He then suggested that the Leslies build their new home where the
tennis court stood, in the flattest part of the yard. He also thought the
house should face west, to capture the afternoon sun. A pool was important, as Jacques is a daily long-distance swimmer, so Weaver envisioned
a sleek, 25-yard lap pool and deck in the center, with the buildings —
including the home and the writer’s and artist’s studio — wrapping
around it. “I wanted to have the structures kind of cradle that center
area and then have the other side, the negative space, be the garden that
would eventually fill in around it,” Weaver says.
In order to make the home as eco-friendly as possible, Weaver encouraged the Leslies to try a groundbreaking prefabricated bamboo panel
technology from a Windsor, California, startup called BamCore (see
sidebar). The bamboo paneling would eliminate the need for wood stud
framing — a common path for heat to enter and escape a home. The
Leslies and their contractor, David Hill of Spellbound Construction,
were game to try it, especially because the new technology would allow
them to put more insulation in the walls and increase energy efficiency.
They ordered the prefabricated panels, making theirs the first custom-built house in the country to use the bamboo framing system.
Weaver also incorporated other eco-friendly features into the design.
He installed solar panels atop the building that houses Jacques’ writing
and Leslie’s art studios, and the panels now generate enough energy to
heat everything but the pool. Because of the way the house is designed
— with a west-facing orientation, soaring windows and glass doors, and
a tight thermal envelope, due to the bamboo paneling — the Leslies draw
very little energy, keeping the radiant heat at a constant 67 degrees. In
the summer, they heat the salt water pool with a solar cover.
To conserve water, the Leslies installed a gray water system, which
funnels water from sinks, showers and the dishwasher to the salvia, blue
fescue, and roses in the mostly drought-tolerant garden (designed by
Roth/La Motte Landscape Architects). And behind the house, the Leslies