A Beachfront Home That Rivals a Resort

This Lake Tahoe villa has a private pier, deluxe spa, accommodations for the whole family and knockout interiors

Photography by William Rittenhouse

A palatial beachfront abode known as Villa Harrah sits on a private pier located at South Lake Tahoe in Glenbrook, Nevada. With accommodations for 20 people, an array of amenities and stunning views to boot, this is a dream spot for a family vacation or luxury retreat.

The 8-bedroom, 12.5-bath property boasts a home theater, hot tub, sauna, salt room, nail and hair salon, a swimming pool and panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

The 22,000-square-foot property was once owned by the famed Harrah Casino Magnate, William Fisk Harrah. It was built specifically to entertain his legendary friends like Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack.

The amenities aren’t the only thing setting Villa Harrah apart. The interiors are spectacular and pay homage to the home’s surroundings and unique history. Anna Shay, ASID, principal of Solanna Design LLC., became the designer and visionary who was technically adept to ensure the new architectural concepts to enhance Villa Harrah would hold up.

Shay brilliantly incorporated the clients’ lifestyle and the Lake Tahoe aesthetic into the property. “My clients are always my inspiration. I don’t like to look too much at magazines, and I don’t watch HGTV,” she says.

“For me, too, the beauty of the surroundings is enough inspiration.” It keeps her work fresh, relevant and personal. “We water-jetted the black granite in the great room in a kind of wave-like pattern, which was inspired by the colorful sediment on the shoreline that falls in these magnificent patterns right where the water hits the shore, and then it changes color from black to bronze, like a mosaic,” Shay notes.

The large wood panels, too, were inspired by the topography of the Sierra Nevada mountains surrounding the home. “We as humans respond to having the surroundings represented in our home,” she says.

There is a lovely juxtaposition between the sweeping views and the grandeur of the landscape to the focus on smaller details of the house. “I’m the Queen of nooks and crannies. I love secret doors, cozy, unexpected alcoves, textures and softness,” notes Shay. She sourced materials from all over the world to create interesting and even hidden surprises around the home.

In order to modernize the property while paying homage to its famous past, Shay had to undo some dated design details like cherubs stained glass. “I never want to over embellish. I try to keep a reverence to nature in every decision. I kept the very Tahoe-esque windows and added more siding to draw out that vintage element.” She also favored more clean and streamlined midcentury furnishings.

“I tried to maintain the energy of the house where people partied in the past,” says Shay. “When you’re in that house, no matter the season, the interior composition always complements the natural surroundings.” And what a stunner it is.

“It is a resort, that house.” – interior designer Anna Shay
Categories: Contemporary Homes