Nine Cul-de-Sac Homesites Now Available in Sought-After Suffield Woods

New construction is coming to Suffield Woods in Palos Park.

Award-winning homebuilder Gallagher and Henry, which first began developing Suffield Woods more than 20 years ago, recently released nine off-the-market lots at the established community located just west of 104th Avenue at Palos West Drive (approximately 127th Street). With varying lot sizes starting at one-quarter acre, the nine homesites line the Bayberry Court cul-de-sac and provide homebuyers a private location in one of the southwest suburb’s most sought-after communities.

“If homebuyers select a home site on the Bayberry Court cul-de-sac, they’ll enjoy all the benefit of new constructions in an established community of homes,” Gallagher and Henry sales associate Tina Plastiak assures.

Compelling Home Plans

Since first opening Suffield Woods in the early 1990s, Gallagher and Henry has constructed more than 300 single-family homes in the community. For years, however, it held onto the Bayberry Court homesites, earmarking them for future model homes that they never needed to build.

The nine large Bayberry Court lots inhabit the eastern edge of Suffield Woods and can accommodate any of Gallagher and Henry’s Lifestyle Series home plans, which start at $463,700. Built with contemporary living top of mind, Lifestyle Series homes contain some of the most in-demand amenities of today’s homebuyers. The open-concept floor plans include standard features such as three-car garages, dedicated home offices or flex spaces, full basements, mudrooms, and ENERGY STAR certification that reduces home operating expenses and environmental impact.

Gallagher and Henry’s current Lifestyle Series lineup features two ranch plans, including the recently introduced Fremont that has quickly become a popular choice, and four distinct two-story plans running from 2,604 square feet to nearly 3,400. From moving interior or exterior walls to private outdoor retreats and finished basements, Gallagher and Henry’s home plans can be customized to every individual buyers’ needs.

A Sought-After Address

Suffield Woods has earned its reputation as one of the Southland’s most coveted addresses with a mix of elements that drive quality of life and property values.

A family-friendly community, current Suffield Woods residents speak wondrously of a small-town vibe characterized by waving neighbors and a festive Halloween scene. Suffield Woods residents also claim access to well-regarded public schools in Palos West Elementary (grades K-5), located just one block from the home sites, Palos South Middle School (grades 6-8), and Amos Alonzo Stagg High School. Palos South, for instance, boasts student performance rates among the top 10 percent in Illinois, while the 2,300-student Stagg High offers a diverse array of curricular and extracurricular opportunities to challenge and engage students.

As a long-developed community with parkway trees, ponds, and mature evergreens that engulf the area with serenity, Suffield Woods is rich in natural beauty as well as outdoor recreation opportunities. Parks, walking trails, and forest preserves all sit nearby to accommodate a variety of activities from running and cycling to hiking and fishing.

The Appeal of Palos Park

Once a countryside retreat for Chicago’s elite, artisans, and intelligentsia, spurred in part by those seeking a respite from crowds attending the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, Palos Park remains an eclectic and dynamic village with a robust community spirit.

First settled in the 1830s, Palos Park celebrates its past reputation as an artists’ enclave with musical concerts, live theatre, and art events while it has developed fresh community traditions as well, such as the village tree lighting and holiday market.

Palos Park also delivers the conveniences of modern life. Suffield Wood residents enjoy quick access to the vibrant shopping and dining scene along La Grange Road and can easily access a Metra commuter rail station, I-55, and I-355 for travel into downtown Chicago and around the greater metropolitan area.

For additional information on the available lots in Suffield Woods, please contact Tina Plastiak at (708) 301-1999.

Behind the Build: Steve Henry

From sales staff and tradesmen to behind-the-scenes troubleshooters, dozens of personnel bring a Gallagher and Henry home to life. In “Behind the Build,” the Gallagher and Henry blog celebrates spirited members of our team.

In this installment of “Behind the Build,” we introduce Steve Henry. An avid golfer and aviation enthusiast, Steve joined Gallagher and Henry as a carpenter in 1978 and has been Gallagher and Henry’s construction superintendent since 1996.

