written by:
photos by:
August 29, 2015
Originally published in 15 Years of the Best Modern Homes
as
In Good Order
Architectural harmony defines a family’s home near Lake Tahoe.
Bancroft residence living room with Antonio Citterio sofa

A piece by John Belingheri hangs in the living room of the Bancroft family’s home, which is centered by an Antonio Citterio sofa and Robert Marinelli tables. 

Photo by 
1 / 19
Bancroft residence staircase and entryway with custom walnut door.

The entrance is highlighted by a custom walnut door designed by the architect, Jack Hawkins. Cheryl Chenault designed the interiors.

Photo by 
2 / 19
In Good Order entrance with glass, concrete, steel, and wood material palette.

The entrance introduces the home’s main materials: steel, glass, wood, and concrete

Photo by 
3 / 19
Bancroft residence library with wall-sized chalkboard

The library holds a wall-size blackboard for the Bancrofts’ four children, with a colorful permanent piece by local artist Derek Phillips. 

Photo by 
4 / 19
Bancroft residence concrete patio with picnic bench.

A picnic table from Janus et Cie sits off the kitchen; the landscape architecture is by Richard D. Wood. In addition to passive solar, says Hawkins, “there is the added benefit of a thick concrete slab as a thermal mass that absorbs and stores the heat from the sun.” 

Photo by 
5 / 19
Bancroft residence kitchen island with Norman Cherner barstools.

Norman Cherner barstools from Design Within Reach line the island in the kitchen, which is crowned by an open loft office. The faucets are from Dornbracht; the countertops are Caesarstone. Hawkins integrated a steel-clad casual eating nook, at left.  

 

Photo by 
6 / 19
Bancroft Residence exterior nature

The structure sits among the trees on the three-acre site. “The elevation is 6,600 feet—you can sit outside even in winter,” says Hawkins. “There’s a lot of outdoor space, which helps tie the project to the property. The design was all about fitting it into the environment.”

 

Photo by 
7 / 19
Bancoft residence bedroom built-in cabinets and anigre bed.

Hawkins created the built-in anigre bed and side tables in the master bedroom. Chenault designed the bedding; the sconces are from Artemide.

Photo by 
8 / 19
Bancroft residence Arne Jacobsen egg chair and flokati rug.

In one corner of the room, an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair and ottoman rest on a flokati rug. Overhead is an Ecos pendant by Vistosi.

Photo by 
9 / 19
Bancroft residence bathroom rain shower with frosted glass

“The central vision was threefold: interiors that would bring the family joy, support their daily activities, and provide specific areas of refuge for each member and as a family,” says Chenault, who integrated a Hansgrohe Axor rain shower in the master bath, which has frosted glass.

Originally appeared in Designing for Privacy: 8 Discreet Uses for Frosted Glass
10 / 19
Bancroft residence irregular windows.

“It’s like an oasis—we never had privacy before.” —Amy Bancroft, resident

 

Photo by 
11 / 19
Bancroft residence open kitchen with sliding doors.

The kitchen opens to the elements thanks to sliding doors from C.R. Laurence. The anigre in the kitchen is the same employed in the master bedroom.

Photo by 
12 / 19
Bancroft residence children's bedroom with sloped ceiling.

A sloping ceiling allows light into one of the children’s bedrooms. The bed is from CedarWorks.

Photo by 
13 / 19
Bancroft residence guesthouse and motor court.

The guesthouse hovers above the motor court. “The main area was broken up into four zones: the kids wing, the guest suite, the master suite, and the living-dining room and kitchen, which is a transition area, where public meets private,” says Hawkins.

Photo by 
14 / 19
Bancroft residence custom neon artwork on a concrete wall.

On a concrete wall near the stairway off the main hallway hangs an artwork that depicts the children. Nick conceptualized the piece with painter Bryce Chisholm and artist Jeff Johnson, who did the custom neon work. The floor is also made from concrete.

 

Photo by 
15 / 19
Bancroft residence awning and picnic table

You'd never designed for special needs children before the Bancroft residence, how did you interpret the clients' needs?

Jack Hawkins, architect: I would like to say I did tons of research, but I didn't. I went with the parents' lead. I took most of my design cues from them. They're the immediate caregivers, they know their children and about autism. They did all the research and told me what was important.

Photo by 
16 / 19
Bancroft residence dining room

What are some places the children's and parents' needs dovetail in the design?

There was a lot of concern about minimizing clutter. There's acres of cabinetry to put things away. I think that helps to keep the kids calm. Clutter is really hard on autistic kids. Being able to keep things clean seems to really help. This place had to be user-friendly for the kids, parents, and tutors. 

Photo by 
17 / 19
Bancroft residence freestanding tub

What advice would you give an architect taking on a similar project for the first time?

