At home: note in mailbox leads couple to dream home of St. Charles | Home & Garden

By Jim Winnerman | Especially for mailing

While living in an older home in St. Charles, Chad and Michelle Wiegmann frequently drove through the nearby Lake Forest Subdivision and dreamed of living there. Five years ago, they even picked a lakeside residence they preferred on a whim, and Michelle put a note in the mailbox asking homeowners to contact her if they were ever interested in selling.

Two days later, a very unexpected email came from the owners; They had talked about the sale. A sale was arranged within two weeks. Three months later, the Wiegmanns moved in and their dream unexpectedly became a reality.

While the 4,800-square-foot, six-bedroom, six-bathroom home offered ample space for her family, the outside area lacked any amenities to enjoy the 2.5 acres of lawn that slopes gently to a large lake.

A slate deck with a hot tub and fire pit was added next to the three-season glass-enclosed room off the kitchen. Then a second outdoor entertainment area was installed, nestled into the side of a hill 50 feet outside the courtyard. With two separate seating areas and a large freestanding red brick outdoor fireplace, the free-form terrace is accessed via an elegant flagstone walkway.

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Last summer, Chad and his son built a wooden dock so they can fish along the shoreline where their property meets the lake.

An outdoor deck off the kitchen sunroom features a hot tub and fire pit. A walkway leads to a separate outdoor area.

Hillary Levin

“A pool is still a dream at this point,” says Michelle.

They made only minimal cosmetic changes inside. The carpeting has been replaced to match the original hardwood floor which has been sanded and restained. Kitchen cabinets were painted and new white quartz kitchen countertops were installed. A single front entry door with side lights was replaced with two six pane doors to create a more welcoming entrance and allow more natural light into the foyer.

“One day I want to put the kitchen wall back to make more kitchen space,” says Michelle. “Family and friends always meet here. I also want to remove the step up jacuzzi tub in the master bath and install a large shower.”

Family is celebrated throughout the house. The words of the song the couple danced to at their wedding are framed and rendered in calligraphy. Black and white family photos are preferred over other works of art. “Our kids are growing up so fast that I just add new family photos and don’t replace the old ones,” says Michelle.

In a perennial garden in the courtyard, cuts of grandparents’ peonies and a fig bush thrive. Wooden kitchen utensils from grandparents are used and bring back good memories. An oil painting of the family is displayed on the mantelpiece in the living room.

Two of the rooms in the house are used in a non-traditional way. The study has become the dining room with a round table for eight people. “A round table makes for better and easier conversations,” says Michelle.

What was intended as a dining room, Michelle describes as a “Random Room”. It is the location of her office, the bar, a music area for her daughter’s piano and guitar, and a bookshelf with books about travel destinations the couple has visited.

The upstairs master bedroom features sweeping lake views and a king-size bed with four rows of combinable pillows. “When my husband makes the bed, he never puts the pillows back on,” says Michelle, laughing.

At home with Michelle and Chad Wiegmann in St. Charles

The living room has two seating areas. At the other end, two bean bags connect two armchairs in the area where the family likes to watch TV. Family photos adorn the wall behind the leather couch in the other part of the living room.

Hillary Levin

Five more bedrooms are located on the second level, one used as Chad’s office and another as a guest bedroom.

Michelle, who runs her own home decor business, doesn’t like the look of a cluttered room, but she does collect blue and white ginger jars and candle holders. Both are grouped to create a point of interest in a room but are not scattered on different surfaces.

“I only bring things into my home that I feel connected to,” she says. “I never decorate just to fill an empty wall.”

Then she adds: “I think I’ll stay here forever.”

At home with Michelle and Chad Wiegmann in St. Charles

The Wiegmann family of St. Charles, from left, Piper, 14, Michelle, Finley, 11, Calvin, 9, and Chad. Dog Sully is front and center.

Hillary Levin


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