Open House: Mark and Linda’s La Porte Luxury
I met Mark and Linda Heister last summer when they agreed to open their gorgeous town home to Strange Closets readers for an Open House tour. During that visit, Linda mentioned that the couple, who founded and run Mark Heister Designs, would soon be moving many of their belongings into their newly rehabbed home in La Porte, Indiana, which is just an hour’s drive from Chicago. One thing led to another and wala, I present the first Open House sequel.
The Heister’s home is sophisticated, gracious and beautiful, much like they themselves, which makes sense; rather than hire an interior designer, the creative couple chose every finish, every piece of furniture and actually completed much of the work themselves over the course of two years.
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Unlike many who would have gutted the badly maintained house, the Heister’s carefully preserved every possible detail; they restored the original kitchen cabinets, bathroom tile and much of the hardware. Their restoration philosophy applies to the furniture as well; the couple prefer antiques to new pieces, and they restored and reupholstered many of the home’s furnishings. When they couldn’t find the perfect table for their mirror-clad dining room, Mark designed his own, also mirror clad, which breaks up conveniently into several smaller tables.
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The Heister’s did make several changes; a new swimming pool replaced a poorly maintained kidney shaped one that didn’t fit the character of the grand home, and they replaced a poorly constructed and badly designed addition with a new media room. Although it was not complete at the time of this photo shoot, it’s sure to be quite a show-stopper with its leopard print wall-to-wall carpeting (growl!), red walls, large HDTV and comfortable recliners.
After seeing the Heister’s Chicago town home, my expectations were extraordinarily high, but just the foyer left me speechless. Views of the grand staircase, the formal living room and the dining room all vied for attention. The pool, which sits behind the house but in a clear line of sight from the front door, shimmered in the brilliant afternoon sun, and the bright blue water seemed to dance to the sound of the fountain – the perfect accompaniment to the cool jazz floating through the air.
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Although it was a blazing hot September afternoon, the foyer’s dark floors and walls provided a respite far better than air conditioning, which the couple dislike and prefer not to use. It was a bit like a dream; I’ve always wanted to tour a Beverly Hills mansion or to see the type of estates that Fitzgerald wrote about in classic novels like the Great Gatsby, but not anymore. My expectations would be too high, and I hate disappointment.
If you have a great space (or know somebody who does), please email me – email@example.com. Have a fun day.
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