Walk full of wonders benefits Woodlands
Millie Hall and Harriet Onan, both of Lake Forest | Laura Pavin~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:02AM
Even veterans of the annual Winter Wonderwalk were speechless with delight this year.
The Mothers Club of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest can rest on their laurels, or rather evergreens, for a moment after welcoming nearly 900 alumni, area residents and housewalking connoisseurs to the 36th annual Winter Wonderwalk on Dec. 5.
Stars of the event were four of Lake Forest’s magnificent homes and estates, each uniquely and sumptuously decorated for the holidays.
The event, held to benefit the Woodlands Academy’s scholarship fund, had guests marveling at garland-wrapped staircases, nutcracker-adorned bookcases and holly-decked halls of a 1946 stately Georgian, an 1892 gracious red brick Georgian, a 1995 country French and a 1917 classic English Renaissance.
Before and after perusing the homes, guests visited the temporary boutique that was set up in the school to accommodate almost 50 different vendors selling fine embroidered gifts and textiles, unique jewelry and Christmas-themed decorations for the home.
“We’re really happy that it brings a lot of people back each year ... it’s kind of like a homecoming weekend,” said Laura Curley, director of Advancement.
While many alumni came back to support their alma mater and see familiar faces and houses, others came to get a closer look at some of Chicago’s most historic and seemingly mysterious North Shore homes.
“It’s just beautiful — I think I could just move in and spend the rest of the day here,” said Glenview resident Linda Pittner, of the house tour.
Though vacant and minimally furnished — with the exception of Romancing the Home interior decorator Susan Hawthorne’s additional holiday décor — the legendary Schweppe Estate was arguably the most impressive home featured on the walk; the roughly 95-year-old estate was originally built as a wedding gift for the daughter of John G. Shedd, who was then Marshall Field & Company’s president and chairman of the Board.
Designed by Frederick Wainwright Perkins, a favored architect for many of Chicago’s founding families, the 27-room, 28,000 square-foot English Renaissance home was filled with ornate chandeliers, Tiffany-era glass, intricately designed ceilings and carved hardwood paneling.
Woodlands Academy Events Coordinator Tami Rocha said that the event raised $76,000.