music room acoustic clouds
home for harmony without reverberation
visual communication for clarity
luxurious spa-style master bath
lakeshore community clubhouse
sub-terranean clubhouse preserves lake views
cloverleaf community pool
pool with separate 'rooms'
bright modern kitchen
garage band of light
connection made from light
Mark Eric Benner - Architects
Since 1995, I have been serving Chicagoland's Northshore communities with creative, value-based, designs. With more than 30 years experience in high performance architectural and construction industries. It is my mission to create emotionally responsive spaces, harmoniously integrated with one another.
new construction | whole house remodels | major additions
Solving spatial puzzles and problems is my passion, freeing my clients to consider how their home will feel and serve their needs. They are led through the design process, step by step, while my team and I handle all the details. Creating spaces that work together is not enough. How you feel in your home and how your home empowers you is of utmost importance.
Questions Reveal the Design
Your Chicago custom home design begins by asking questions, lots of questions. While some may be simple or obvious, others dig to a greater depth of understanding. There will be questions which you may not have yet contemplated.
Success is the result of understanding the WHY. This is especially true when designing your home. As a result, this exploration gives purpose to the spaces within your home. Finally, I translate these concepts into the organized spaces that respond to the way your family lives.
I have assembled some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that I encounter with my clients. You may find these useful in preparing for your own project and may even reveal questions of your own
We Live in Three Dimensions –
Don’t Settle for Less For Your Home’s Design
Do not allow your home to be designed in two dimensions (alone.) Your custom home design is more complex than can be adequately described with two-dimensional floor plans. It is for this reason, I promote the use of a three-dimensional drawing and design experience. This method is integrated immediately into the design process to promote your understanding and confidence in the design. 3D home design is so crucial, that I use it for every home’s design. As a result, your design experience, and most importantly your home, will exceed your every expectation,
Come Take a Closer Look
Next, gather your questions, notes, sketches, and clippings and Contact Me to begin the conversation. I look forward to working together on the design of your home. There are many considerations that go into selecting your architect for the design of your home.
You may want to see how this has been applied to my clients. I invite you to browse my Projects for examples of past new homes, kitchens, baths, whole-house renovations and much more.
In conclusion, I have prepared a guide “Selecting the Right Architect for your Luxury Home” to outline eight crucial considerations. Clients use this guide to better understand the what goes into designing their home. They find that it helps to refine their thoughts and prepare for this important decision.
frequently asked questions
As you consider your Chicago custom home design options, you face the daunting challenge of selecting the ‘right’ people. If not familiar with the intricacies of home design and construction, people struggle to make good choices. As you research options, the following guides will help you prepare for a successful design and construction experience. I want your 3D home design experience to be productive, but more importantly, it should be fun. Many of my clients have questions about the project or projects that they are considering. You may find that their questions sound familiar.
Who can best help me plan my project?
How much will my new home or addition cost to build?
How long will it take to build my new home?
What characteristics should I look for in custom home design?
The questions can seem never-ending and can even be daunting. Ultimately, the answers begin to frame a picture of how your home should and will appear. One of the most important things that I do is to guide my clients through the uncertainty. Together we craft solutions for their custom home design. Finally, I serve as your sounding board to ensure that your decisions are well founded. I may provide ‘push-back’ and challenge your thinking which will hone the design. Ultimately, the well-informed decision is yours.
next steps – resources to get you started
For those considering Chicago custom home design, I have curated a process ensuring that all of the details are thoughtfully considered. Consequently, you are unencumbered to consider and evaluate how the design responds to your family’s needs and how it will make them feel. The application of high-quality residential architecture and custom home design makes for a better and more successful home.
You are invited to explore the guides below. These are the top guides that my clients have found most valuable. My Resources page contains more information for those who really want to dig in.
