MERE SOUVENIRS WOULDN'T suffice for this family of five after a trip to Tuscany. Instead, they brought back inspiration for their new home. So smitten were the neurosurgeon and his psychotherapist wife with the Palazzo Terranova that they took photographs of the picturesque 17th century villa nestled in the verdant hills of Umbria and used those as inspiration for a family home equally as warm and stunning.
“We love the countryside of Italy,” the wife says. “We have been fortunate to travel several times to Tuscany and Umbria, and fell in love with the beauty of the architecture and design there. We wanted a home that was reminiscent of the gorgeous villa we’ve spent time in.” To that end, they called upon architectural firm Morgante-Wilson to complete the interior architecture and design of their 10,000-square-foot lakeside Glencoe home. Warm colors, a mix of antique and contemporary furnishings, and inviting fabrics combine to create a sense that the pieces in the Tuscan-style home were collected over time. Clear sight lines, and a color palette of blues and greens pulled from the water and nearby ravine, blur the lines between inside and outside.
“The home is on a secluded lot on the lake with a private driveway,” says K. Tyler, interior design principal at the firm. “We wanted to optimize views and create a very comfortable home for everyday living and entertaining. It has a lot of Old World charm to it.”
Terra-cotta floor tiles are responsible for much of that charm. Imported from Mexico, they are virtually impervious to the demands of three children ages 12 to 18, two dogs, an assortment of fish and one cockatiel. Each brick—from the entire floor on the first level to the groin ceiling in the dining room—was individually cut, numbered and laid by a team of skilled masons. In the foyer, the masons created a concentric pattern, and in other rooms, the bricks form a herringbone pattern. “Every time you step over a threshold in the house, the pattern of the floor tiles changes, just like it does at the Palazzo Terranova,” the wife says. “The masons were so lovely and enjoyed the chance to showcase their work.” The floor tiles also feel really good underfoot and distinguish the couple’s home from a typical North Shore mansion. “The terra-cotta floors feel authentically Italian and add a lot of old-world character,” Tyler says.
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