Modern French Provincial

This new French provincial home with a modern twist on Chicago’s North Shore called for an exquisite landscape to match.

A new home was an exciting time for this family, but settling in called for a modern landscape to match the tasteful charm of the grand estate. The landscape should be poised to take advantage of the stunning lake views, yet comfortable as well, providing spaces to gather and play for friends and family members. When realizing their vision, the design team considered the family’s favorited activities: they loved to cook, sourcing their own herbs and vegetables to use; they love to entertain, whether it be hosting tailgates or dinner parties. The site began with very little – the construction of the estate had left the surrounding areas bare. The solution would be one that incorporated elements of French design while respecting the context of the surrounding midwestern area.

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To achieve an exterior design that fulfilled this family’s wishes, teams began with the west lawn. Situated directly in front of the home, the area is left open for complete flexibility, yet it is far from uninteresting. A thick arborvitae hedge borders both sides of the drive upon entry, acting like a portal from the street to the estate. The ensuing open area is kept neat and simple with meticulous boxwood hedges. Linden trees, perfectly aligned, decorate the edges outside. A full tennis court resides on the westernmost edge of the lawn, hemmed in by evergreens to create a degree of separation for the courts and accompanying viewing terrace, awaiting those who seek a thrilling game. The eastern lawn encompasses the pool house, pool and deck areas, and a poolside cabana. Framed in boxwoods, this estival location abides by the restrained European elegance of the property. A path of geometric pavers leads visitors to the pristine pool deck, where white lounges and pool umbrellas are positioned symmetrically. To the left, a cabana with comfortable seating, TV, and fireplace; on the right, a dark modern pool house with an outdoor kitchen and dining area.

The grandeur of this location is completed by the masterful planting design. A hidden garden on the southern edge of the estate is a picture of tranquility. Hydrangeas, white roses, and ornamental grasses add seasonal variety to colorful purple annuals. A rustic-looking seating area makes the room casual and nonchalant. Planters sprinkled throughout the property allow the area to appear aged and decorous. Notably, the bluff required great attention during the project, coming to fruition at the hands of a team of engineers. Stormwater drainage is now collected in an underground storage system, while the top remains both functional and pleasant with the addition of ornamental grasses and perennials. A sea of purple-pink alliums and native plants provide habitats for wildlife and migratory birds.

Stunning examples of organization, outdoor activities, and expert usage of color: the redecorated landscape expertly uses simplicity to create elegance.

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