How did you get involved with Gallagher and Henry some 42 years ago?
Construction always intrigued me, so I got into carpentry after high school. I was a third-year carpentry apprentice when I began working with Gallagher and Henry in 1978. My father, Peter, was [co-founder] Dan Henry’s brother, but Dan retired a bit before I came into the business. It was actually [Gallagher and Henry co-founder] Bob Gallagher, who encouraged me – albeit through my parents – to come work for Gallagher and Henry in the first place.

And how did you progress into your current role as construction superintendent?
After a few years as a carpenter, I moved up to foreman before becoming construction superintendent in 1996. I was put in charge of the carpenters. We had about 16-18 crews with about five guys on each, so there was plenty to keep track of and keep me busy.

What are the primary responsibilities of your job today?
I do all the new starts for houses, which has a few different components. When buyers are interested in putting up a house, I create the survey so the buyer can see what the home looks like on the lot. I work alongside the sales staff on any structural modifications the homeowner might desire, which could include some CAD work to show elevations or sketches of floor plans. I also line up all the permits as well as the excavator, concrete, and carpenters to get the house “under roof,” as we call it. Then, I hand it off to my capable colleague [Gallagher and Henry superintendent] Ed Holmquist to bring the home to completion.

What do you most enjoy about your role with Gallagher and Henry?
There’s an excitement level homebuyers bring to the new home construction process and it’s rewarding to be a part of a team that’s committed to getting the job done the way the buyers want.

How do you feel Gallagher and Henry distinguishes itself on the construction front?
From top to bottom, our craftsmanship is excellent and that begins from the start with the fact that we stick-build houses. That allows our buyers to make changes because they’re not dealing with manufactured panels. We’re building their house on site for them. That flexibility to take our plans and customize them for the owner – to change elevations or to move walls and windows – is a real differentiator and something I believe our buyers genuinely appreciate.

Speaking of that flexibility, what’s one of the more interesting requests you’ve ever addressed for a buyer?
A family in Darien had built a bi-level with us decades prior and were now looking for a new house that fit their current needs. They had such a connection to the location that they asked us to tear down their existing home and then build them a ranch with an elevator going down the basement to account for a family member’s mobility issues. When someone calls you to build a second home on the same lot and trusts you with such a large project, that says something.

As the nephew of co-founder Dan Henry, you have a familial connection to the multi-generational Gallagher and Henry business. What’s that mean to you?
I grew up in one of Gallagher and Henry’s original bungalows on the South Side of Chicago, in St. Bede’s, so Gallagher and Henry has long been a part of my life. I’m proud to have a family connection to the company and have tried to do everything in my power over the years to contribute to the company’s health, reputation, and success in positive ways.

Why the Suburbs are Hot!

The suburbs are having a moment with homebuyers – and it’s a particularly hot one.

As homebuyers’ desires and needs have shifted in the coronavirus age, the appeal of the suburbs has accelerated. Drawn to suburban communities where they can often get more home, more bang for their buck, and more freedom of movement, a growing number of homebuyers are opting for the suburbs as opposed to high-density urban areas.

Swelling interest in the suburbs is particularly notable in new construction and with single-family homes, where sales have jumped more than 25 percent over 2019, according to industry data. Prospective buyers are especially savoring the idea of a never-before-lived-in home as well as one built with energy efficiency and health in mind. At Gallagher and Henry, buyers not only receive those enticing benefits, but can also work with the award-winning homebuilder to redefine spaces according to their needs.

“More and more, we’re seeing people move towards new construction in our suburban communities because of the space, value, and home they can get,” says John Gallagher, whose firm is currently building homes in eight southwest suburban communities.

Shifting Priorities and Needs

As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced people to spend more time at their existing residences, including blending work and home life under one roof, many are seeing that what once seemed tidy and efficient is no longer so.

Buyers are expressing heightened interest in larger homes that include substantial outdoor space, finished basements, and, not surprisingly, home offices and other private rooms where residents can work or otherwise take a meeting. According to a Realtor.com June survey, a home office was the most in-demand new home feature desired by homebuyers and some have even professed a need for two such areas in their next home.

