Private Residence "Villa Riolo"- North Barrington, IL
Home Builder's Association of Greater Chicago
Excellence in Housing Design
Custom Home 7,501 sq ft & over
Gold Key Award
Jawort-Lowell Inc. Master Builders
Page One Interiors
|As you pass through the gates of Villa Riolo and follow the turns of the cobblestone via, a sense of contextual harmony envelops you. The serial effect of the procession unfolds as clusters of tall pine tree trunks frame numerous views of the refuge that lies before you. Surrounding tree boughs canopy the exterior space. Each step in the progression offers a new impression of the marriage between strong geometry and natural materials.|
This enchanting procession sets the scene for what the owner describes as "his own little villa" reminiscent of his birthplace in Italy. The residence is set among many prestigious homes in Wynstone, a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course community. The lot is situated on a point at the end of a cul-du-sac setting it apart from the neighboring properties. The site's terrain and thick standing timber isolate it from neighboring homes, enhancing its individuality. Certain aspects of the site such as the 300° panoramic view of golf the course as well as the natural features of this unique site, served as primary inspirations for the architect's design. The resulting design embodies the Italian Renaissance notion of an "urban villa", or rather, a retreat within an urban setting.
|Tall slender pines comprise the foreground. The strong vertical axis of these trees balance the contrasting horizontal lines and planes of the cedar shake hip roofs and thin courses of natural weathered-edge limestone of the residence's facade. Copper arched barrel vaults punctuate the horizontal eave line, anchoring the house to the ground plane. The plan encompasses the entrance drive like inviting open arms. A large porte cochere further welcomes the visitor, beginning a strong axial entry procession to the heart of the home. Upon entry into to the foyer, one is struck with the feeling of being in an Italian piazza. A two-story, lantern skylight floods the foyer with light. Tall wispy trees in the two-story plant wells rise from the lower level. Immediately, an inviting warmth is felt. The soft glow of lights and subdued atmospheric finishes set the mood.|
The initial meeting between owner and architect began with the owner describing the sense of place he wanted to capture with his home. The home was to serve as a private residence as well as a corporate retreat for entertaining long time business acquaintances. In listening to the owner's program, the architect heard both the physical requirements as well as important cues from the personality of the owner.
All spaces radiate off the foyer. This radial layout promotes the interaction of guests that mingle among the rooms; as the piazza gives a sense of community to a village. Each room introduces ceiling heights and special treatments with appropriate scale to the size and function intended. Areas used for intimate gatherings are differentiated with the use of lowered ceiling heights, and soffits. The glow of fireplaces furher help to signify special gathering places. Extensive fenestration presents dramatic views of the golf course and country club in the distance.
The architect and interior designer worked closely throughout the project to choose finishes and furnishings to complement the architectural elements and details; thus giving personality to the space. Much attention is given to emotions invoked while experiencing the residence. The house and its finishes are not meant to be the focal point; but rather a background for the activities and warm hospitality shared within the home. The finishes, warm lighting, and human-scale architectural elements are merely props to help contribute to this subtle statement. The palette of materials and distinctive geometry creates a soft contemporary design with traditional elements of form and detail. Villa Riolo is truly a villa that is a reflection of its owner.