A gracious villa returns to former glory
Retaining the original footprint, this 1920s italianate residence emerged from a total restoration with its old world charm intact.
It’s one thing to design a home in a regional style and fit it comfortably in another part of the world. It’s another challenge altogether to reimagine the interiors of that same home and make them feel like they’ve been there forever. That’s exactly the adventure aerobatic pilot, world traveler, and environmentalist Laurie McFarlin embarked on in 1999, when she bought a 1920s Italianate villa in Marin County that enjoys sweeping views of the area’s hilly landscape.
A Valentine to Classical European Design
From antique built-ins to the completely programmable fiber-optic lighting system to the saline swimming pool with underwater speakers, renovating the estate was a labor of love and a valentine to classical European design. Nothing in the house was there before, except for the beams in the living room, says McFarlin, who worked with interior designer Suzanne Tucker, of Tucker & Marks, and architect Andrew Skurman.
While careful to retain the house’s extraordinary exterior footprint, McFarlin gutted the structure down to its studs and had the floorplan reconfigured for better flow.
The house was given an earthquake retro-fit. Steel I-beams were sunk 21 feet into bedrock and a central AC and heating system and a state-of-the-art sound system were installed. Such technological amenities bring the villa comfortably into the 21st century, but built-in pieces from the past give the home its true character.