Because of COVID, homebuyers’ wish lists look a bit different than they did at the start of 2020. The home office, in particular, has become a must and something we accommodate in our plans with dedicated home offices and flex rooms as well as dining rooms that we can neatly convert into private workspaces.

Gallagher and Henry’s 2,823-square foot Eden floor plan, for instance, features a large study, a formal dining room, four upstairs bedrooms, and a full basement, a collection of varied spaces that give homeowners ample flexibility to accommodate household needs for daily living, work, and play.

Ditching High Density

With an increase in remote work, many homebuyers have also been untethered from their daily commutes into downtown offices or other commercial destinations. This has heightened the willingness of buyers to push out further from the urban core – or to at least tie their home location to their workplace so tightly – and accelerated interest in suburban living.

According to a recent study by Realtor.com, three out of five homebuyers reported that working at home was influencing the kind of home they desired and the location.

“The ability to work remotely is expanding home shoppers’ geographic options and driving their motivation to buy,” Realtor.com senior economist George Ratiu said in the recent report.

Prospective buyers have also been wooed to the suburbs by the idea of freedom of movement – or, in colloquial terms, more elbow room – in as well as outside of the home. Buyers remain intrigued by the idea of larger yard space as well as more accessible outdoor recreation opportunities.

In Gallagher and Henry’s suburban communities, residents can convert backyards into multi-functional outdoor oases for work, play, dining, and more, while they can also more easily take neighborhood walks and bike rides without needing to dodge a stream of pedestrians or constantly fret over social distancing protocols. In addition, all eight of Gallagher and Henry’s community locations sit nearby various forest preserve sites in Cook, DuPage, and Will Counties.

There’s little doubt that the coronavirus has compelled people to look at their home situation differently and reconsider their priorities, wants, and needs, and that’s put a bright spotlight on new construction in suburban communities like the ones Gallagher and Henry builds in.

Behind the Build: Ed Holmquist

From sales staff and tradesmen to behind-the-scenes troubleshooters, dozens of personnel bring a Gallagher and Henry home to life. In “Behind the Build,” the Gallagher and Henry blog celebrates spirited members of our team.

In this installment of “Behind the Build,” we introduce superintendent Ed Holmquist. An avid fisherman and father of four who enjoys music and a hearty Italian beef sandwich, Ed first joined Gallagher and Henry in 1983 as a laborer. He has been a Gallagher and Henry superintendent since 1999.

What does your role as superintendent entail?
After the framers stick build the houses, I am in charge of scheduling all the vendors to complete the home, which includes everything inside and out – from the exterior brickwork and cement for the driveways and sidewalks to the mechanicals, electrical, cabinets, flooring, and everything else that brings us to closing day. I am available to homebuyers throughout the construction process as well to answer any questions they might have. For so many, this is an entirely new experience and my job is to help guide them through this process and keep everything on schedule to ensure it’s as seamless as it can possibly be. Upon closing, then, I’m with our homeowners through the one-year warranty period to service any needs that might arise.

What’s the most rewarding part of this job?
We spend 4-6 months hammering out each day and keep moving forward to put together a home we are proud to have the Gallagher and Henry name on. When people are smiling at the final walkthrough and happy at closing, that’s rewarding. After all, that’s what we’re here to do. Beyond that, I have worked with some really fantastic people over the years at Gallagher and Henry. When you work with others you can trust and rely on, that makes for a wonderful professional life.

What is one of the more unique projects you’ve worked on over your 20-year run as a Gallagher and Henry superintendent?
It’s not every day – or even once a decade – you get asked to put an elevator in a home, so that was one request that really stands out. It was fun to tackle a project so far beyond what we’re accustomed to doing.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over the last two decades?
When I came back to Gallagher and Henry in 1999, fax machines and pagers were the big thing. Then, we moved onto email and, now, smartphones and texting. The technology has changed rapidly, while regulations in the same time frame have grown exponentially. You just take it one day at a time, digest things as they come, and educate yourself as best as possible so you’re always the best professional you can be.

