Board gives preliminary OK on Bancroft House improvements

Barbara Christian
Dec 24, 2020

CHAGRIN FALLS — The new owner of the historic Bancroft House at 3 W. Summit St., last week won preliminary approval from the Architectural Review Board for plans to restore, replace and expand the structure neighbors fought long and hard to save from demolition.

Frank Gallucci with his architect Michael Caito were not new to the review process, having visited the board before.

There is work to do before final approval items are satisfied and permission is granted to demolish an existing garage which will be replaced with a new multi-purpose carriage house featuring a four-car garage, living space, a green house and breezeway connection to the existing main structure.

This time around, plans depicted a scaled-down carriage house that did not fight for prominence with the old Victorian house which sits atop Grove Hill. Gone was the carriage house’s cupola which fought for attention with the home’s widow’s walk.

Mr. Caito pointed out that the trim and siding had been matched and maintained throughout and the house colors would remain.

While the original home dates back to the late 1800s, there is a portion of the structure that was added in the 1920s. Mr. Caito said that will be rebuilt but features such as exterior trim will be retained. Inside the low ceilings will be raised from just over 6 feet to normal height.

Because of the hilltop on which it sits, much of the new construction will be visible 30 feet down the hill, according to the architect. He suggested only the top of the greenhouse will be seen from the lower vantage point.

Architect William Childs, a voting member of the review board said, “I have always liked your project and now what you have done to frame it down, it is commendable that you are saving this house.”

Mr. Childs suggested the new main entrance in the center of the breezeway – while it mimics the main entrance of the older structure – should be downplayed, not highlighted with details as the drawing suggested.

Members of the review board gave Mr. Gallucci a check list of issues to be addressed before final approval.

The items include plans for a new front door, hardscape and landscape plans, a vegetation clearing plan, retaining wall details, a geotechnical report and drainage details.

Mr. Gallucci said he had met with neighbors on several occasions and is addressing their concerns about run-off, views and sightlines, a driveway retaining wall and possible erosion of the hillside. He said he has confidence in the experts he is hiring to solve issues of his new family home.

Mr. Caito said with the carriage house moved back on the property, the neighbor should have a better view. He added that the old home will be seen better by those walking or driving eastbound on Summit Street.

One such expert hired to work on the exterior of the home is the same landscape architect, Craig Cawrse, working with the village in its plans to install a village park downhill and behind the Gallucci property at the corner of North Main and West Cottage Street.

It’s a good fit, offered review board consultant Phil Koepf adding that the landscape architect comes highly recommended.

The acre of new park land was gifted to the village by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which assisted neighbors in their drive to save the home and purchase it from a developer who hoped to build a condominium development.

A committee seated by Mayor William Tomko will meet in 2021 to begin plans for the new village park.

"Board gives preliminary OK on Bancroft House improvements". Chagrin Valley Times. Retrieved January 2, 2021.

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