact, no detail was overlooked in the quest to build a hospitable home: The Hamiltons’ son even suggested that the family build two powder rooms on the main floor so guests wouldn’t have to queue for their turn.

1. With two dishwashers and side-by-side ovens, this kitchen can feed a crowd. Artisan subway tiles and crisscross detailing on the top cabinets add interest to the serene space. Cabinetry by Knapp Kitchens.

2. Time out: The half-court sport court, located over the detached garage, includes a window-filled lounge with a television and kitchen area.

3. Caroline Hamilton chose an oversize farmhouse sink in the mudroom to help “keep chaos and dirt out of the way.” The mudroom, which leads to the backyard, is in an ideal location for kids to pop in and out to wash their hands or grab something while they are outdoors.

4. A catwalk with floor-to-ceiling windows was the perfect solution for connecting the house with the detached garage and sport court. The walkway has now become a destination of its own—a place to take in the golden hour before sunset or watch swirling snowflakes in winter.

5. A “drop zone” connecting to the garage offers solutions for containing mess and clutter, including corralling phones and mail. The storage furniture, by Knapp Kitchens, is constructed of painted maple.

6. Floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the outdoor pool and hot tub give the family room an airy feel, even when it’s crowded with company. 

Photos courtesy of Miller + Miller Architectural Photography and Oakley Home Builders. Architect: Patrick Fortelka, Moment Design. Interior Design: Kristin Rauch Designs