Brazilian-born Renata Sanfilippo brings her Latin flair to Barrington, while supporting her family’s long tradition of giving back to the community.
It’s a beautiful morning in Barrington and the sun is glistening off the rooftop of Jim and Renata Sanfilippo’s stately home. Their 2-year old twins Enzo and Jasper are running outdoors without coats on for the first time this season, being chased by the family’s two purse-sized pooches. Tucked away inside in the couple’s dining room is a pink pen with a luxe chicken that keeps trying to escape.
“That’s Lacey Lou,” Renata says telling the chicken to get back in its pen. “She thinks she’s a person.”
To most, having a chicken living indoors may seem a little out of the ordinary. But to Renata and those who love her, it’s part of the color she brings with her to her life in Barrington.
“There are chickens running around everywhere where I grew up in Brazil,” explains Renata. “And I have always loved animals. When I moved to Barrington and was looking for ways to meet people, I discovered that there was a club for people who love chickens. I call it the ‘chicken coup’ club. There are about 60 of us. We get together, exchange eggs, and we even have a pageant where we show our birds.”
Renata’s zest for life is undeniable—her chickens are just one example. At an early age, she began traveling the world, sure to experience the best the different cultures had to offer, having studied in Japan as a college student. Her latest passion is polo, something she and her husband play regularly on the Sanfilippo’s practice field adjacent to their home.
Renata’s Brazilian flair serves her well as she supports the Sanfilippo’s many charitable causes. Fresh from hosting an event in their pied-a-terre in the Trump Tower to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, the duo is still on a high—having raised a record-breaking amount that evening.
“We love to open our home for causes we believe in,” says Renata. “Anything that helps children has my heart.”
Jim comes from a family that has long opened the doors to their family home to benefit charities that are dear to them. As CEO of Clear Lam Packing and co-director of the Sanfilippo Family Foundation, he feels a sense of responsibility and obligation to give back—a tradition that his parents imparted on their five children.
“Children and families in need are at the core of our mission for our foundation,” explains Jim. “Then a secondary mission is sharing and educating the public about our family’s collection of mechanical music. To hide this collection and not share it with wider community would be very hard for us.”
The collection of which Jim speaks, “Place de la Musique,” is known for its antique music machines, phonographs, arcade and gambling machines, chandeliers, art glass, the world’s largest restored theater pipe organ, a European salon carousel, street and tower clocks, steam engines, and other mechanical antiques. Place de la Musique boasts of the largest collection of restored automatic musical instruments in the world. Since 1985, the Sanfilippos have graciously partnered with organizations to host their events on their estate.
Today, Jim’s parents and their descendents live on 200 neighboring acres in Barrington Hills. “We live near each other and work together and somehow still have harmony in the family,” says Jim. “I think it’s that we all have the common goal of making good things happen in the world.”
Dress by Alexander McQueen available from Neiman Marcus, 847-563-0300; necklace and earrings available exclusively from M.J. Miller & Co., 847-381-7900; ring and bracelet, Renata’s own.