What They’re Saying
“Over the years, I have had the pleasure to work with Mark on several fronts, including having his architectural talents in designing our family home in Riverwoods, Illinois. Mark is a creative, imaginative, thoughtful and on the cutting edge of BIM design. Mark Eric Benner Architects, Ltd. is poised for growth and any client or industry colleague would be benefit from working with his firm.”Wendy CohenPowerhouse Smart
“As an interinor designer, I am so grateful to have connected with Mark Benner! I recently worked with him on a Master Bath remodel, that involved drawings for a unique and challenging space plan and conceptual design. Mark, along with his state of the art and innovative drawing program allowed us to hone our vision so that now my client's dream bathroom is coming to life! Mark was so easy to work with, passionate about his work, and a terrific person. I highly recommend him.”Rebecca PogonitzGo Go design group
“Mark Benner is so great to work with. His creative talent, combined with brilliant technology savvy, especially with his unique computer aided drawing program, helped me bring my vision of a contemporary rustic master bathroom to life! It felt like magic, that's how effortless it was. His calm and kind demeanor, both around me and the rest of the project team, including my clients, brought a warm and positive energy to our project. I can't wait to work with Mark again.”Rebecca PogonitzGoGo Design Group
“I have no adequate words to rave about Mark! We had maybe the ugliest split level house in the universe; he developed a creative solution (one that no other architect had previously thought of) and created a beautiful, open home which nearly doubled our living space. He is remarkably organized, economically and environmentally minded, and creative beyond measure. Additionally, he has a calm and kind manner which came quite in handy managing contractors. Thank you, Mark!”Stephanie Zwilling"Un-Split" Addition
“Mark Benner was just terrific in all aspects of our work. We had a major reconstruction of our house and out of all the architects we interviewed, he was by far the best. We were very impressed from the initial meeting when he was willing to brainstorm and share ideas with us before even signing a contract, which made it easy to sign on. He was extremely knowledgable (engineering and construction background), very innovative and worked with us on multiple iterations to be sure we got everything just right. He also worked well with our outside contractor, even though he had not worked with him before our job.
The best part of Mark is that he's just easy and a pleasure to work with. Very accommodating to our schedules, willing to come out mid job for additional feedback and truly an overall nice guy. We give him our highest recommendation.”Caryn AltmanHighland Park Addition and Remodel
“Not only is Mark a delight to work with, he is resourceful, service driven, conscientious, and reliable. We have worked together on numerous occasions since 1995 and he always was immediately responsive and a man of his word. I hope that we have an opportunity to work together again.”Susan SchreiberRealtor and Developer
“I built a custom home designed by Mark and had a great experience.Matt PollackOwner - RedRock Custom Homes, Inc.
Construction went well and the home turned out great.”
“I've worked with Mark on multiple projects over the years and have found him to be very knowledgable, creative, and detail oriented. His understanding and responsiveness to the needs of his clients and team mates makes him a pleasure to work with.”June HappDesigner at David Heigl Design Group
“Mark is an outstanding architect and professional. I love working with Mark on various projects to find the sweet spot for comfort and cost. Mark's ability to relate to owners and translating their needs and budget into their dream space! Mark has a superior understanding of design and functionality! In addition to Mark's architectural understanding, Mark is also a go to person for me when I need an introduction as his network is VAST!”Tom DeckerChicago Green Insulation, Inc.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Mark on many successful projects. His expertise in a wide range of subject matter related to architecture and construction shined through project after project. I found Mark to be very artistic, open minded to new concepts, and always looking to ride the crest of the wave. Mark is a very well seasoned architect who can handle any size of project from beginning to end and capable of working as an individual and as a great team member. Mark was very helpful with introducing me to the processes involved with creating a project on the computer. His knowledge, intuitiveness and natural feel for working with the computer always astounded me.”Len Eckhoff, AIA, ALAPrincipal at Designs by Len Eckhoff Architect
“Mark is one of the most talented and hard working residential architects in the country. His consistent excellence helped drive Orren Pickell Builders to be a top Chicago area custom builder. ”Ed SuchermanBroker Associate at Baird and Warner Real Estate
“As you look through Eric Benner’s website, you see the talent and creativity of a very qualified architect and his firm. But I would like to speak to another side of this man whom I have learned has a very big heart
Over the past year or so, I have worked with Eric on several projects. Eric is part of the Christian organization called Solid Rock Carpenters. (Some of their work is chronicled on this site and at www.solidrockcarpenters.org.) This group helps build affordable houses for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to live in decent, safe, homes.
I have served as Executive Director and Construction Coordinator for Washington Habitat for Humanity in Washington Parish, LA. This is where and how I met Eric. The Solid Rock Carpenters wanted to help build about 12 houses in Franklinton and Bogalusa, LA. We have plans that we use that are simple and the drawings are elementary. Eric took those plans and “fleshed” them out, drawing additional wall sections and layouts that allowed people with limited experience to construct a house that not only exceeded building codes in this hurricane zone, but allowed for creative approaches so we didn’t have a “cookie-cutter” type look in a neighborhood. As a person who has worked with volunteer construction teams for approximately 20 years, these complete drawing take out many potential problems and allow persons who volunteer to see great accomplishments at the end of a day’s work.
Eric did this without charge. I’m not sure what the monetary value of this service would be in today’s dollars; however, I see the perpetual value of his work for years to come. You see, because Eric took hours out of his busy schedule to create the complete working drawings for us, he took days out of construction when these house plans are used again. In other words, he will aid us in the future without making another drawing.
Another aspect of Eric’s work that isn’t often seen is his working knowledge of construction. Having worked with architects on building church buildings, I have seen drawing that are at times so complicated to construct that it was oblivious that the designer hadn’t used a hammer or built buildings before. Eric’s creativity is enhanced because he has built houses and other structures before. I saw Eric in the role of architect when we were completing our drawings. And then I saw Eric with the nail apron on, nailing together boards, leading a team to build these houses.
I wanted to write a little about Eric’s work beyond the professional portfolio that’s seen. I wanted to share about Eric’s principals and convictions. His professionalism is under girded by his character. I am thankful to count Eric as a friend. His knowledge and experience are great assets; but his character and creativity compliment his whole approach. Thanks Eric for what you do to make people’s lives better because you care and follow the Master Carpenter.”Rev. Jeffrey G. Pruett, Sr., M. Div.close friend and advisor
“Mark’s attention to detail and organization skills to bring him to the forefront of everything he does.”John Anstadttrusted colleague
Custom Home Design for Chicago’s Northshore Communities
First of all, it is my honor to be entrusted by clients to collaborate with them on their custom home design. Projects include new homes, additions or renovation of existing homes. There is great satisfaction in making a positive effect in my clients’ lives. While my work has spanned the country, the majority of my 3D home design projects are located in Chicago Northshore communities including:
Deerfield • Glencoe • Highland Park • Kenilworth • Lake Bluff • Lake Forest • Northbrook • Northfield • Winnetka • Wilmette
Sustainability is Crucial
As a residential architect (Chicago custom home design), with a passion for sustainability, I believe that comfort is rooted in the thoughtful application of sustainable design and construction principals. Therefore, efficiency defines the priorities, followed by application of more active technologies. Finally, integrating sustainability into your home must be done with sensitivity so that the home remains the point of focus. Most of all, as design and systems complexity increase, we work diligently to ensure harmonious integration for your home.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
My talented Chicago custom home design team combines residential architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, and more. Then, through advanced technologies like Building Information Modeling (BIM) to ensure that all systems are integrated elegantly into your home. Team members benefit from a far greater depth of understanding. Lastly, virtual reality (VR handheld devices paired with our BIM technology) enable a realistic exploration of your home throughout the entire design process.
At last, I am eager to get to know you and your project and bring your dreams to life.