09 November, 2010

Three Acres

Last night I was apprised (from a lovely lady named Linda with whom I have been corresponding) that the three acre parcel on which Villa Turicum itself once stood (and still containing the lily pond and terraces to the lake) finally sold this past April. I knew it was still on the market as of last September - as it had been since it's initial offering in late 2007.

The Debruin home, with the restored lily pond in the foreground.

I've always remained quiet about Ronald and Carole Debruin, who built their home on the lot in 1977. They also set about restoring what remained of Villa Turicum after the bulldozers and developers had made their earlier mark. (I kept quiet because I respect privacy; as I was developing a website devoted to the lost estate I could appreciate the need, thus I never published a picture of their home until now.)

The 52 foot entrance hall of the 13-room house, which has five bedrooms, and a family room that opens onto a bluestone terrace. (Bluestone was a material of choice in the construction of Villa Turicum, and many remnants have been incorporated into some of the surrounding homes in the area.)

Villa Turicum justifiably has a small cult following, and I'm sure that the Debruins had their share of people literally knocking on the front door with questions. None-the-less, they set about lovingly restoring the lily pond, gardens, and most extraordinary; the watercourse to the lake. I heard that they collected bits and pieces of stone that remained scattered about the bluffs and on the beach. Without the Debruins, who knows what could have happened to those remaining features; after all it was 1977, and we all know how preservation took a back seat back then.

One of the many staircases (now restored) that descend the property’s 75-foot-high bluff to Villa Turicum's (former) beach-side swimming pool.

The same staircase as it existed in the late 1920's.

Three years is a long time for a property to be on the market, and it is somewhat ironic given that Villa Turicum itself languished for about thirty years after Edith's death in 1932 and many attempts to revitalize it. Carol Debruin was quite poignant about matters back in 2007. When asked what was in the plan for she and her husband (a radiologist at Lake Forest Hospital) she said: "We've raised our four children. We spend a lot of time in the city anyway, and we can leave this house. But how do we leave this property?”

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