Story by Nancy Miller
Photos by Tony Bennett
Layers of intrigue unveil themselves as glamour and elegance coalesce in a kaleidoscope of stunning architecture and interior design at Terri and Steve Bass’ home.
Situated on three-and-a-half acres in Glenview, the New England-style home, built in 2014, is an orchestration of builder Mark Campisano and Partners, architect Fran Scott, draftsman Doug Surgeon and designer Jackie Richardson of Rich Interiors.
Terri, a realtor with Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty, and Steve, an investor, each had a vision of the house they would build on the property. Sharing similar tastes, they melded their ideas into what became a year-long creative experience. “I was here every day for 51 weeks, from the first day we moved dirt until the house was completed,” says Steve.
Cedar shake siding shingles and Indiana limestone are paired with a dimensional shingle and copper roof, establishing a look of timeless character.
The couple agreed that they didn’t need an overly formal living room, and instead wanted a space dressy enough for frequent entertaining but comfortable enough for living day-to-day. The resulting open great room and kitchen capture the spirit of both.
“It was important to us that we not have rooms that didn’t make sense,” says Terri, “and the house needed to be designed for aging-in-place.” That was accomplished by architectural features such as tall, wide doorways, as well as eliminating steps from the garage into the house and installing an elevator to all three floors.
Setting the scene in the great room is a color palette of soft grays and golds, totally unlike the colors in homes where the Basses have lived in the past. Central to the room’s design is a leather and chrome Ralph Lauren chandelier. What looks to be precariously balanced on a piece of glass anchored to a stud in the wall is a brilliantly colored vessel by glass artist Steven Powell. Powell advised the Basses on installing the art, which Steve assures nervous visitors is securely fixed to the base with “a tiny piece of adhesive,” making the sculpture appear to float.
The gallery above the great room highlights the open concept. In the gallery are alcoves, wallpapered in cork and metallic, that display a portion of Terri’s collection of porcelains. The gallery is also distinguished by four styles of spindles. “I had listed a 120-year-old home on Cherokee Parkway that had beautiful spindles of different styles and thought, ‘Ooh, I want that!’” remembers Terri.
Unique to the gallery are medallions applied to the trim, which were inspired by the Basses’ visit to Tuscany. There they met the owner of Le Potazzine winery. He explained that the design for his wine bottle labels depicts songbirds, a tribute to his daughter. The Basses also have two daughters, prompting them to have the gallery’s bird motif medallions custom-made.
Among the Asian-influenced accessories Terri has collected is a centuries-old wood carving purchased from antiquarian Steve Tipton. It is flanked by two vases of seasonal florals.
“At our other home, we had tons and tons of antiques,” says Terri. “They were perfect for that home, so the new owners of the house bought most of them. In this house, we have many new pieces, which have been fun to acquire.” Showcased in a large cabinet are exquisite pieces of silver. “I’m a lucky recipient of Steve’s mother’s and grandmother’s very old silver, which I love. For anything other than everyday dining, I use silver.”
Three banks of doors lead from the great room to the veranda that in the winter can be closed off with vinyl retractable windows. The Basses and visitors can luxuriate in summer-like weather even though the thermometer may register 30 degrees outside. Retractable screens allow the veranda to be used when the weather does an about-face. On the bluestone patio that has a picturesque view of the Ohio River, a fountain the Basses discovered on a trip to Vietnam provides a conversation piece of functional art. A Big Green egg, pizza oven and gas grill heat up to make a cool outdoor kitchen for planned events or pop-up parties.
Of particular significance to the wine-collecting couple is the wine room that’s located off the foyer and across from the dining room. “We use the wine room as art,” says Terri about the room, which stores about 1,100 bottles in a geothermal unit behind a wall of glass. “Although we had a wine cellar in our previous home, it was on the lower level. When we entertained, we may have brought up four bottles, but by the time the evening was over, we may have brought up six or seven. This is so much more convenient.” Outside of the actual rock-floor wine storage space is an invitingly seductive sitting area embellished by silver and beige wallpaper and a mirrored relief liquor cabinet. On the cabinet is placed a sculpture, “Noah’s Ark,” by Frank Meisler, an internationally-acclaimed artist who is noted for his exhibits in Israel, the Caribbean and Russia.
The dining room was designed around a mahogany with inlay table made by Bittners Master Craftsman Hubert Schuwey. A distressed mirror server enhanced by a brass grill is a striking accompaniment to the table.
A beige and teal color story and a fireplace with a marble surrounding imbue the master bedroom with high-style serenity. Nailhead-on-linen nightstands sit on either side of an iron bed. Mirrored transoms block light and provide a reflective surface. “We love sitting here looking out at the creek,” says Terri. “It’s one of our prettiest views.” A small ceramic accent piece on a cabinet is a sweet nod to the end of the day: “Always kiss me goodnight.”
His and her baths meet in the middle at a spacious walk-through shower. In Terri’s bath, Asian pieces decorate niches behind a soaking tub. The room’s white cabinetry, marble floors and mirrored chandelier and sconces instill a whisper of an ultra luxuriant, slightly sparkly spa.
A working pantry is another of Terri’s favorite areas of the home. Similar to what the Basses had seen in a friend’s home, the pantry is ideal for baking and food staging, and there’s plenty of room for caterers to function during parties. A butler’s pantry was built between the kitchen and dining room.
The home chef’s kitchen accommodates well-known chefs when they cook at the Basses’ for fundraisers or other events. But, the kitchen is very much used by the Basses themselves. “Steve has become the chef at home, but we like to cook together when we entertain,” says Terri. A 17-foot walnut island doubles as a large prep area and a buffet for family gatherings.
“We have been successful at entertaining for many non-profit organizations,” she says. “Sometimes it’s cocktails and conversation, or it might be a kick-off to an event. I would guess that over the years, we have done several hundred such events at our various homes because they’re a good way to give back.”
Last year, a dinner at the Basses’ sold for more than $10,000 at a Gilda’s Club auction. They recently hosted 60 women for the kick-off to Wine Women and Shoes to benefit Family Scholar House.
The Basses’ close friends, the late author Sue Grafton and her husband Steve Humphrey, would host theme nights at their neighboring home, coordinating food and a movie, such as having a chef make Beef Bourguignon while guests watched Julie & Julia. Steve said to Terri, “Let’s do that in this house.” Family and friends now join for entertainment in their state-of-the-art theater.
One theater night celebrated a noteworthy occasion as Steve’s parents, Sonny and Gladys, were able to take the elevator to the lower level theater to watch a video of their 70th anniversary party held at the Kentucky Derby Museum.
When Steve is asked about the evening, he’s silent and his expression changes. The emotion so visible in his eyes tells it all. Then, in the simplest words, he says, “It was a very special night.”
Of the home and the life he and Terri lead in it, he says, “We’re very blessed.”