Grand - Estate Italian Style

This new estate was modeled after an eighth-century villa the homeowners visited on a trip to Italy. The 65-acre site already had been purchased and the house was under construction when Total Environment joined the team. The exterior walks, drive/motor courts, pool and plantings are a collaborative effort of the builder, homeowners, interior designer, architect, and Total Environment’s designer, Joe Coffin.

The group met each week to discuss and refine the master plan for two years before construction began on the exterior. Much of the interior also was included in this collaboration so that the home’s inside would flow seamlessly to its outside. The team worked to make sure the finished product was true to the original concept and incorporated all of the elements that the owners desired. (Future plans included a vineyard, horse barn and pond.) A “folly” gatehouse with perimeter fencing was included in the design for security. Plant material had to have a Mediterranean look and be able to withstand extreme weather atop the hill.

Challenges
  • Existing native oak preservation, especially an 18-inch caliper oak within 20 feet of the house
  • Elevated site with surrounding open prairie created challenges regarding extreme wind; The house and grounds suffered tornado damage twice in five years
  • The design is formal Italian closest to the house, graduating to less formal outward toward the fields and woods at the property’s perimeter
  • Homeowners requested a series of “outdoor rooms” to showcase their sculpture collection and house future acquisitions; Many fountains and building elements were salvaged from historic properties in Europe and the U.S. and were purchased without knowing where they would be used on the project
  • The need for a very detailed, extensive sprinkler system using city water for the pool, fountain and drip zones, along with two onsite wells for rotors and spray zones