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A Pond-Side Home in Truckee

Photography by Vance Fox

When Scott Gillespie and Maja Thaler built their home on a pond-side lot in Truckee, California, they thought a lot about the future.

“We wanted a home to raise our kids in and never have to move from,” says Gillespie, owner and principal of Sandbox Studio, a Truckee residential design firm.

The couple tapped the talents of Mark Tanner, a frequent collaborator on Sandbox projects, to transform their design into a home, connected to the outdoors, incorporating abundant glass to bring in sunlight and views.

“It was an opportunity to create a soothing, comfortable home for our lifestyle,” says Gillespie.

They mixed reclaimed wood with painted finishes so the home wouldn’t be overly “woody.” Art adds color to the house’s wood, cream and taupe palette.

Gillespie and Thaler worked with steel and zinc for contemporary elements. At the heart of the home is a custom zinc table in the kitchen—Gillespie’s most beloved spot. “It’s where we eat as a family, do homework, kids’ crafts. Zinc is a ‘living-finish’ metal that changes with use, so it becomes sentimental, capturing the energy and love that happens at that table,” he says.

Gillespie designed custom bunk beds:  a lower full bunk is joined to a twin top bunk with a built-in metal kid’s slide, which can easily be removed. The kids chose lime-green Caesarstone for their bathroom. “We can update the countertop as they get older,” explains Gillespie.

The entry door, made from reclaimed redwood, opens onto floors quarried from Truckee’s Donner Summit. Sustainably harvested 13-inch-wide oak floors soften the living areas. Reclaimed siding came from a deconstructed healing arts center in Vancouver and a barn in Montana.

The result of Gillespie and Thaler’s thoughtful design is a home made from local and reclaimed materials, with a focus on enjoying the indoor/outdoor living in the present and the ability to adapt to the family’s changing needs in the future.

The house was built around a central Jeffrey Pine tree and resides on the first fairway of the Lahontan golf course. The upstairs deck overlooking the pond and golf course is the kids’ campout spot and is where the family watches the Truckee airshow.

The family chose a neutral, natural palate, so they can accent their home with art and accessories for years to come.

The custom zinc kitchen table is the heart of the home where the family gathers for meals, homework and crafts. Gillespie is sentimental about the table, “Zinc changes with use, it captures the energy and love that happens there.”




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