1922 Chicagoland Chateau: David Adler’s La Lanterne Versailles Inspired Mansion

We’ll revisit this fantasy tour of a chateau in my neck of the woods which was on the market when first I discovered it. The home was renovated and appeared on the market again in 2020 before it sold about a year ago. Known as the David Adler La Lanterne Mansion or Carolyn Morse Ely Estate, no matter what you call the breathtaking French country home, it’s a treasure!

David Adler La Lanterne in Lake Bluff, IL

David Adler La Lanterne Mansion: Carolyn Morse Ely Estate

Photos: JS Eckert

This sprawling estate in Lake Bluff, Illinois sold in January 2022, and you can peek inside (below):

This magnificent historic Lake Bluff home by David Adler is also known as La Lanterne: The Carolyn Morse Ely Estate.

Curious about the original La Lanterne property inspiring Adler to build this home for a wealthy Chicagoan in the 1920s? Me too! Here it is in France:

La Lanterne is a presidential residence at Versailles in France. Photo: Amboise Tézenas.
La Lanterne in Versailles; Photo by Ambroise Tézenas from Presidential Residences (Flammarion 2021); The simplicity of this building with a courtyard in front and a garden in back embodies the essence of an elegant, French-style home, which greatly appealed to the American tenants who first began to restore the premises.

Its name came from the amount of light it welcomed through the many windows and French doors. I’m anxious to see more of this beautiful if not mysterious Presidential residence which is one of the gems inside this book:

Book cover, Presidential Residences
Text Adrien Goetz, Photography Ambroise Tézenas
Published by Flammarion 2021
Presidential Residences Text Adrien Goetz, Photography Ambroise Tézenas Published by Flammarion 2021

Carolyn Morse Ely, this Lake Bluff home’s original owner was the daughter of steel tycoon Jay C. Morse, who commissioned Mr. Adler to build it.

David Adler La Lanterne Mansion in Lake Bluff, IL - front exterior.

Here is a more detailed glimpse of the front entrance:

David Adler La Lanterne Mansion in Lake Bluff, IL - front exterior.

Have another peek…

Such grand proportions and expansive outdoor areas!

French country chateau in Lake Bluff Illinois - La Lanterne is a David Adler masterpiece of a home. Come see more of its exquisite interior design and outdoor gardens. #frenchchateau #housetour #davidadler

House Tour: Chicagoland Chateau Entry

The home was renovated and re-decorated with more modern French style, and it’s interesting to see how it changed. Paint colors in the entry changed from this before:

David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.
Entry at David Adler La Lanterne Mansion before renovation

to this more modern take:

Breathtaking entry in a French chateau in Lake Bluff Illinois - La Lanterne is a David Adler masterpiece of a home. Come see more of its exquisite interior design and outdoor gardens. #frenchchateau #housetour #davidadler

That lantern in La Lanterne! What a difference trim color changes make!

David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

The History Center of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff notes:

French country chateau in Lake Bluff Illinois - La Lanterne is a David Adler masterpiece of a home. Come see more of its exquisite interior design and outdoor gardens. #frenchchateau #housetour #davidadler

“The footprint for the main house was based on the Pavilion de la Lanterne, an 18th-century hunting lodge at Versailles.” Hunting lodge? La Lanterne may have started life as a modest three room hunting lodge, but it bloomed into something far more grand in the forests of Versailles. Decades later, La Lanterne was expanded and eventually became a secondary residence for the Prime Minister.

Back to Illinois…

A grand home based on the Pavilion de la Lanterne at Versailles - David Adler home in Lake Bluff, IL.

“Formal rooms are en enfilade, or long line, as the public part of the house is only one room deep.”

David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.
Prior to renovation – La Lanterne Mansion by David Adler

“Adler filled the 7,200-square foot mansion with items he picked up in Europe including French paneling…

Chinese murals in paneled French country interior. David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

limestone mantels…

David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

and antique Chinese wallpaper.”

Chinese mural in beautiful French country 1920s estate. David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

What an amazing collection of treasures for this home.

David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

After studying for three semesters at Technische Universität München in Germany, Adler attended at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1906-1911.

An avid cyclist, he traveled to the countryside of France, Italy, and England to visit country houses and collect postcards.

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Who is David Adler?

Adler was an American architect born in 1882, who largely practiced around Chicago. He attended Princeton for college then traveled around Europe studying the architecture.

Dark grey doors and marble floors in French chateau in Lake Bluff Illinois - La Lanterne is a David Adler masterpiece of a home. Come see more of its exquisite interior design and outdoor gardens. #frenchchateau #housetour #davidadler

Over his career, he designed 45 country houses, 27 of them in Chicagoland.

Gardens and pool. David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

The gardens and lawns are just breathtaking.

French country chateau in Lake Bluff Illinois - La Lanterne is a David Adler masterpiece of a home. Come see more of its exquisite interior design and outdoor gardens. #frenchchateau #housetour #davidadler

Exquisite Wood Paneling in La Lanterne

So much patina-ed beauty from the paneling and limestone fireplaces which remain.

