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The Odd and Fabulous

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Corum Deo - A Richardsonian Romanesque "Masterpiece"

I worked on this house many moons ago (2005) when I was with a small design firm. It was one of the more interesting residential projects I'd ever worked on because the owners were:
  • A) Rich
  • B) Water Park Developers
  • C) Lilliputians

They had bought an old house in Highland Park to tear down.  They wanted something grand and architecturally significant.  After looking at different design styles they zeroed in on the Richardsonian Romanesque.  I really love this style.  It's stately, playful, and fluid. 

I here you. "But Patra, what exactly IS Richardsonian Romanesque?"  You COULD take Art History at your local University, but I'll give you the Cliff notes:

Named after the famous Architect, H.H. Richardson, it was popular from around 1860 - 1900.  The style mainly comprises load-bearing masonry walls, cast iron, rusticated stone and boulders.  It features an asymmetrical design with round-arched or rectangular windows and large arches at the entry.

Here are some examples:

I found out that the original owners sold the house in January 2014 and pulled these photographs off the MLS listing.  It's a beautiful home and quite LARGE (nearly 10,000 SF) for such tiny people. *grin*  

The listing said:  
Situated on a corner lot on one of the largest lots in Highland Park and completed in 2005, this masterfully created modern Richardsonian Romanesque masterpiece called Coram Deo is a local landmark ($9,995,000). The exterior is comprised most entirely of granite and showcases state-of-the-art and green amenities, including incredible craftsmanship, spectacular entertaining rooms, Black Walnut and Mesquite wood, custom molding and lighting treatments, 7 bedrooms. This stunning home has a 1,200 square foot master suite, 9.3 baths, 13 living and 3 dining areas, 7 fireplaces, 2 stunning pools and spas with waterfalls, 1,500 square feet of verandas.
The front facade is clad in granite and stone.  Large arches at the entrance are indicative of the Richardsonian Romanesque

The original plan for this pool/spa was to have a couple of water park tube slides.  I'm not sure why it didn't get built.  The City of Highland Park may have axed it because of height restrictions.

 The Porch.
You can see how much granite is used.  This porch wraps around a good portion of the front corner of the house.

Beautiful Grand Staircase.
Circles set within squares is a repeated theme throughout the house.

The Great Room has a barrel vault that runs the length of the room.

 The Dining Room looks onto the Grand Staircase.  A two-sided fireplace, one of many, connects the Dining Room and the Great Room

The Kitchen.
I love the square windows with circular mullions above the cabinets.  You can see them inlaid in the cabinets as well.

 The Bar.

The Library is my favorite room in the house.  It also has a barrel vault running the length of the room and a blue granite fireplace.  These pictures do not do it justice.

Master Bedroom and Bath.  
That circular thing in the bathroom picture above is a Roman Soaking Tub.  Did you notice the square windows with the circular mullions again?

 This is the view when you walk out of the house into the back... oasis.  There are 2 levels to the pools with a waterfall connecting them,

Fun facts about this house:
It has 7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and 7 fireplaces.  Each of the bedrooms has a private bathroom. Neither the husband nor the wife stood higher than about 5'-2", but they insisted that all the door opening in the house be 36" or wider.  I am a hair shy of 5'-2" myself and every time I visited the house during construction I felt like Jack sneaking through the Giant's lair.  The granite on the house was changed at least 3 times before the designer and owner agreed on it.  I did mention they were rich...

And they named the house - Corum Deo.  Is that something rich people do?