A Tony Grunsfeld home in Highland Park

 2087 WIndy Hill Ln Highland Park IL

Ernest Alton "Tony" Grunsfeld III has designed dozens of homes along the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. Most are in the distinctively modern idiom exhibited in the newly-listed Highland Park home pictured above.

The 5 bedroom, 7 ½ bath home is priced at $1,599,000 and listed by Julie Deutsch of Coldwell Banker.

So what's with that rather forbidding façade? Grunsfeld explains, in his oral history at the Art Institute.

"I think houses are very private. That's where you go hide, that's where you're with your family, where you can take your shoes off and be comfortable. I think that's sort of the idea of the gate and the moat and drawbridge. Then there's the lake and the ravine or a beautiful garden that is all your private space. I think [my] houses are intentionally closed in the front. I'm not sure they're unfriendly. They are certainly private."

Last summer I did a video walk through a Tony Grunsfeld home in Winnetka. See part one and part two at YouTube.


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  • Grunsfeld has had a stellar career, and from the 1970s through to the turn of the century, he was THE architect of choice for a certain spectrum of the North Shore's richest. [All I will say about the developer houses based on his designs, like this one here, are not among his finest work.] While his custom built houses fell into kind of a predictable formula late in the game, his overall portfolio is wildly impressive. And the forbidding facades are exactly the point -- it's all about what's behind the front door, in the private domain of the people who live there, not for the enjoyment of passers-by.

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