Fearless Creators

January 2022 View more

By Kari Richardson

Mimi Collins becomes acquainted with dozens of houses as part of her job as a real estate agent, but she doesn’t fall in love too often.

However, when a 1928 Hinsdale Tudor came on the market, Collins was smitten. Much of the charm of the home, which was designed by renowned architect R. Harold Zook, was still intact.

“I’ve always loved this house,” Collins says of the space she purchased and now shares with husband, Dan. She ticks off her favorite features, including leaded glass windows, original molding, and carved wooden doors.

The home had great bones, but Collins envisioned updating it for modern life, with elements such as central air conditioning and a more user-friendly layout. And she had the perfect partner in mind for the transformation: Chicago-
based Project Interiors, a firm she’d worked with previously. Collins, who owns a La Grange–based furniture and home accessories store called Anecdote, has a keen eye for design herself and enjoys working on renovations.

Collins and Project Interiors worked together to repurpose rooms and open up the nooks and crannies common to old houses. A garage became usable living space and an edgy, modern kitchen is now the perfect place to entertain. The home is now 4,100 square feet with three bedrooms and three baths, plus the coach house.

“Mimi is fearless,” says Aimee Wertepny, principal and designer at Project. “She loves the thrill of turning properties on their head.” 

Vaulted ceilings and exposed beams in the primary bedroom look as if they’ve always been there.

Crisp white drapery from Carnegie Fabrics lends a clean, bright feeling.

A mohair-paneled bed from RH and vintage black-lacquered bedside tables are right at home in the charming Hinsdale cottage.

For this gut renovation project Michael Abraham Architecture maintained the original intent, character, and charm of the cottage-style home, originally designed by R. Harold Zook. Out back, a snaking perennial garden by Coventry Gardens and a bluestone patio lead the way to the coach house that was built to match the Tudor charm of the main home. 

The kitchen features a La Cornue range, Sub-Zero appliances, a custom hood, and gray-stained walnut cabinetry by O’Brien Harris. Glass pendant lights from 1stDibs illuminate the island workspace. Honed white Lincoln Calacatta marble countertops from Mario Lemoncello and open metal wall shelving complete the look.

The project scope included a 1,100-square-foot coach house for guests. In the open kitchenette, Project concealed appliances from Bosch and Sub-Zero behind black-stained oak bottom cabinets topped with leathered granite countertops. Instead of an island, a round 1920s industrial table from Neybir in Chicago, paired with Lucite and brass-accented chairs from Scout Design Studio in Dallas, centers the space. On the open shelves, sconces from Cedar and Moss illuminate a collection of clay pots, and a pair of pendant lights by Kelly Wearstler for Visual Comfort connects the kitchen and living room spaces overhead.

Photos by Aimée Mazzenga