JH: It's critical to have several long conversations with the residents. It's different when you're doing a childcare center or school, but with a residence you really learn about the individuals. It's important to get a feel for how the family lives and listen to them closely. You can spend your entire fee on research and not be any closer to solving the design problems. Listening is critical to designing a successful residence for someone who has special needs kids.

 

Photo by 
18 / 19
Bancroft residence floor plan

Bancroft Residence Floor Plan

A    Guesthouse

B    Patio 

C    Master Bathroom

D    Master Bedroom

E    Living Room 

F    Dining Room

G    Kitchen

H    Entrance

I    Bedroom

J    Bathroom

K    Library

L    Motor Court

 

Photo by 
19 / 19
Bancroft residence living room with Antonio Citterio sofa

A piece by John Belingheri hangs in the living room of the Bancroft family’s home, which is centered by an Antonio Citterio sofa and Robert Marinelli tables. 

Project 
Bancroft Residence
Architect 

Ever since the birth of Amy and Nick Bancroft’s triplets six years ago, the couple’s lives have been a whirlwind of activity. But when their son and two daughters were diagnosed with autism four years ago, things shifted into overdrive, and the family’s home, near Truckee, California, became a de facto therapy center, with a stream of professionals cycling through daily to provide specialized interventions. The Bancrofts didn’t just need a place for themselves, they needed their home to be a home. “During the week, we’d have up to a dozen people at the house,” says Nick. “We figured out quickly that we needed separate areas for kids and therapists, and areas off-limits to them during therapy so that Amy and I would have privacy.”  

A former Scavolini kitchen dealer in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, Nick had a vision for a modern house with areas for learning, therapy, sleep, and play, as well as common spaces for family time, a retreat for their 10-year-old son, and a private refuge where he and Amy could relax and refuel. 

When the family found a forested, three-acre site not far from where they’d been renting and about a half hour from Lake Tahoe, they reached out to two old friends from Reno: architect Jack Hawkins and interior designer Cheryl Chenault. The challenge was to build a house that would support the Bancrofts’ unique requirements for years to come, albeit on a grand scale—the living area is close to 8,000 square feet of the overall 10,000 square feet.

Bancroft Residence exterior nature

The structure sits among the trees on the three-acre site. “The elevation is 6,600 feet—you can sit outside even in winter,” says Hawkins. “There’s a lot of outdoor space, which helps tie the project to the property. The design was all about fitting it into the environment.”

 

“The kids’ needs were paramount to the design,” says Hawkins, who came up with a plan that divided the house into four zones: the living-dining room, kitchen, and pantry; a children’s wing; a master suite; and a detached guesthouse. Multiple entrances and exits would allow therapists as well as Nick and Amy to come and go without disrupting the kids’ routines. 

Despite the home’s considerable footprint, it doesn’t read as monumental on approach. “The last thing I wanted was for it to look like a country club,” says Hawkins, who set the parking, mechanical, and storage areas at the property’s lowest point, away from view. The kitchen, dining, and living areas occupy a soaring, open volume, defined by exposed structural steel beams and columns. Wood, concrete, hot-rolled steel, and glass set the tone for what Chenault calls “a pared-down sense of order.”

The designer worked with the couple to prioritize their needs. “We talked about ways to streamline their activities—everything from waking up and preparing coffee and the kids’ meals to grocery shopping, food storage, and entertaining,” Chenault says. “Design decisions were made to simplify tasks and support and enhance daily events.”

Individuals with autism tend to function better in an environment that minimizes visual distractions, so keeping things free of clutter was more than just a practical concern. Accordingly, the house includes a place for everything, from the pantry that neatly stores the triplets’ preferred snacks to the seamless anigre cabinetry that keeps necessary items nearby but out of sight. This visual rigor also suited the couple’s love for modern design. “I’m from the South and was used to red brick and antiques,” says Amy. “Nick introduced me to modern. He told me, ‘I fell in love with you, but can we not do the antiques?’”

Bancroft residence kitchen island with Norman Cherner barstools.

Norman Cherner barstools from Design Within Reach line the island in the kitchen, which is crowned by an open loft office. The faucets are from Dornbracht; the countertops are Caesarstone. Hawkins integrated a steel-clad casual eating nook, at left.  

 

Located on the west side of the house, the children’s wing has four bedrooms, a library–study center, and a playroom, downstairs. Connecting to shared dormitory-style bathrooms, each bedroom has a workspace and a play area featuring durable, soothing materials; expansive windows fill the rooms with light and offer a connection to the outdoors. The older son’s  bedroom has a loft and a lounge area, where he can play games and hang out with friends.

Nick and Amy’s own retreat, on the opposite side of the house, opens to views of the forest and features sitting areas indoors and out, a washer and dryer, and a beverage and snack center, as well as a bathroom with a rain shower and a freestanding tub. “It’s like an oasis,” says Amy. “We never had privacy before.”

“People hear ‘three autistic kids,’ and they don’t know what to think,” says Nick. “But there’s a ton of love in the house. It’s soothing to them and us.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016