Of master architect David Adler’s 45 country houses, 27 were in Chicago, including Ann Marie and Tony Farino’s residence on Estate Lane in Lake Forest, once the coach house for the Albert Lasker estate, constructed in 1926.
Lasker’s Chicago advertising firm, Lord & Thomas (later becoming Foote, Cone & Belding) was the agency of record for household names including Lucky Strike, Sunkist, Pepsodent, Kimberly-Clark, and Studebaker.
Along with his Chicago home at 15 West Burton Place, Lasker had a summer residence in Glencoe on the grounds of Lake Shore Country Club. In 1926, he commissioned David Adler to construct buildings on an estate over 480 acres—west of Waukegan Road and South of Route 60—which he purchased at the cost of $3.5 million. Named Mill Road Farm, the original estate featured such showstoppers as six miles of clipped hedges; a swimming pool measuring 100 x 40 feet; horse stables, and even a private 18-hole golf course.
It’s hard to imagine the Farino residence, with its timeless elegance, was ever anything other than an estate in its own right. With more than 8,000 feet of living space, including 11 well-appointed rooms, five bedrooms, six baths, this luxurious home is ideally suited for modern family living. And it was a case of real estate love-at-first-sight in 2012.
“As we pulled into the circular drive, my husband Tony and I felt we were on vacation,” says Farino. “Once he saw the garden view from our bedroom, he looked at me and said he wanted to bring our families together and live our new lives here. It just felt right—it’s where we connected and it felt like home to us,” she explains.
“I did have some design ideas right when we walked in, in terms of ways to make it even more ‘David Adler’ but I believe in living in a space for a little while so you can see how you really use it. So we took our time to reimagine the interior but always held firm that the style should honor the architect whom we both admire,” she says.
“Classic with a twist of the unexpected, just to keep things interesting,” says Farino, with a twinkle in her eye, describing her design aesthetic. And that’s clear from the hand-painted dining room panels to the espresso lacquered walls in the garden room; the bold mix of traditional yet current as well as the historic and modern artwork that happily coexist to create a decidedly classic, upbeat home.
arino is a lead interior designer at Lake Forest-based Mark David Design, a global firm and boutique destination in the heart of Lake Forest.
Specializing in residential interiors, her finely tuned eye for space, color, line, shape, and texture is evident throughout the home. Comfort is key, with cashmere throws, several fireplaces, and cozy alcoves throughout. From a puzzle in the garden room to a card table in the dining room, Farino believes every room in the home should be a gathering place for family and dear friends.
The house was made for entertaining, with the grand and welcoming foyer featuring a hand-stained floor design by Julie Lutjen Lawrence incorporating florets from the original door design, a bronze and butler brass sweeping staircase, and a very special clock dating back to 1776.
In addition to her home, Farino has led wide-ranging projects from luxury spaces to making big design come to life on a small budget. One client met with Farino and said, “This is yours,” as she handed off the keys and blueprints for a seasonal home in Florida. The assignment: install all elements from furnishings to art to guest towels—everything was to be in place for the reveal, with minimal involvement by the client.”
“That was a real honor because I was given so much latitude, based on their trust of my vision. And it was a spectacular outcome because they were so happy with my work,” says Farino.
“No one gets more excited about design than Mark and I do when we are working together in the studio and unboxing treasures for the store,” Farino reveals. “And that’s certainly true for my home. Tony and I still feel the same way we did when we first saw it–we love that it’s a serene, welcoming home for our family and friends. There’s nothing better than that.”