JURY COMMENDS WHIMSY FARM’S ‘INVITING AND WARM SOCIAL SPACES’
The ASLA Illinois chapter has given Hollander Design’s “Whimsy Farm” project a 2022 Merit Award.
Whimsy Farm is defined by strong axes and garden rooms, spatial relationships to architecture, and materials that celebrate the vernacular. Woven in and throughout this traditional framework are a sense of whimsy and a definitive step toward ecological health in the landscape.
Spanning 13.5 acres within a secluded woodland, the property incorporates an original house (now guesthouse), a new main house, and an expansive, naturalized landscape that balances fun with easy outdoor living.
Garden areas had specific program requirements – the chef wanted a working farm orchard, cutting garden, outdoor kitchen. The actor wanted a sense of mystery, an experience of magic and surprise. The result is whimsical, not formal. Revived, not replaced.
New garden elements include a pool dining area, topiary garden walk, front entry gardens, kitchen and dining terrace and courtyard. A new, diverse orchard with apples, pears, peaches and plums complements an abundant vegetable garden.
Several elements in the landscape – a grand lawn, tennis court – existed before yet were set slightly off axis. Our challenge was to artfully retain the charm of that aesthetic while making the space work better functionally. We realigned the tennis court and shifted other areas slightly for alignment with primary views. We used the historic stone walls and primary axis views but improved the overall flow and relationships between garden elements.
By design, the pastoral becomes ecologically sustainable: we re-used an existing geothermal well, added a large solar panel field, added beehives, planted pollinator-friendly gardens, and replaced large swaths of lawn with a soft fescue and clover blend. All hardscape materials, including the terraces, walls & stairs are either local or re-used.
The jury commented, “this is a fun and thoughtful design that creates really inviting and warm social spaces.”
We were delighted to collaborate with Povero & Company on this project, which also won a Stanford White Award from the ICAA in 2021.
Photos by Neil Landino.