When you began working for Gallagher and Henry in 1983, company co-founder Bob Gallagher remained an active presence. What has it been like to see the transition of this family-owned business from Bob Gallagher’s leadership to a second generation of Gallaghers?
Bob Gallagher was as devoted a business leader as I’ve ever seen. He was absolutely committed, intense even, to building sturdy, durable homes. Bob’s sons embrace those same principles and work ethic. You can see they honor what he was all about as an individual and what he wanted Gallagher and Henry to stand for as a company. That might seem cheesy, but it’s really the case.

Behind the Build: Valentina Plastiak

From sales staff and tradesmen to behind-the-scenes troubleshooters, dozens of personnel bring a Gallagher and Henry home to life. In “Behind the Build,” the Gallagher and Henry blog celebrates spirited members of our team.

In this installment of “Behind the Build,” we introduce Valentina “Tina” Plastiak, the current sales manager at the Goodings Grove and Kingston Hills communities in Homer Glen. A die-hard Chicago Cubs fan who enjoys cooking and gardening, Tina is now in her 37th year with Gallagher and Henry.

When did you start working at Gallagher & Henry?
I started with Gallagher and Henry in 1983 on the construction side. It was part-time work cleaning the finished homes prior to closing. I also did housekeeping for the Gallagher and Henry model homes as well. Working on the construction side was great for me because I saw firsthand the building of a Gallagher and Henry home from foundation to finish – the quality, the workmanship, the materials, and the care that went into each new build. That was invaluable for me as I made the move over to the sales side in 2000.

And it’s been a family affair at Gallagher and Henry for you, correct?
Yes. My husband, Vic, has worked at Gallagher and Henry since 1971 and I have loved working with him over the years. I learned everything about sales from him, which was a good thing since he’s a perfectionist who believes in doing things right the first time. Vic and I have six children and, at one time or another, every one of them has been engaged with Gallagher and Henry – working as a hostess, watering new sod, or even watching over newly poured cement. My two sons will tell you watching cement dry was the best job they ever had.

What do you most enjoy about working for Gallagher and Henry?
Each customer walking into our sales office or our model homes presents a new and exciting challenge. They all have different needs and wants, and their individual stories are fascinating. I love helping each customer build their dream home – first on paper and then in reality. And I enjoy having a beautiful model home as my office.

How would you characterize the experience of working with a multi-generational, family-owned company that is now in its 66th year?
From the company’s founders, Bob Gallagher and Dan Henry, to the present day, Gallagher and Henry has never wavered from its mission of constructing quality-built homes. The business was established on that principle and the new generation has only improved on the quality and designs to meet the needs and lifestyles of each era.

What’s one particularly memorable experience you’ve had while working on the sales side for Gallagher and Henry?
Just as each client is memorable, each sale is memorable to me in its own way as well. I’m working with a new homebuyer regularly over 6-12 months and relationships naturally blossom. I’ve gotten to know them and their families and some of my customers have become lifelong friends. I can drive through Gallagher and Henry communities today and be welcomed by not only past customers, but friends. That’s something special.

Closeout Condos in Woodridge

The Farmingdale Village Condominiums in Woodridge is ready to welcome its final residents. The remaining two units (8505 Woodward Avenue – Unit 104 and 8515 Woodward Avenue – Unit 104) in the upscale condominium development from award-winning homebuilder Gallagher and Henry are now available for immediate occupancy.

Priced to sell at $274,500, each of the spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom condos are first-floor end units packed with high-quality features and modern amenities designed to create comfort and convenience.

“Our goal from the start with the Farmingdale Village Condominiums was to create luxurious, no-maintenance living and the fact that only two units remain speak to our success in achieving that mission,” Gallagher and Henry principal John Gallagher said of the three 16-unit buildings that comprise the Farmingdale Village Condominiums community located north of 87th Street on Woodward Avenue.

Embracing a contemporary open-concept layout, the two Dover floor plan units cover 1,540 square feet. A gourmet kitchen featuring granite countertops, ceramic tile flooring, a custom-built five-shelf pantry, and stainless steel Whirlpool appliances opens to a large living room anchored by a gas fireplace with ceramic surround. The primary bedroom suite includes a walk-in closet and bathroom with a soaker tub, shower and granite-topped vanity.

“Everything is brand new in these Dover units, so buyers can settle in quickly,” Gallagher and Henry sales associate Tina Plastiak said.

