have built a bioswale, which collects runoff rainwater in the ground
rather than letting it flow into the stream behind their property. The
idea was to help increase groundwater supply, a resource that is being
depleted all over the globe. The bioswale area is beautiful, teeming now
with horsetails and native grasses.
Weaver integrated all these eco-features into the home in a way that is
seamless and nearly invisible. The structure’s clean and modern lines, as
well as its surprising warmth, are what stand out most. It’s little surprise
that Weaver drew upon traditional Japanese design in his drafts, and in
particular the work of Tadao Ando, a contemporary architect who uses
empty space to highlight the beauty of simplicity. “I wanted to execute
the details of the house in a very simple way,” Weaver says, “but you know
what Vincent van Gogh said: ‘How difficult it is to be simple!’ ”
For proof, one need only look at the Leslies’ roof. A butterfly roof —
which dips in the center and ascends towards the sky at its edges — it was
originally built to collect rainwater (an idea that the Leslies abandoned
after discovering how expensive the system would be). Now, it lends a
soaring appearance to the exterior and brings more light into the home.
On the inside, it’s all drama; every ceiling in the home is angled.
Despite its proliferation of right angles and lack of halls, the house
has a personable feel. Weaver achieved this effect by including “clouds”
— floating planes that hang from the ceiling — to separate spaces in the
loft-like great room. “They remind me of the philosophy of art historian
Vincent Scully, who was a popular professor when I was at Yale,” Jacques
says. “He always talked about how you needed a human dimension. These
clouds provide a human dimension.”
Weaver separated the space bet ween the living room and dining area
with a low-slung built-in bookcase, providing storage for the couple’s
many books. And the home has ample wall space for their art collection,
which includes works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Henri Cartier-Bresson
and Roy Lichtenstein.
The Leslies made their own contributions to the project, as well.
Both of them love blue, and indigo in particular, so when it came time
to choose a color for the exterior of the studio — as well as interior doors
and kitchen cabinets — Leslie dug in, putting her artistic skills to work.
She and their painter spent three days mixing paints until they reached a
blend of five colors that matched that of traditional Japanese-style indigo
dye. It’s one of the only colors in the home, along with gray. Having so
few colors had its desired effect: “I really felt it made everything calmer,”
Like everything else in the home, the paint color required effort, and
the result reflects only simplicity and beauty. m