In the mail, a few weeks back, I received an envelope with some photocopies and a letter from Arthur Miller Jr., the Archivist and Librarian for Special Collections the Donnelley Library at Lake Forest (Illinois) College. I love surprises, and this was one.
The photocopies were from an article from the September 1940 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The article, written by Maurine Shaw Holloway is titled "A Snug Little House on a Budget". The house is a colonial style, designed by John Van Bergen in 1938.
The note from Mr. Miller informed me that the house was still standing. Needless to say, I found my way out to Lake Forest at the earliest opportunity. The house remains in excellent condition. The small dwelling has had an excellent addition put on the back in recent years. The high quality of the design of the addition has surely played an important role in preventing the structure from being torn down.
Even though, at first, it looked like a common sort of "colonial" from that period in the 30's, my first view of the exterior house was not a bit disappointing. It contained several, very subtle Van Bergen characteristics. I was so fortunate (and grateful) that the owner was home and he allowed me in to take some photos. I was stunned when I walked into the living room! Van Bergen managed to create another one of his magnificent spaces in a very small structure. Like so many of his other designs, I was amazed at how the exterior gave no hint of the dramatic open space within!
I'll let these pictures and the article below tell the story. I thank Meredith Corporation, the owner of Better Homes and Gardens ® magazine, for permission to re-print this article.