The Ultimate Mountain Home For A Bay Area Family
They make the most of their second chance to design a mountain house in Martis Camp
Photography by Kat Alves
Not everyone has the energy and wherewithal to build a second home from the ground up, let alone do it twice. But for one Bay Area family, the process was so positive the first time around, and their use and enjoyment of their house so thorough, that they leapt at the opportunity to do it again.
Custom ebony-and-stainless-steel front door.
Their first home was built when their daughter was young, when it made sense to locate close to the center of activity at Martis Camp, a four-season resort on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. There, she could make the most of the activity barn and proximity to amenities like the ski lift and beach. Since then, however, their neighborhood had become built up. The far reaches of the development, with larger lots and direct forest access, beckoned.
The integrated living spaces have full access to the outdoors—including a pass-through window above the kitchen sink. Caesarstone countertops and walnut cabinetry give a clean look; Tom Dixon pendants and Bottega Piston stools add modernist style.
Their new parcel was not only bigger but more level, a practical consideration given the older family members who visit frequently. Working with Keith Kelly of Kelly & Stone Architects, the homeowners crafted the design to their current needs.
The new home, removed from the street by a long driveway, says Kelly, “was an opportunity for views, privacy and capturing sunlight on the private side of the house. They wanted to enjoy outdoor living, and that informed the entire process. Now they have an amazing outdoor patio, kitchen, dining and living area. You don’t see neighbors and have great views and solar exposure.”
A Hubbardton Forge chandelier overhangs a table made by local shop MezWorks. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams dining chairs.
The architecture is defined by strong horizontal lines, multiple rooflines, and steel, glass and sandstone. Covered outdoor spaces, with thrusting angled beams, carry the wood ceilings from inside out. The wheelchair-accessible arrival, kitchen, dining, mudroom, garage and guest suite flow into the double-height living area. The master suite, removed but connected, has a quiet nearby office and spa just outside the door. The upper level offers bigger views for the daughter’s bedroom, bunk room and a guest bedroom.
A dramatic steel fireplace and floating steel-and-glass staircase anchor opposite ends of the double-height great room.
Stylistically similar, the two homes have a very different feeling, says the homeowner. “Both homes have flat shed roofs, but [the new home] is a lot brighter. We went with lighter colored wood floors and countertops to lighten up the space.” Other changes include more storage, an expanded bedroom for their daughter, and a modern stairwell.
The kitchen and living area flows into the adjacent outdoor areas; in fact, a wide-counter window was installed over the kitchen sink to create a pass-through when serving al fresco meals. They added an outdoor fireplace and heaters for chilly evenings and more covered areas to provide relief from the summer sun. And they eliminated upstairs decks, which they hadn’t used in the first house.
Built-ins—like the master bedroom’s integrated walnut-and-alder bed/shelving—showcase the craftsmanship of the builder. A fabric headboard creates a field of color, warmth and texture. Hickory flooring, Cerno sconces.
When it came to interiors, the owners had admired homes designed by the Ryan Group’s Annie MacFadyen. “She has a good sense of balance, lighting and space,” says the homeowner. “She was the consistency we needed. She kept track of all the details and maintained the aesthetics for the finishes.”
One of the home’s key benefits is its privacy and sense of wilderness.
Says MacFadyen,“The overall intent was to keep it modern and clean, while maintaining warmth and coziness. We addressed this with texture and rich fabrics, alongside warm colors.” She worked with Chad Stephens of S&S Signature Millworks to design handcrafted pieces from cabinetry to a built-in bench and console table in the entry and master bed and side tables. Statement moves include a custom walnut-and-stainless-steel pivot door, the steel-and-wood staircase and a steel fireplace.
When a Bay Area family got a second chance to build at Lake Tahoe’s Martis Camp, they chose Kelly & Stone Architects and the Ryan Group’s Annie MacFadyen to create the perfect home for their needs.
Oriented away from the road, toward forest and mountain views, the key benefit of the home is its privacy and sense of wilderness. From the patio one can walk directly onto a trail network extending hundreds of miles through Tahoe National Forest. Needs change over time, and hindsight is everything. This time, the homeowner says, “We really built the house for what we wanted, and it’s been great.”
Outdoor gathering spots include a fire pit far enough removed from the house for stargazing and s’mores-making.
SECOND TIME'S THE CHARM
Their first Tahoe construction project was a success, but the homeowners learned during the process what might have worked even better. The second time around, they adapted their designs accordingly. Not everyone has that second chance; the following are some considerations for those undergoing the design process for the first (presumably the only) time:
LIGHT A line of clerestory windows wrapping the great room ensures “light and bright,” even on the stormiest days. STORAGE The homeowners found that gear expands to fill the space, while new hobbies require different equipment and clothing. The mudroom has 12 lockers. OUTDOOR SPACES The new home has more shaded areas and outdoor heat sources, as well as a fire feature, fireplace and fire pit. The fire pit, slightly removed from the house, is for marshmallow-roasting and stargazing. ONE MORE BERTH The office has a Murphy bed. It’s been pressed into service many times. HOME WITHIN THE HOME The new master bedroom suite is accessed by a long hallway, giving the homeowners privacy even with a houseful. “It’s our own little oasis inside the house.”
The outdoor living room offers protection from the elements, heaters for year-round use and a hearth to gather round.
As seen in the August 2019 issue