Gallagher and Henry, which has been building homes in the Chicago area since 1954, took great pride in the details to ensure high-quality construction, in-demand amenities, and dramatic design elements.

In the family room, for instance, insulated glass-pane sliding doors lead to a spacious concrete balcony that provides residents an intimate outdoor living space, while a defined laundry area includes a full-size Whirlpool washer and dryer. The formal dining room is punctuated by a tray ceiling, energy-saving insulated glass windows flood the units with natural light, and white-painted doors and trim lend a crisp, clean look to the new condos.

Architecturally, Gallagher and Henry eliminated the long hallways that define other multi-unit developments, instead designing octagonal common spaces that provide instant access from the elevator to each floor’s individual four units. Each condominium residence, meanwhile, is surrounded by the sturdiness of concrete floors and brick construction, which heightens privacy as well as energy efficiency.

“We truly focused on the details here and creating dynamic environments that provide comfort and a sense of home,” Gallagher said, noting that each of the available units also includes a heated indoor parking space.

One of the community’s longest-tenured residents described the Farmingdale Village Condominiums as “a comfortable, peaceful, quiet place to live.”

The Farmingdale Village Condominiums reside amid a vibrant Woodridge community that has welcomed a burgeoning array of shopping, dining, and entertainments options over recent years, while swift access to major transportation thoroughfares such as I-55 and I-355 ease travel throughout the greater Chicagoland area.

“Woodridge has seen tremendous growth in recent years and that’s made the village a lively, energetic, and convenient place for its residents,” Gallagher said.

For additional information on the final move-in ready units at the Farmingdale Village Condominiums or to schedule a tour, please contact Gallagher and Henry sales associate Tina Plastiak at (708) 301-1999.

4 Steps to Maximize Outdoor Living

Parents watching kids chalk up the driveway or ride bikes down the block.

Families involved in backyard games or enjoying a family meal on the outdoor patio.

Residents strolling the sidewalks, inhaling the fresh summer air, appreciating a neighboring home’s blooming flowers, and sharing hellos with those they encounter.

For the last six decades, such scenes have played out regularly in Gallagher and Henry communities across the Southland – and they remain just as commonplace today at Gallagher and Henry’s eight new home communities in Homer Glen, Lemont, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Park, Tinley Park, and Woodridge.

For many homeowners, the outdoors stand an important extension of the home. Outdoor spaces not only contribute to one’s physical and emotional health – research has tied outdoor time to increased energy levels, lower blood pressure, reduced stress, and heightened creativity – but can also strengthen our sense of place.

With the positive impact of outdoor experiences generating widespread attention in recent months following government-mandated shelter-in-place orders due to the novel coronavirus, more and more homeowners – not to mention prospective homebuyers – are putting fresh eyes on how they might better capitalize on the spaces right outside a home’s doors.

Step #1: Know Your Purpose.
The first important step to better capitalizing on your outdoor space is to reflect on purpose, which is to say: How do you want to use your outdoor spaces? While some desire a private oasis to relax and unwind, others favor lively environments designed to entertain or a cozy front porch that sparks random interactions and fosters a deeper sense of community. With a clear understanding of what you want a space to accomplish, you can then begin putting the necessary puzzle pieces together.

Step #2: Factor in function – and Mother Nature.
With purpose in hand, begin crafting a space that efficiently and effectively creates that environment. To do so, put functionality top of mind. An outdoor dining area, for instance, should be accessible to the indoor kitchen. A dog run, meanwhile, is best placed in an out-of-the-way area. Consider how a given space will interplay with Mother Nature as well, including how sunlight or wind patterns will impact functionality. After all, you don’t want your dining area in a wind tunnel or under a tree that birds love to call home.

Step #3: Create for Comfort.
Select furniture that’s appropriate for the space you’re creating and its intended use, whether that’s dining, relaxing, or entertaining. If the seating, in particular, isn’t comfortable or conducive to its intended aim, then it’s unlikely you and others will want to spend large chunks of time there. Have spaces for people to place food and drink, limit the impact of Mother Nature and its creatures, and design a space that prioritizes comfort.

