Chicago Magazine, Deal Estate, 2008: “A Contemporary Lake Forest Farmhouse”
Frederick Phillips discusses the thinking behind the design of the Glade House with Chicago Magazine’s Dennis Rodkin.
The house that we began to design for my mother, who was at that time living in the carriage house, was really done to simplify and make her life a lot easier than it had been. For that reason, we decided to locate all of the main rooms that she was going to use on one level, which is the main level you see sliding through as you will through the entire structure, which has a master bedroom at the north end, and a living/dining/kitchen area in the remainder, with the kitchen being all the way at the south end.
The idea was that we could give her privacy, but also give her a space that she could enjoy and move around in with great ease. What we chose to do was to pick a palette of materials that would be simple and and informal and really understated, because we wanted to defer to the larger more grand structures to the west, obviously the two main buildings that had been designed by Henry Ives Cobb in 1895.
So we chose materials that would bend with nature. Cedar, primarily, the horizontal siding is a clear western red ceder, and the cedar shingles are eastern white cedar shingles with a very mininal exposure to bring down the scale of the house and give it the kind of informality that you see in a lot of wooded settings, and not necessarily in the suburbs. We really wanted to do something that was similar to what Howard Van Doren Shaw did further north at Ragdale.
One of the things that we were proud of was that we were able to site this house in a Frederick Law Olmsted landscape without tearing down one single large tree. At the same time we wanted the house to take advantage of its setting within the trees. For that reason we were very generous with the number of windows. We wanted to place windows in areas where the direct views of the landscape were possible, but also through the use of clerestory windows, give my mother and others the experience of seeing trees silouetted against the sky, both in the foreground and background.