Neither Mariani Landscape nor Frank Ponterio Interior Design really needed another project to show off. Both Chicago area firms have done plenty of extraordinary work, as browsing the portfolios on their respective websites illustrates. Their recent collaboration on the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, however, clearly adds another marquee job to the list.
The former home of the late filmmaker John Hughes was chosen as this year’s Showhouse, an annual benefit put on by Chicago’s Infant Welfare Society. More than a dozen landscaping and interior design firms volunteered their talents toward updating and
decorating the already magnificent house, which was designed by architect Edwin Hill Clark. Clark also designed the Lake Forest Library, Ferry Hall, Lincoln Park and Brookfield Zoos, as well as several other homes in Lake Forest.
Mariani Landscape and Frank Ponterio Interior Design worked together on the home’s gardens. The award-winning firms’ collaboration – predictably perhaps – produced awesome results. Still, both firm’s principals will be the first to tell you they had an exceptional property to work with.
“When it comes to exterior design, I want to create outdoor living spaces that invite people in,” Ponterio wrote in a brief blog post on his firm’s website, “and on this project, history and function combined in an artful way to do just that.
“The estate’s Tudor style was beautifully complemented by the rich plantings of the English garden. Modern day amenities including a fire pit, bar, decorative accessories and comfortable, conversational seating groups transformed the space into a place to relax, linger and enjoy the gorgeous spring greenery.”
The magic worked by Mariani Landscape surrounds and sets off Ponterio’s choices in the seating area and elsewhere. Plantings for the Mariani landscape design (as seen in the photographs here) were bountiful to the point of magnificence. Yet, like any successful design, they stopped short of being “too much.”