House Tour: Jeff & Jennifer Isbell's 1970 Half-Circle Home

House Tour: Jeff & Jennifer Isbell's 1970 Half-Circle Home

Heather Blaha
Aug 21, 2008

Name: Jeff (EE IC Designer) and Jennifer Isbell (owner of marketing firm, Terrapin Design Consultants)
Location: Lake Barrington, IL
Size: 4500 sq ft
Years lived in: 17 months, owned
Type: Handmade half-circle home built by John Brunsfeld. Completed in 1970.


The Isbell's completely unique home - both inside and out - is a case study in living with a lot of space and a lot of stuff, without being large consumers. With dream sources being "Estate Sales and TRASH Day!", we love that Jeff and Jennifer's true big purchase was the half-circle home itself. The layout presents endless challenges, but with this couple's eye for the unusual and sense of humor, the end result is both inspirational and smart: they're able to live with all the vintage stuff they love while not cramping their (spacious) style.


AT Survey:

Our style: Taking elements from the 1870's to the 1970's, with a bit of an emphasis on the 1950's, we've created a style of Transitional Maximalist Americana. We both find comfort in being surrounded by things that have belonged to others who lived before us.

Inspiration: Studies show that rats with more stuff in their cages have improved cerebral development. We both like to have a lot going on in the environment around us, and, hope for the best.

Favorite Element: Silicon

Biggest Challenge: Arranging furniture and hanging pictures in a house with very few right angles or parallel structures.

What Friends Say: "How can just the two of you take up all this space?" or "My Grandma had a lamp just like that!"

Biggest Embarrassment: The deck on the back of the house. It's on the list of projects; we're hoping it will hold everyone on the 4th of July.

Proudest DIY: The guest bath decoupage wall. It only took about 4 hours from start to finish and it cost under $100. We had no real plan and the materials included a bottle of wallpaper boarder paste, a big box of vintage ephemera from Ebay and a stack of Look and Better Home & Garden from the 50's and early 60's.

Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen walls and partially complete collection of Franciscan Starburst China and three original Warhol Paintings.

Best advice: Know when a project is "Finished" and walk away.

Dream source: Estate Sales and TRASH Day!


Kane County Flea Market

Oakton Antique Mall

Tulipia Floral Design ( )

Ikea Schaumburg, Crate & Barrel Outlet, Naperville, IL and Amy Butler for Home Deco Fabrics

Loyl Stone tile installers

Fusion Glass in Zen Cider (

Thanks, Jeff and Jennifer!

All photos: Evan Thomas

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