Beautifully crafted wood paneled walls in a French chateau by David Adler known as the Carolyn More Ely House. Come see the tour of this amazing historic home for sale.

The Roaring Twenties were David Adler’s most prosperous season. Adler donated his home (a renovated farmhouse in Libertyville, IL) and acreage to the Village of Libertyville, and the Adler Arts Center is now a community treasure.

French Stone Fireplaces

This dining area may be a breakfast room near the kitchen:

Dining room with paneling in a French country interior with fireplace. David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

What a difference freshening the wall colors can make. After the renovation, this cozy fireside space:

Beautiful limestone fireplace in a French chateau by David Adler known as the Carolyn More Ely House. Come see the tour of this amazing historic home for sale.
After

Here’s the space in an earlier iteration:

Light green on walls and check furnishings. David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.
Before

Still cozy with those green checks! And speaking of coastal French blues and greens…

Delicious Pastel French Blue-Green at the Chateau

These pastels bring to mind pretty elegant colors favored by Marie Antoinette, Ritz Paris or Laduree bakeries…

Delicious pastel French green in a bedroom. David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

As scrumptious as macarons and so historically feminine and romantic.

Delicious pastel French green in a bedroom. David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

Would you, could you, imagine painting a space in your home this hue?

David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

See THIS for ideas for greens if you love European inspired examples.

Modern French Renovation in David Adler Mansion

I wonder what David Adler would think about this gorgeous modern French renovation?

Modern and spare mostly white kitchen and breakfast room in a French chateau by David Adler known as the Carolyn More Ely House. Come see the tour of this amazing historic home for sale.
AFTER

While the sun room appears to be staged with under-sized furnishings, you can’t miss the beauty of this simple space with all those glorious windows. And the lantern pendant!

White sofa and rattan chairs on a porch with herringbone pavers in La Lanterne in Lake Bluff, IL.
AFTER

Here’s how this room looked in years prior:

Sun room before renovation - David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.
BEFORE

Understated Elegance

This lantern pendant reminds me of VC’s French Market one I have long admired:

In fact, much of the lighting chosen for the renovation looks classic, European inspired, and consistent with original fixtures.

After graduating from Princeton in 1904, David Adler traveled extensively, mostly to study the architecture of Europe.

Beautiful classic white kitchen with butcher block center island in a French chateau by David Adler known as the Carolyn More Ely House. Come see the tour of this amazing historic home for sale.
AFTER

He brought back all of that passion for French country houses. Here is how the modern French renovated kitchen looked before renovation:

Kitchen before renovation. David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.

It appears the original cabinets were salvaged for the renovation…what an undertaking!

Kitchen before renovation. David Adler La Lanterne Mansion is a 1922 historic home in Lake Bluff with French inspired architecture and interiors.
BEFORE

Beautiful Original Kitchen Sinks

Are we seeing double? How do you feel about the modern feel of this home’s kitchen?

Beautiful classic white kitchen with butcher block center island in a French chateau by David Adler known as the Carolyn More Ely House. Come see the tour of this amazing historic home for sale.

The palette is very restrained, and what a dream to work in this kitchen.

Psst. I recognized the Kelly Wearstler designed Precision pendants (above) over the island immediately.

Beautiful classic white kitchen with butcher block center island in a French chateau by David Adler known as the Carolyn More Ely House. Come see the tour of this amazing historic home for sale.

Where was I in our history lesson about Adler’s early career? When the architect returned to the United States, he joined Howard Van Doren Shaw in Chicago.

Beautiful classic white kitchen with butcher block center island in a French chateau by David Adler known as the Carolyn More Ely House. Come see the tour of this amazing historic home for sale.

Shaw was considered the foremost architect of country houses in the Chicago area. After six months, Adler opened an office in Orchestra Hall with Henry Dangler, a friend from Paris.

Graceful & Modern Renovated Staircase

Beautiful renovated modern French grand staircase with wrought iron railings, and stained wood steps. La Lanterne by David Adler in Lake Bluff, IL.

The architects secured commissions for country estates for William E. Clow, Jr., Ralph Poole, Benjamin Niels, Morris E. Berney, David B. Jones, and Charles B. Pike.

Beautiful renovated modern French grand staircase with wrought iron railings, and stained wood steps. La Lanterne by David Adler in Lake Bluff, IL.

Since Adler never received an architectural license (he failed the exam in 1917), Dangler signed off on his drawings since he was not legally a registered architect.

Charming Gardens at the Mansion

Breathtaking French gardens and outdoor dining at La Lanterne, a grand home designed by David Adler.

After Dangler’s death in 1917, Adler partnered with Robert Work.

Breathtaking French gardens and outdoor dining at La Lanterne, a grand home designed by David Adler.

The following year, Adler purchased and remodeled a farmhouse in Libertyville built in 1864.

Breathtaking French gardens and outdoor dining at La Lanterne, a grand home designed by David Adler.

