Empty Nesters Downsize to Surprisingly Spacious Ranch in Mill Creek

March 03, 2012

Dreams do come true: Just ask Dennis and Jan Chojnacki, who recently moved into the “Prairie” ranch in the Tanna neighborhood of Mill Creek – Shodeen Homes’ master-planned community in Geneva.

After becoming empty nesters—and, excitingly, grandparents—in recent years, the Chojnackis desired to unburden themselves of a home that was too large and high-maintenance for their needs. They had built a new two-story from scratch in a pleasant neighborhood of St. Charles back in 2000, but once their children moved out, they felt ready to make a change and transition comfortably into a ranch residence.

Dennis and Jan Chojnacki recently moved into the “Prairie” ranch in the Tanna neighborhood of Mill Creek – Shodeen Homes’ master-planned community in Geneva. At Tanna buyers can select from several distinctive single-family to-be-built home styles base priced from the upper $200,000s as well as a variety of inventory homes.

“It was quite apparent that our yard was getting to be too much to take care of and there was a lot of space in our house we weren’t utilizing. Our goal was to enjoy a single-level lifestyle in a flexible and functional new home and reduce our living space by about 1,200 or so square feet,” said Jan, who runs her own interior design business. “We didn’t want to choose a condo or townhome, as we preferred the privacy of a detached home.”

Earlier in 2011, they began their tireless research with the assistance of their son and a local Realtor on listing their house and hunting for an ideal substitute within the western suburbs. They explored the resale market and visited with a few new home builders and their communities, but were not wowed by the homes they toured. Their daughter recommended they check out Mill Creek, where she had previously purchased.

Dennis and Jan made their first trip to Shodeen’s golf course residential community in August and were impressed by the wide selection of designs available and the ample community amenities on display.

“We took a close look at the Prairie model for sale in their Tanna neighborhood, and we liked what we saw, but thought it would need a few modifications for our lifestyle,” said Dennis. “Joelle Tilche, Sales Manager for Shodeen Homes, worked closely with us, and had us make a wish list of things we desired, such as repainting the interiors, replacing a few light fixtures and adding a backyard fence. Joelle made herself available 24/7 answering any questions or concerns….she really understood what we were looking for!  But then came the potential ‘deal breaker’….a quick closing date!”

Having sold their home in early July the Chojnackis had been living with their daughter.

“We were growing weary of sleeping on an air mattress, living out of our suitcases and paying for storage. We knew it was a tall task, but our objective was to close before Thanksgiving,” said Jan. “Every mortgage company we tried to work with said this was impossible, but Joelle came to our rescue. She arranged a quick closing with Wells-Fargo, and less than three weeks from going to contract, we had closed on our new home.”

And what a home it is, featuring three bedrooms, three full baths, a kitchen generously appointed with 42-inch maple cabinets and Corian countertops, family room equipped with a brick fireplace, dining room, study, laundry room, large foyer, full finished basement, screened-in back porch, and three-car attached garage. While the 2,086-square-foot Prairie is nearly 1,100 square feet smaller than their previous home (not including basement space), it actually flows more efficiently and is ideally sized for the Chojnacki’s lifestyle, Dennis said.

“And there were many upgrades and options already built into this model home for sale, such as upgraded showers, a tile backsplash, hardwood floors, and a deluxe trim package,” said Jan. “The exterior has a Frank Lloyd Wright feel, with its front stone columns, nice, big covered front porch, extra light coming through the windows, and overall warm feeling. It’s exactly what we wanted.”

Additionally, their new residence overlooks the Tanna Farms golf course, providing a picturesque vista of Mother Nature.

“This feels like a year-round summer home—like we’re on vacation every day,” said Dennis, who added that he’s looking forward to making man caves out of the study and garage.

Ask Jan and she’ll tell you that her nicely appointed kitchen, however, is the heart of their home and source of her greatest pride.

“Shodeen paid great attention to detail in crafting this home, and it shows,” said Jan, who can’t wait to entertain family and friends in her new digs and meet more of her friendly neighbors. “We can’t say enough about the workmanship as well as the quality service we were given by Joelle and her team, who really made this happen for us.”

At Tanna, one of several Mill Creek neighborhoods, buyers can select from several distinctive luxury single-family to-be-built floorplans, base priced from the upper $200,000s.

Additionally, shoppers can pick from a number of inventory homes available for early delivery, each of which comes with significant upgrades like hardwood floors, fully sodded homesite and 42” cabinets, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops in the kitchen. To view a list of the latest move-in-ready homes at Tanna, visit

“Mill Creek provides a country club lifestyle, offering 36 collective holes of golf, on-site schools,   retailers and quality-built residences spread across several different neighborhoods,” said Joelle Tilche, General Sales Manager for Shodeen Residential.

Residents love Mill Creek’s two premier golf courses providing breathtaking views—including Tanna Golf Club, which recently expanded from a nine- to 18-hole course; Village Center offering convenient on-site retailers, such as a grocery store, dry cleaners and a dentist; a clubhouse and outdoor swimming pool; a restaurant; a church; and highly ranked schools for children to attend within Geneva Community Unit School District #304, including Mill Creek Elementary and Fabyan Elementary.

“Approximately 800 acres of the master-planned community—45 percent—is open space dedicated to outdoor recreation and ecological preservation,” Tilche added.

Mill Creek features 127 acres of preserved wetlands, 195 acres of open parks and 17 miles of nature and bike trails. The property also is loaded with mature trees, picturesque lakes and ponds, scenic landscaping, lush grasslands and rolling hills with up to 80-foot elevations.

Homeowners relish Mill Creek’s scenic location, which is easy to reach and conveniently accessible to popular destinations—from historic downtown Geneva to Randall Road shopping to the Metra train station just minutes away. The nearby Geneva Commons shopping center also has a variety of shops, stores and restaurants, including Williams-Sonoma, Ann Taylor, Pottery Barn and Banana Republic. And a Super Wal-Mart is within a mile’s drive.

To reach Mill Creek, take I-88 west to Orchard Rd.; exit north 2.4 miles to Randall Rd. light; left (north) 3.3 miles to Fabyan Pkwy. light then west 1.5 miles to entrance and models at 0N305 North Mill Creek Dr. Or take I-90 west and exit Randall Rd. south to Fabyan Pkwy.; Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Phone 630-232-8181 for more information or visit

About The Author

Read All Stories By Walsh Communications

Lynn Walsh is the President at Walsh Communications, LLC. Walsh Communications is a full-service public relations, marketing and advertising agency for home builders and real estate-related industries.

Leave a Comment