Arthur Dennis Stevens received an unexpected accolade in December when one of his creations that was built more than three decades ago was chosen as Wall Street Journal readers favorite out of 200 homes for sale. Price tag? $2 million.
Stevens has designed and constructed more than 230 buildings in the United States and Jamaica over the past 60 years, including houses, offices, schools and commercial spaces.
The 82-year-old architect, an Illinois native who has lived in Idaho since 1995, is still going strong.
His firm, Architectural Enterprises Ltd., is currently remodeling a three-story log house and designing four houses in the Robie Springs subdivision.
Im doing what I love to do, Stevens said.
The 5,750-square-foot house at 7 Timberline Lane in Riverwoods, Ill. about 25 miles north of Chicago was chosen by 52,633 Wall Street Journal readers as their favorite among 49 House of the Week finalists to be named House of the Year. All of the houses were on the market in 2012.
I feel like Im on The Voice, or the X Factor, Stevens joked about the public vote on the merit of his work. I dont know that many people in the world.
It was exciting because I didnt know anything about it, he said.
The finalist houses ranged in price from $895,000 to $44 million. The Stevens-designed house, which has four bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, is currently priced at just under $2 million.
Despite the passing of more than 30 years, Stevens remembers the project well.
Theyre all my babies. Theyre all my kids. I can tell you anything you want to know about the house, Stevens said in a phone interview Wednesday from the Colorado Springs airport.
The two-story cedar-and-stone house has a curved pagoda-style roof and an 8-foot-square skylight. It sits on two wooded acres near a 550-acre wildlife preserve and the Des Plaines River.
Its such a beautiful site, and so private, you could put in whole walls of glass, he said.
And thats what he did.
Pretty much the entire exterior is windows, said listing agent Tracy Wurster of Prudential Rubloff Properties in Lake Forest, Ill., in a phone interview Thursday.
Stevens said a mountain of earth and gravel was brought in to raise the level of the house, in part to add an extra measure of safety near the river but also for aesthetic reasons. Winding steps in the front of the house lead to the main entryway, which is actually the second floor.
The houses great room has a 40-foot ceiling plenty of room for a rubber tree that has grown to 30 feet since the house was built. The tree isnt in a planter; its in the floor.
One of Stevens aesthetic objectives is to make it hard to differentiate whether youre outside or inside.
You have to work with nature, he said.
Stevens designed the house in 1978 for Joyce Marcus, owner of a marketing and design company. She has lived there since it was completed in 1981.
Marcus did not return a call to the Statesman.
She told the Journal that she and husband, Gary Janowitz, are selling the house so they can divide their time between Florida and downtown Chicago.
Wurster said the couple put the house on the market about a year ago for about $2.7 million. They dropped the price a few months ago.
Wurster said her phone has been ringing off the hook since last week, when the Journal named it House of the Year.
Stevens is tickled with the attention the house has received. He said he takes pride in knowing that a house built so long ago is still contemporary in peoples minds.
Its quite different, he said. Its not a standard house.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413