Colonial Charm

June 2021 View more

When they moved to the Chicago area in 2004, it was the height of the teardown era in downtown Naperville. And although Mitch and Mimi Stauffer loved the walkability of their first home here, they ultimately decided they would like to have a larger lot. “We moved into the downtown and really enjoyed that,” says Mitch, “but the reality was that we didn’t have a yard.” So the Stauffers grabbed two of the four lots acquired by Charleston Building and Development ( just three miles away, and started designing their retirement home.
The couple met with architect Chris Derrick ( to design a Colonial-style home with timeless appeal and modern touches. Charleston’s in-house designer Nicole Weiland coordinated execution of the team’s vision with Casey McCormick (

Because of the lot’s corner location, Derrick designed the home for maximum privacy using a J-shaped configuration, including wide garages to protect the rest of the property. “The entry to the backyard looks like an old stable,” says Derrick. “There is a gable over the arch, with a cupola on the top. We did something very similar on the back of the house with the sunroom. That’s my favorite room.”

The red brick water table that wraps around the exterior grounds the house. Carrying that look through to the pool pavers was a way to add continuity, says designer Casey McCormick.

“We have two grandkids who live in Indianapolis,” says Mimi Stauffer, “and when they are here they love the pool and the hot tub. The way the house is built around the pool gives us some nice privacy.”

A cupola provides architectural detail and natural light in Mitch Stauffer’s private office below.

“We wanted the everyday rooms in the house to still feel special,” says designer Casey McCormick. The farmhouse sink is a unique element in the laundry room, giving the feel of an older home. Large hexagon color-block tiles also give a nod to the past, but in a contemporary way with the increased scale.

A daybed on the second-floor landing creates a cozy reading nook that overlooks the front of the house. “I love the way the bookcases and lighting create a more intimate feel,” says McCormick, “and how the chandelier could be appreciated from inside, as well as the outside. The window design was an element that we repeated in the primary bath and Mimi’s office to create interest with a traditional detail.”

Timber trusses with arched bottoms create a breathtaking design element in the great room, flanking the patio doors and second-floor balcony. “I did a similar design at Wheaton College,” says architect Chris Derrick. “Trimworks out of Elburn did the work—they are just phenomenal.” Derrick laid out the great room so the fireplace and cooktop on either end anchor the center line of the vaulted space.

Photos courtesy Derrick Architecture, Office Furniture Solutions