Great Rooms Designers and Builders win Gold Key Award for Libertyville Home

November 16, 2011

Chicagoland Real Estate Forum congratulates Great Rooms Designers and Builders for winning a Gold Key Award in the category of “Excellence in Remodeling: Whole House $200,001 – 500,000 per unit” for 533 Brainerd Ave., Libertyville.

Historical Records estimate that the Swearingin Residence was originally build between 1900 and 1906. It is located in Libertyville’s historic neighborhood. When the walls were opened up during demolition, the lumber was all stamped with the year 1904. It is rumored that it was one of the first homes in the area with electricity. At some point around 1940 the home was converted into a 2-flat. When the Swearingin’s purchased the home in late 2010, they wanted to convert it back to a single-family home.

One of the challenges involved in restoring the home was the Kitchen. Over 100+ years the way that a Kitchen is used has significantly changed. It is currently one of the most used spaces in a home, but in this case, it is also a small space. It was important to utilize every inch of space for storage, but it was equally important to incorporate design details that were period appropriate.

The first design component was the cabinetry. The use of clean lines, inset doors, and molding details helped to accomplish our goals. Bringing the cabinets up to the ceiling was a key to maximizing storage and added an area for the owner to display decorative pieces. The range was selected based on its aesthetic appeal. While it still utilizes modern stainless steel, the lines and details also lend themselves to the early 1900s. Natural stone counter tops were a requirement from the owner. While marble would have given a more period-appropriate aesthetic, it wasn’t practical for a family of five. The sue of light granite with veining helped us keep a soft look that would be durable for their everyday use. The use of a walnut top on the island added a touch of contrast and a great design element. The most unique touch in the kitchen is the glass upper cabinets. The original windows were saved and the glass was cut down for re-use.

The Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago Key Awards were created in 1972 to recognize excellence in housing design, architecture, interior merchandising, remodeling and landscaping. It has since evolved into one of the premier housing programs in the country.

To see more Key and Sammy Award winners, visit

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