Step #4: Add in Some Flair.
Don’t be afraid to bring your indoor style outdoors. While nature offers its own beauty, it can be enhanced with some creative flair. Use colors, patterns, outdoor textiles, and art to enliven a space with your personal style. Incorporate lighting, which can improve safety and add drama. String lights running across a front porch or back patio, for instance, can add a touch of whimsy. Blending different hardscape and softscape elements, such as seating walls and vivid flowers, blends aesthetic diversity to an outdoor area as well.

Love the Great Outdoors
Whether it’s rocking chairs placed on a covered front porch to watch children partake in summertime fun or an expansive outdoor kitchen for the entertaining you love to do, embracing the potential of outdoor living can bring added joy and quality to your life. By considering how you want to use your outdoor property, thoughtfully considering how an outdoor space will function, and investing in a space that embraces both comfort and style, you can create outdoor retreats that enrich your life and boost your sense of place.

G&H Origins Part 2: Recipe for Success

Click here to read G&H Origins Part 1

Throughout Gallagher and Henry’s early years, the company remained a barebones operation consisting of founders Bob Gallagher and Dan Henry, two card tables, and a portable typewriter. The partners developed one plot of land at a time on Chicago’s Southwest Side, though Gallagher, an entrepreneurial soul with an innate sense of real estate trends, saw an opportunity for the upstart firm to accelerate its growth and better serve the sprouting Chicago area marketplace.

“Our father’s philosophy was to always reinvest in the business, which included investing in land, people, and operations,” Tim Gallagher says of his father, who divested of his ownership stake in a wholesale produce company in 1957 to devote his full attention to the fledgling residential construction firm he launched three years prior with his brother-in-law.

Gallagher sparked the company’s movement into multi-unit residential buildings down Chicago’s 79th and 87th Streets before setting his sights on undeveloped land on the fringes of 1960s metropolitan Chicago. In 1966, the partners purchased a small farm in Palos Heights and turned it into the first Ishnala subdivision.

“That was the moment they stepped out of the box to develop a huge tract of land,” Bob Gallagher’s son, John Gallagher, says. “It was a bold move.”

And it was only the beginning, as Gallagher and Henry later acquired property in the far southwestern suburbs in modern-day Orland Park, Tinley Park, and Lemont as well as land near the present-day I-355 in western suburbs like Darien, Downers Grove, Westmont, and Woodridge.

“Dad had foresight and vision and sensed where things were going,” Tim Gallagher notes, adding that Gallagher and Henry moved its headquarters from Chicago to an all-brick office building in Countryside so Bob Gallagher could be within 30 minutes of any Gallagher and Henry development. “He always wanted to keep eyes on every project.”

The large-scale land purchases altered the complexion of Gallagher and Henry, shifting the once-bootstrapped operation into one of the Chicago area’s largest and most dynamic homebuilding firms.

“I consider that time in the 1970s a real turning point for Gallagher and Henry,” says Vic Plastiak, who began his career as a Gallagher and Henry sales associate in 1971. “The high volume of sales really began to take off in that period.”

With communities such as Ishnala Woods and Creekside, Gallagher and Henry played a prominent role in the booming residential growth of Orland Park, where the population surged from 2,600 in 1960 to nearly 36,000 in 1990.

“[Orland Park has] everything you’d look for in a community to build single-family homes – good shopping, good schools, the roads are being improved, and there’s lots of room to grow. It’s new, clean, just a good place to live,” Bob Gallagher told the Chicago Tribune in May 1986, a year in which Gallagher and Henry would build more than 600 homes in the southwest suburban village.

That same year, 1986, Gallagher and Henry started nearly 1,000 new homes in Tinley Park. There, Gallagher and Henry developed communities such as Tinley Meadows, Spring Creek, Fairmont Village, and Radcliffe Place, often drawing inspiration for its community names from maps of England.

In subsequent years, Gallagher and Henry would open communities such as Covington Knolls in Lemont, a 518-unit development that remains the single largest subdivision in the historic village’s history, as well as Brittany Glen in unincorporated Orland Park, where Gallagher and Henry stepped into the upscale market with stately single-family homes boasting upwards of 4,000 square feet.