The state board for Illinois finally recognized Adler with an honorary license in 1928.

Breathtaking French gardens and outdoor dining at La Lanterne, a grand home designed by David Adler.

By that time, Adler had thirty commissions to his name. Some of them are now open to the public, and his own home (the farmhouse in Libertyville) is an arts center and event space.

Properties by Adler

Dewey House (1913), Veterans Administration Medical Center North Chicago, IL, NRHP-listed
David Adler Estate (1916-18 remodel), 1700 N Milwaukee Ave. Libertyville, IL, NRHP-listed
Castle Hill (1928), E of Ipswich on Argilla Rd. Ipswich, MA, NRHP-listed
Lester Armour House (1931), Lake Bluff, IL, NRHP-listed. One of Adler’s “purest” houses.[11]
Mrs. Isaac D. Adler House (1931 remodel), 1480 N. Milwaukee Ave. Libertyville, IL, NRHP-listed
Waverly (1940 remodel), S of Middleburg on VA 626 Middleburg, VA, NRHP-listed
William McCormick Blair Estate, 982 Sheridan Rd. Lake Bluff, IL, NRHP-listed
Mrs. C. Morse Ely House, 111 Moffett Rd. Lake Bluff, IL, NRHP-listed
Field Estate, Field Rd. and Camino Real Sarasota, FL, NRHP-listed
One or more works in Green Bay Road Historic District, Roughly, area surrounding 10 S to 1596 N Green Bay Rd. and Ahwahnee Rd. Lake Forest, IL, NRHP-listed
Mrs. Kersey Coates Reed House, 1315 N. Lake Rd. Lake Forest, IL, NRHP-listed
William E. Clow, Jr. House, in Vine–Oakwood–Green Bay Road Historic District, Lake Forest, IL, NRHP-listed

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Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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12 Comments

  1. Connie
    March 17, 2020 / 7:46 am

    Amen to the prayers shared here today and always. And a heartfelt thank you to the beautiful homes you share too. Often in times like these, a gorgeous little visual get-away is great comfort.

    We shall endure and come out on the other side more learned, more connected, more blessed in ways we cannot see …just yet.

    • Michele
      Author
      March 17, 2020 / 3:30 pm

      Thank you for sticking with me and for the kindness. Trusting in what we cannot see is an ongoing lesson, and I pray we will lean into grace with confidence in our hearts. Despair will come, but love is stronger, and standing together we are powerful children of God. Peace to you and yours. xox

  2. Mumbai
    March 17, 2020 / 12:00 pm

    we endure much more….so true. You feel your strength just when you really need it. Good health and all the best, dear Michele

    • Michele
      Author
      March 17, 2020 / 3:28 pm

      Thank you, friend. Since I am no stranger to suffering and illness which endures months/years, I do feel like an experienced traveler on this road. The will to fight and overcome rises just as the body’s divine response to heal also increases. A great reminder from you that there are these reserves of strength to battle. Wishing you well-th. xox

  3. Margarita W.
    March 17, 2020 / 12:23 pm

    Hi Michele,
    Thank you for such thoughtful posts. I think the most important thing to do is stay calm during this time. It is a fine line trying to stay informed and not over dosing on too much news causing people to panic. We need to sit tight and get over this hump together. A couple of days ago I went to TJ’s just to buy some flowers came home and made an arrangement and lit some scented candles. Peace to you lovely!

    PS I did go Goo Goo Ga Ga over Leanne Ford’s home in Pittsburgh video you posted I had not seen it before:-)

    • Michele
      Author
      March 17, 2020 / 3:26 pm

      Yes, it’s true. Too much bad news and numbers can cause despair that affects us at the cellular level. We need our cells to be happy and strong to fight what dangers may come. Your gesture to bring peace and harmony home is so very beautiful – thank you for reminding us what fullness of life and gratitude looks like. xox

  4. Carole
    March 17, 2020 / 1:09 pm

    I’ve not had the pleasure of going to France yet, but I feel like I have after seeing the architecture and landscaping of the Lake Bluff home, so stately and at the same time homey. Thank you!

    I also want to add that the most beautiful prayer to me is the honest, open and simple prayer of a child, talking to God, who he loves, about nothing special at all and heard by no one except The Father.

    • Michele
      Author
      March 17, 2020 / 3:23 pm

      Such beautiful words about prayer, Carole. I think I’d like to begin collecting such reflections about prayer from folks everywhere. If it’s okay with you, I’ll save yours to include. Peace to you. xox

      • Carole
        March 17, 2020 / 10:51 pm

        How sweet. I would be honored.

        • Michele
          Author
          March 18, 2020 / 11:45 am

          Wonderful, Carole. I look forward to creating something lovely – thank you.

  5. Rebecca
    December 31, 2022 / 10:27 am

    Happy New Year

    • Michele
      Author
      December 31, 2022 / 3:30 pm

      Happy New year! Peace to you and yours. 🙂

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Trees White Wallpaper Mural
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing