This past spring, 42 Chicago-area interior designers and 12 landscape pros took on the formidable task of adorning the 2007 Lake Forest Showhouse
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The family room ::: view gallery
THE FAMILY ROOM
It’s not easy to create coziness in a newly constructed addition with 191⁄2-foot vaulted ceilings, but Frank Ponterio managed to make this room feel as weathered and charming as the rest of the house (which has approximately nine-foot ceilings). He gave the walls a warm striated-glaze finish and put overtufted chenille flowered curtains from Nobilis of Paris on the windows and over the doors (which, Ponterio points out, looked tiny cut into soaring walls). Virtually all of the furnishings are bigger or taller than those found in the rest of the house. The six-foot chandelier, for example, hangs from a three-foot chain. For the sitting area, Ponterio purchased a curvy, high-backed antique sofa from Thomas Jolly Antiques and had a companion sofa custom-made with a similarly high back and a floor-sweeping skirt “to keep it soft; too much vertical upholstery would have been too boxy.” The stars of the show are the pair of Victoria Hagan tall wingback chairs from Holly Hunt. “People kept moving them apart, but I kept pushing them back together,” Ponterio says. “They create intimacy.” The other detail that kept the masses titillated for the run of the event: in lieu of flowers on the coffee table, Ponterio put water and one black fish in a hurricane bowl.
THE BACK TERRACE
The generous proportions of the back terrace are in keeping with the large size of the property. Giving it style as well as definition was the task of Drew Johnson of Rocco Fiore and Sons, who used boxwood hedges and pea gravel to delineate three distinct sitting areas. Shown here is the only one with shade (“every yard needs some spot of shade,” he says), which Johnson created by planting a mature crabapple tree and putting a lovely bench below it. Updating the Victorian-era tradition of filling planters with elaborate “collections” of flowers, Johnson filled his own sturdy containers (custom made from perlite, peat moss, and Portland cement) with modern-feeling succulents and herbs. By putting ground-hugging sedums at the planters’ bases, he created the illusion that the herbs had been spilling out and reseeding over time—another way to establish that sense of Old World permanence he was going for.
Photography: Alan Shortall