“If you’re looking for a home that’s a little more distinctive, a little more spacious, and a lot more luxurious than most, your search ends at Brittany Glen,” read a 1989 Gallagher and Henry ad for the community where homes started at $331,500.

In 1990, one Brittany Glen homeowner told the Chicago Tribune why he and his wife had selected the upscale community: “We looked at a lot of other new home developments in the south suburbs, but we were drawn to Brittany Glen because of the reputation of the builder [and] our confidence was well placed.”

John Gallagher confirms that his father – who led the business himself after co-founder Dan Henry’s 1978 retirement – never deviated from a proven recipe of craftsmanship, quality, and attention to detail.

“He was never about cutting corners to be the cheapest guy in the neighborhood, and he believed homebuyers would see the long-term value in that,” John Gallagher says.

Gallagher’s insistence on honoring the faith buyers had placed in his family-owned firm prompted some daring business decisions to ensure the company could deliver on its promises. In Darien, for instance, Gallagher and Henry set up a waste-water treatment plant to overcome the lack of local sewer infrastructure.

“It was unheard of that a developer would be going to those lengths, but the company attitude was to do whatever necessary to deliver homes,” Tim Gallagher says. “If something got in the way, we figured a way over it, around it, whatever it took.”

In the western suburbs, that persistence spurred extensive residential growth. From the mid-1970s into the early 2000s, Gallagher and Henry constructed some 8,000 homes in communities such as Downers Grove, Darien, and Woodridge.

And though Gallagher and Henry would dabble in some commercial development, including shopping centers and banks, the homebuilding firm ultimately dropped those efforts to focus solely on residential.

“After all, residential is what we know best and where our heart is,” John Gallagher concludes.

Behind the Build: Sandie Kanakes

From sales staff and tradesmen to behind-the-scenes troubleshooters, dozens of personnel bring a Gallagher and Henry home to life. In “Behind the Build,” the Gallagher and Henry blog celebrates spirited members of our team.

In this installment of “Behind the Build,” we introduce Sandie Kanakes, the current sales manager at the Farmingdale Village community in Woodridge. Known for her upbeat, gregarious personality, Sandie began working in the construction sales field in 1978 before joining Gallagher and Henry in 1999.

What do you most enjoy about working for Gallagher and Henry?
Each day is a little different because we are so hands-on with our customers. We’re a family-owned business that is set up to treat people like family, and that leads to some very personal and genuine relationships with our homebuyers.

And what do those relationships mean to you?
The homebuyers are our lifeblood. We “live” with them for months at a time while their home is under construction. I am answering questions about the process, offering different perspectives or things to consider, and helping them navigate an experience that can be daunting. When they are selecting the items for their home – options, materials, colors, and the like – I am right there with them, too, which remains my favorite part.

I’ve had customers get married or have babies during the construction process. You really feel like a close relative at times like that. I remember when one of my customers found out she was having triplets while her home was being built. We were together so often putting the pieces of that home together that I was right alongside her on that pregnancy journey. I will never forget how she and her husband stopped by with those precious babies on their way home from the hospital. The scary part is that since I’ve been with Gallagher and Henry for more than 20 years, I’ve seen a good number of those babies learn to drive, graduate from high school, and grow beards.

What is the most interesting or bold request you have ever fielded from a buyer?
I don’t think any request is necessarily all that interesting or unusual. When our buyers ask for something, it’s because it’s something important to them. When that happens, I only want to do my part to fulfill that request, so they have what they want in their new home.

How would you characterize the experience of working 20-plus years in this multi-generational family business?
The years have pretty much flown by and the business has continued to progress and move forward. We have endured the economy’s ups and downs and seen trends come and go, yet always kept our focus on the buyers. Things get done a little differently at Gallagher and Henry because the company leaders, from co-founder Bob Gallagher down to the current leadership, are visiting the communities and sales offices routinely. It’s personal for them and it shows in the quality they demand of themselves and others.

