Resident Artist

May 2018 View more

Love of the land prompted Chris and Marsha Mead to purchase a home backing up to the forest preserve and DuPage River, but it would require substantial renovations. Downers Grove-based Oakley Home Builders helped them create an open-concept, updated space that works for their family of six. “The house had a great footprint,” says Marsha, “but needed to be remodeled to fit our lifestyle.”

Living Room
Chris, who makes a new piece of art each year for Marsha’s birthday, designed this large canvas stretched over a custom frame. Each of their four children—Morgan, 15; Anderson, 13; Nathan, 7; and Mackenzie, 6—painted one of the removable inserts.

Capital Lighting’s City fixture ($354) from Hinsdale Lighting

“The fireplace is definitely an architectural focal point,” says Marsha. The chimney is covered in the same blue metal, so the fireplace looks continuous from outside to inside.

Chris also made the metal tree at the entrance to the dining room. Each leaf was painted and signed by a friend and the four birds were done by the children.

Floor-to-ceiling replacement windows by Pella offer views of Churchill Woods, which contains one of DuPage County’s few remaining native prairies. The home’s ample lot accommodates a large fire pit and sports court.

Chris used birch logs and a custom piece of glass to create their one-of-a-kind kitchen table. White cabinets were chosen as part of the industrial contemporary design to give the room a farmhouse feel that fits with the outside surroundings. After removing a solid wall between the kitchen and living room, they installed a glass wine wall to hide the support beam. “We had seen something similar in a restaurant in Europe,” Marsha says.

Originally, the second floor had a very narrow hallway. “We decided to completely change the configuration,” says Marsha. “We were able to add the loft and still had room for five bedrooms.” The added living space is used by the kids for watching TV or playing games before bed.