365 Days of Vacation

As nesting becomes the norm for more and more people, with the home as the hub of all activity, architect Tony Perry says good home design should do two important things: create a vacation home’s look and feel in primary residences, and give people qui...

June 01, 2002

 

A Granite credenza turns a bay window's sill into a work area.

As nesting becomes the norm for more and more people, with the home as the hub of all activity, architect Tony Perry says good home design should do two important things: create a vacation home’s look and feel in primary residences, and give people quiet spaces.

Because of September 11, people are not going to feel as comfortable traveling for the next few years, and they’re looking for other options because they’re going to adopt this as a new lifestyle,” Perry says. “People are asking me to re-create some of the wonderful places they’ve been to in their houses, especially since they’ve seen it in mine.”

Perry, vice president of design for Orren Pickell Builders in Bannockburn, Ill., built his residential “getaway,” a 4,500-square-foot home in Libertyville, Ill., as part of Orren Pickell’s annual Concept Series, which highlights new ideas in design, construction and/ or technology. Built on 2 acres of floodplain and wetland, the home was raised on a slab of concrete, and Perry routed water to the rear of the home to create two ponds.

A lot of the design aspects of the house focus on the views,” Perry says. “The site has a great amount of amazing natural views on the sides and back, and we used windows of different sizes and shapes to create targeted views to specific things we wanted visible from the house.”

One way Perry achieved this was by creating a 7x7-foot bay window granite credenza that serves as a sill and his tabletop/work area.

 

A curved bench gives family members a place to read together "hit to hip" or "head to feet," architect Tony Perry says.

I wanted to feel like I was really outside drawing, and I needed a big enough work space to hold a set of drawings that I could roll out,” Perry says. “Instead of the sill of the window just being L-shaped, I added a fun curved shape to it, and that way it allows for knee space underneath. When you’re working there, it actually feels like you’re by the pond and oak trees.”

Other features that celebrate the languidness and reflection of a vacation include the home’s three screened porches.

These sunset porches come from going to places like Cancun and Acapulco, places where they really celebrate the sunset, and it’s also a big part of our family culture,” Perry says. “The third screened porch is directly off of the master bedroom. We call it the nest porch because it’s right up in the trees — it’s like sleeping outside. That’s another thing people have asked us to do for them.”

Perry also achieved what he calls “connected privacy” in his home. He created areas such as a sleepover loft in the attic and bonus space over the garage where he, his wife or children can entertain friends or simply be alone without being isolated from the entire home. Perry also says that “any good floor plan should have a quiet room on the first floor,” and his home is filled with nooks and other spaces for reading and unwinding, including an inglenook underneath the stairs and a curved, built-in reading bench on the second floor.

I have a very open floor plan, and typically architects like to design houses that are very clean, void of any details and little nooks,” Perry says. “But I really think people are going toward a trend for little spots to have a glass of wine, set a plant, or sit down and read a book because they’re going to be spending more time at home.

This whole notion of designing a home like a vacation home is where the next trend is going to be. People want to live a very casual lifestyle, they want to be able to enjoy their family, they want to have a lot of flexibility for the family events and lifestyle changes as older family members move back in. They want that warm feeling like ‘this is the home to come back to.’

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