Celebrating the Showhouse

By Judy Carmack Bross


Pim Alley and British Robinson were among the 7000 guests to visit the Showhouse.

Congratulations to the Lake Forest Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago which triumphantly closed the doors last weekend on its 2023 Showhouse & Gardens following record-breaking sales of over 7000 gate tickets to guests eager to see the Walter Frazier Georgian estate. Rooms in the main mansion, two cottages and several prominent garden areas on the nine-acre estate were re-imagined by 40 fabulous interior designers and landscapers.

Designers James Dolenc and Tom Riker of James Thomas Interiors.

Maggie Getz in a room of her design

Lori Lennon in the room of her design

Jenny Brown in the room she designed.

Jill Danaher and Shelley Johnstone.

Laura and Geoffrey Luce, James Shearron, Dick Bories

Joey Leicht in the room he designed.

Meg Caswell in the room she designed.

Both volunteers and designers worked daily, insuring that the almost 40-year tradition had its best year yet. Grand totals are still wrapping up from the boutique presented by Anna Schuster and proceeds from designer sales, with everything in the house for sale with a percentage going to Infant Welfare. The Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens has become widely recognized as one of the top showhouses in the country.

Showhouse Co-Chairs Sondra Douglass and Kathy Allen, Board President Chrissy Davis, and Co-chair Jennifer Durburg.

Lauren Peters, Jane Duncan, Meg Lynch, and Chrissy Davis.

Liz Williams Annie Liddle Halie Braden Suzanne Sykes

Martha Nippert and Melissa Trandel

Sally Brown Thilman in the room of her design

The 650 guests at the Preview Party gathered to be the first to see the transformed estate. The house was open daily from May 6 through June 4, marking the non-profit’s first opening night benefit party since 2017.  Sondra Douglass, Kathy Allen, and Jennifer Durburg chaired the Preview Party and Chrissy Davis is President of Infant Welfare Lake Forest Chapter.


Guests on the stairs

Soledad Zitewitz with Kasia and Brian Nienhaus

Wendy Franzen and Board president Chrissy Davis

Nikki Allen with chef John de Rosiers.

The evening featured lavish food stations with cuisine donated by jdR Companies’ Chef John des Rosiers, proprietor of some of the Lake Forest area restaurants. The Honorary Chair Event, featuring Timothy Wheaton and Ashley Whittaker was also a sold-out success. 

James Dolenc and Tom Riker

James Dolenc and Tom Riker

Emily Millman McComas and Elizabeth Stamos

Emily Sturgess and Lindsay Baker

Typically a biennial program, the 2023 Showhouse marks the Lake Forest Chapter’s 19th production, with the last Showhouse opening against all odds in July of 2020. To date, the group has raised more than $5 million to support IWS Family Health, a clinic in Logan Square where the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago provides quality, community-based healthcare to underserved families who would otherwise lack access to basic medical services.

Wendy Franzen and Chrissy Davis Showhouse Co-chairs Sondra Douglass, Kathy Allen with president 

Showhouse Co-chairs Sondra Douglass, Kathy Allen with president Chrissy Davis and co-chair Jennifer Durburg

Sally Brown Thilman and Nicole Elliot

Courtney Magliochetti and Katy Collins

Brooke Hubbuch, Kenneth Ludwig, Sarah Vaile

Board president Chrissy Davis with 2023 LF Showhouse Chairs Kathy Allen (back R), Sondra Douglass (front L) and Jennifer Durburg (front R)