Great Rooms Designers and Builders wins Silver Key Award for Lake Forest Home

November 16, 2011

Chicagoland Real Estate Forum congratulates Great Rooms Designers and Builders for winning a Silver Key Award in the category of “Excellence in New Construction: Custom Home 3,501 – 4,300 sq. ft.” for 1050 W. Keswick Lane, Lake Forest.

The Thakkar Residence was designed as a true Italian Renaissance home. Between the knowledge of the architect and the extensive research that the homeowners completed prior to starting design, every part of the design came down to details. The largest challenge the design brought upon us was getting past the Lake Forest’s appearance board. We were required to provide proof that every element of the design was an Italian Renaissance detail. Historical photos and photos that the homeowner had taken in Italy were displayed to prove our points. A large architectural challenge became designing a home to reflect a very specific architectural style, but keeping budget in mind and adjusting exterior materials to help meet both goals.

One of the largest components of the exterior design was symmetry. There was not tolerance for error. The windows were placed perfectly symmetrical at the exterior elevations, as well as within the interior spaces.

The interior of the home was designed to functional for a growing family (including a basement in-law suite). While symmetry on the exterior was extremely important, the interior floor plan is very asymmetric. The only requirement was that the entrance into the second floor Master Bedroom was centered on the front door.

When it came time to the design the interior components of the home, symmetry was reintroduced. Some of the cabinetry, specifically the kitchen, was designed to provide symmetry. The level of symmetrical detail came down to providing specific starting points for the tile installers in order to confirm that each shower wall would be perfect. Beyond the symmetry, the clients required a very specific color palate throughout the home. All finished, including the cabinetry, wall colors, light fixtures, and tile selections, were required to be black, gray, white or blue.

Most homeowners have spatial and aesthetic requirements when building a new home. The Thakkar’s required another level of detail. We were able to incorporate unique details including the use of Spancrete to form the garage floor. While this is common practice in commercial spaces, it is not used as often in residential. This allowed us to dig a deeper foundation below the garage, and it is now used as their home gym. A trench drain was installed in the mudroom, so when they walk in with wet and muddy shoes, the water is not pooling on the floor. A residential elevator was installed in the rear of the home in order to make it easier for the owner’s parents to travel from their basement suite to the second floor where the children’s rooms are. In the Master Bathroom, a heated floor was installed in the shower and a platform was installed between the bathtub and shower for an easy “wet-to-wet” transition.

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

Categories: Awards

About The Author

Read All Stories By Mitch Levinson

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales” published by BuilderBooks. He is an Internet marketing expert with expertise in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services. He is known for creating effective programs that can be tracked through analytics to prove effectiveness and ROI. Mitch is founder and president of MLC New Home Marketing and MLC FlatFee Realty, as well as managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, a Marketing, Communication, Interactive agency with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. He currently leads the Chicago team. A Multi-Million Dollar Sales Producer who earned an MBA in Computer Information Systems and eCommerce, he brings a unique perspective and experience to the field of real estate communications. Mitch combines the two interests in order to help home builders and developers gain a competitive advantage through the Internet and technology. When he isn’t behind a computer, he enjoys participating in sports and coaching his kids’ teams. Mitch resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, with his family, which includes two rambunctious labs. Visit my Google+ profile.

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