Taking The Leap

A young family moves to Lake Forest from Chicago and never looks back.

Words from Rochelle Newman Rubinoff
Photo of Robin Subar
Styling of Theresa DeMaria
Hair & make-up from Leanna Ernest from Distinct Artists
wardrobe Neiman Marcus, Northbrook Court

THERE ARE Something special is happening in the Lake Forest. After years with one of the slower moving real estate markets on the north coast, the numbers are suddenly rising significantly. According to Mark Pasquesi, President and Managing Broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, “The last two quarters of 2020 were the strongest quarters Lake Forest has ever seen. And then, by 2021, the markets will have made a rapid start. Right now, with mortgage rates at an all-time low, it’s just the perfect environment
for strong properties. “

Anne Geraghty Helms, her husband Paul, and their two children are one such family that decided to make the leap from town to Lake Forest in 2019. “We were both very drawn to Lake Forest. I think because it feels like a little town of its own. It’s far enough from the city that it stands on its own. And we’ve always dreamed of being small townspeople, but our careers have made that impossible. “Both Helms and her husband are lawyers who work for large firms in Chicago.

The couple had talked about moving to the suburbs for years. And now that you have it, there is no looking back. Helms says, “Lake Forest has this great feeling. It’s such a wonderful community. Everyone was so welcoming. “

“I think you’re always nervous when you move to a new place. But shortly after we moved in, three neighbors came to our front door to introduce themselves and offer us everything we wanted or needed. You couldn’t have been nicer. It’s such a change. It’s not that the people in town aren’t nice. That’s just not how the world works there. “

When they were moving, Helms said she was nervous about her kids crossing the street or riding bikes alone. “And now they’re running around the neighborhood and I have to keep an eye on them, but in such a good way,” said Helms.

One of Helms’ favorite pastimes at Lake Forest is living in beautiful natural surroundings. “I think that’s really unique – the number of places you can be in a residential area, but also this connection to beautiful nature reserves. It’s pretty rare. And the beach and the lakefront make this community exceptional. You can feel the community-wide appreciation for the trees and all that is natural
Beauty that fortunately we have surrounded. “

It is clear that the Helms family is not the only one drawn to the many advantages of the Lake Forest. “Lake Forest sales have exceeded all other North Shore communities. That was exciting for us to see. And the clear trend is moving from the city to the suburbs, ”says Pasquesi. He attributes this increased movement to a variety of factors. “First and foremost, COVID-19 has changed the way we all live, at least for the foreseeable future. When you look at what is attractive about the city in terms of restaurants, nightlife, entertainment … when COVID hit and all of that was shut down, much of the city’s appeal went away. Add to that the basic social distancing. In a building with 400 residential units, it is difficult to create social distance. People wanted space and they wanted courtyards and they wanted outdoor space. “

Anne Geraghty Helms at home in an Andrew Gn midi dress.

Pasquesi continues, “What is interesting is that before the pandemic, a lot of what people were saying about Lake Forest went against what most buyers wanted. Pre-COVID trends were geared towards smaller homes, less maintenance, smaller yards and more efficient spaces overall. Then the pandemic struck and what the homes in Lake Forest had was exactly what people wanted. Bigger houses, bigger lots, more space between the neighbors. COVID has made everything in the Lake Forest inventory very attractive. “

“When you talk about pre-COVID, one of the reasons Lake Forest came up with real estate was the distance from town to commute to work every day. But now, working from home is the new way to go. You don’t have that many people going into an office. I don’t think it will go back to where people will commute into town five days a week. Maybe it’s two days a week. Maybe it’s all work from home. The connection to the city, which was not considered ideal for the residents of the Lake Forest due to our distance, is no longer a problem, ”says Pasquesi.

Not to mention the many benefits Lake Forest has to offer, which both Helms and Pasquesi point out. The award-winning schools. The incredible Ministry of Parks and Recreation. The beautiful beach of the Lake Forest. And did we mention the marketplace? “Downtown Lake Forest is just amazing,” says Helms. “It’s such a fun and friendly place. Plus there is such a lively mix of restaurants and shops. “

In fact, Helms is so fond of her new ward that she is running for the District 67 school board. “I learned a lot from having two children in two different schools in this community. Especially in this unprecedented year. I’ve seen different ways schools can work because my kids went to a private school in town. But the commitment to children and education has always been part of my practice. “

Helms is Director of Counsel for US Pro Bono Programs for her law firm DLA Piper. She is responsible for assisting in the development, management and administration of the company’s pro bono operations in the United States. Her practice includes representing children and families, including in juvenile justice and immigration proceedings, and advising parents on addressing issues affecting their children, such as child support, domestic violence,
Guardianship and Housing.

“Public service is really a huge part of my career and my life. I think we’ve seen schools in the past few months bring our children together, bring our community together. It was difficult not to bring her to this center of the church every day. So I’m very happy that I can help make the school district as good as possible for all children, ”says Helms.

When asked what advice she would give other families to consider moving from the city to the suburbs, Helms says enthusiastically, “Just do it! If I had known it was going to be as easy as before, I would probably have taken the step much sooner. “

Helmets, work ready in a Gabriela Hearst blazer and Sally Lapointe pants.

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