Handcrafted Northern California family home
by Jonathan Orpin, builder
While filing through entries for this year’s Houses issue, I had to turn back and re-examine a few projects that quietly stuck with me. The Northern California home that Seth and Jaime Lancaster built for their family is one of those houses. It doesn’t immediately reach out to the visitor; rather, in evoking an Alpine demeanor, it makes you find the door yourself, as though its lower floors are covered up with big piles of snow—which may well be true come winter.
Once you find your way in, though, you’re welcomed into an articulate series of public and private spaces that look like a lot of fun to live in. All the good stuff is here: inside-outside dining, intimate rooms juxtaposed with some fabulous large spaces and their California views, and bedrooms with personal lofts. I’d be pretty happy to come home here from a long day’s work, or be a 9-year-old playing all day, waiting to welcome Dad home.
I’m a wood guy, so the cascading sensuality of the patterns, the grains, the joinery, and the luminescent finishes all over the house leave me with a faster-beating heart. Seth has used reclaimed redwood from an old wharf all over the place. From a distance, the long exterior shingles appear thatch-like in texture and are no less intriguing the closer you get. Interior trim, stair parts, and custom-made doors and entries suggest long hours in the shop. You know with certainty that this home was a labor of pure love.Design, construction, and materials:
Jim Groeling and Seth Lancaster, WharfWood, Kneeland, Calif.; www.wharfwood.comPhotographs:
Chantele Leatherwood, Petrolia, Calif.; www.photosbychantele.com, courtesy of Seth Lancaster