Anne Bodine had been casually admiring a house in northwest Evanston for years. “I was always driving down the street and noticed this house,” she says of the English Cotswold-style home with weeping mortar. “It called out to me. It’s not the biggest house on the block; it’s not the fanciest. In fact, it’s probably the smallest.” But it was larger than her previous abode, which she shared with husband Sam, two sons and a daughter. “The boys were getting bigger and the walls were starting to close in on us,” she says. Along with needing more space for her growing brood, Bodine, a freelance writer, wanted to stay in the same community, but be closer to Lake Michigan.
Once the house was theirs, Bodine needed help to execute her vision and make the house the magical space she knew it could be. She called Jodi Morton, a friend from the seventh grade who conveniently owns 2to5 Design (2to5design.com), and who has lots of experience with adapting older homes for modern families. “She takes the space and the architecture into consideration and, most importantly, the family who lives in the home,” says Bodine. “She’s a people person. She really understood us quickly and knew what we wanted.” The designer admired the architectural details of the four-bedroom, almost 3,000-square-foot home built in 1926: arched entryways, old plastered walls, creaky wood floors and, most especially, unusual moldings. “In the dining room, there’s unique rope molding,” she says. “It’s plaster. We would never take it down.”