What do you think differentiates Gallagher and Henry from other homebuilders?
There’s not a lot of waste at Gallagher and Henry and we all do a little more than our titles suggest. I’ve swept floors, washed windows, and put the trash cans out at night because I have pride in our work and our homes like so many others in the company, a number of whom have been here much longer than me. That pride in what we do, that commitment to quality, is one of the key reasons Gallagher and Henry has so many repeat buyers and generations of buyers.

When you’re not at the sales office, what might we find you doing?
I try to garden, but I am really bad at it. I am a terrible cook, too, but I am planning to take a cooking course. I do enjoy reading biographies – just finished Last Man Standing about JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon – and enjoy arts and culture. Sports bore me, but take me to the Civic Opera House, the Art Institute, or the Field Museum any day.

Move-In Ready: Gallagher and Henry Unveils One-of-a-Kind Home in Lemont

In Lemont’s Covington Knolls community sits a one-of-a-kind home from award-winning homebuilder Gallagher and Henry.

On that Covington Knolls corner lot, the aptly named Cornerstone blends an open-concept floor plan with a posh owner’s suite, a lanai, and two separate garage spaces. The farmhouse-inspired four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home located at 2 Auburn Court is priced at $574,900 and move-in ready.

“This is the only Gallagher and Henry home of its kind, and any buyer can settle in immediately and begin enjoying the summer,” Gallagher and Henry principal John Gallagher says of the Cornerstone.

At approximately 2,723 square feet, the Cornerstone dazzles with an open layout reminiscent of an urban loft. The kitchen-great room combo, in fact, covers some 500 square feet. With its rich, dark-toned hardwood floors, nine-foot ceilings, and calming light blue walls, the first floor is warm, open, and inviting.

The kitchen embraces a contemporary vibe with a grand kitchen island that includes a sink, a stainless-steel range hood, glistening quartz countertops, sleek pendant lighting, and a heathery blue-hued backsplash. Function isn’t lost thanks to a walk-in pantry and dinette area.

“This is not compartmentalized living at all,” Gallagher says. “These common spaces, which are the real heart of the home, are as comfortable and cozy as they are stylish.”

Off the dinette area, residents can exit the home and enjoy a spacious lanai. The covered porch pushes the home’s living space into the outdoors and provides homeowners another intimate space to relax or entertain guests.

The Cornerstone’s main level also includes a mud room, a bright powder room, and an “pocket office” – Gallagher and Henry’s term for a flexible space that can be adapted to a homeowner’s needs. Guarded by a sliding barn door, the private space can function not only as an office, but also a craft room, music center, or other personalized environment.

“Buyers enjoy these blank-canvas spaces and the ability to adapt the space to their needs,” Gallagher says, adding that the Cornerstone also includes an expansive full basement that allows for additional customization.

On the Cornerstone’s second floor, the luxurious owner’s suite features nine-foot ceilings and an expansive walk-in closet designed to accommodate even the most ambitious wardrobes. The owner’s bathroom’s premium spa-like setup includes a water closet, a long, double-sink vanity, a free-standing soaker tub, and a walk-in shower appointed with multiple showerheads, including a rain head.

Each of the roomy secondary bedrooms features an oversized walk-in closet, while the hallway bath includes a door separating the bath area from the vanity to ensure privacy. The second floor also hosts a sizable laundry room, which confirms the Cornerstone’s focus on convenient living.

One of the Cornerstone’s most distinguishing characteristics, however, is clearly visible from the street: two separate garages, one a rather standard-sized two-car setup and the other an extended depth one-car garage running 28-feet deep.

“It’s so long that you could easily park one large vehicle in there and still have a good amount of workspace or storage room,” Gallagher says.

As with all new Gallagher and Henry single-family homes, the Cornerstone carries the ENERGY STAR label, a credential that enhances comfort and reduces energy costs. The two-story residence also features other treasured Gallagher and Henry staples, such as brick construction and a concrete driveway.

“The Cornerstone may be unlike any other home in the Gallagher and Henry line-up, but it still features the same high-quality construction and attention to detail that has made Gallagher and Henry one of Chicagoland’s most trusted homebuilders,” Gallagher says.

For more information on the Cornerstone or to schedule a tour of the home, please contact the Covington Knolls sales office at (630) 243-0900.