Prior to this project, I had been working on more contemporary and modern residences of similar size, though my formal training is in the historical type and style exhibited here. Imagine my glee when the client was adamant that the project proceed only if I agreed to design it.
Let me give you an aCS exclusive peek into the process I undertook to create what I call La Residence de Printemps dans l’esprit de Louis XVI. Anthony Michael
THE exterior of this magnificent 30,000 square foot residence was inspired by a private residence just outside the gates of the palace at Versailles. The materials used throughout this project required a whirlwind of excursions to secure both the quality and the highest level of design. The floral, caryatids, and keystones were painstakingly conceived first in clay mockups and then in stone mock ups in Toronto. All architectural components required a study of light and shadow. The carvings above the series of arches are designed to embrace the flora of spring and to soften the regimented appearance of this somewhat imposing residence.
THE garden was inspired by a private residence in Lake Forest, IL and was executed by Craig Bergmann Landscape Designs, responsible for a considerable amount of work at the esteemed Morton Arboretum. More importantly, Bergamann’s aesthetic appealed to me. Along with the client, all three of us worked in the design and execution of the gardens. The fountains alone require a filtration system generally reserved for full fledged swimming pools. The mature plantings were selected in order to instill a sense of permanence and time.
THE extraordinary floor of the foyer was inspired by Pierre Yves Rochon ‘s design for the George V Four Seasons in Paris. The stones I used here include combrune, blue de savioe, juane de siene ( very, very rare) and versailles. I personally examined every inch of space to ensure adherence and consistency in the installation and execution. The stone floors were water jet cut and assembled by the fabricators in France. Epoxy along with specialized netting was fastened to the back of each and every cut and the floors were packed and flat shipped via container and brought directly to the job site. Once installed ten grindings were executed with various “pads/screens” to ensure seamless and uniform installation throughout.
After 18 months and several trips back and forth to Paris and the northern regions near the Pyrenees, I hand selected each and every piece based on consistency of color, movement of veining patterns and depth. The overall goal was to select stone which in all its nuances would create a sumptuous floor pattern that would mesmerize the viewer.
THE client’s request for the kitchen was that we maintain a sense of “coziness” within the grand scale of the space and as well as a sense of tradition. By using different finishes and wood species, we managed to provide a timeless and elegant kitchen which is reminiscent of a bygone era.
The kitchen is actually composed of a series of rooms, each unique for its purpose and the function. For example, a room is dedicated strictly to the high temperature grilling, because the grill is unsightly and somewhat loud. The grill room located beyond the stove/oven space manages to leave the kitchen area less cluttered, emphasizing instead the 21st century appliances.
To the right of the stove/oven space, I designed a kitchen manager’s office. This space is dedicated to meal planning and shopping. It also serves as a message center and provides sweeping views of the rear gardens. Who wouldn’t want to plan an elegant feast in this bespoke room?
I poured over 5 years of my life into designing every detail of this commission of a lifetime. I logged well over 300 hours per month in the creation of an extraordinary home which takes up 7 contiguous city lots in one of Chicago’s most elite neighborhoods and includes staff quarters, a 5000 plus wine cellar, 12 plus baths and a separate catering kitchen designed to accommodate 500 dinner guests. In terms of dollar per square foot, it is currently unmatched by any residence in the USA. Not since the institution of the income tax in 1921 has anyone designed and built a residence such as this one. I am honored to be an integral part of this beautiful project.
Anthony Michael is the principal and founder of Anthony Michael Interior Design in Chicago. See more of his work at AnthonyMichaelInteriorDesign.com You can see his design for a Trump Tower pied-a-terre in the current issue of Modern Luxury’s Interiors Magazine.