A Sophisticated Sanctuary in Incline Village, Nevada

Where Scandinavia meets the Sierra Nevada

Call it the opposite of jet lag. When Sarah Pearsall awakens at her family’s vacation home in Incline Village, Nevada, her internal clock is still set on New York time—and that’s a good thing. “I always wake up at the crack of dawn here because it’s three hours later back home,” she says. “The house is quiet, and I love to curl up in the window seat and drink my coffee as the sun comes up over the lake.”

Pearsall lives in Manhattan with her husband Michael Lippert, but she grew up in the Lake Tahoe area. The couple wanted to find a peaceful mountain retreat where they could escape the city and spend time outdoors with their sons. After searching for a suitable property, they found a home built in the 1990s on the edge of a vast greenbelt with commanding views of the lake. 

“My husband and I fell in love with the location, but the house was dated and we knew we needed to do something,” Pearsall says. Deciding a full-scale kitchen remodel was in order, they contacted local designer Scott Corridan for a consultation. As they discussed options for cabinets and counters, Corridan debated about whether to share his vision for the rest of the home. “I felt like the entire house had these epic opportunities to see the lake, but everything was so closed up,” he recalls.

So, when Lippert and Pearsall asked if he had any other ideas, Corridan didn’t hold back. He suggested replacing the flooring and doors, along with the hunter-green bathroom counters, brass hardware, light fixtures, fireplaces and builder-grade staircase. He also recommended removing the drop ceilings, replacing most of the windows—and while they were at it, tearing out a number of the walls. “Michael and Sarah weren’t planning on an extensive remodel, but as we walked through the spaces we began visualizing how stunning the house could be,” Corridan says.

After agreeing on the greatly expanded scope of the project, a team including Keith Kelly of Kelly & Stone Architects, Ross McMahan of McMahan Homes, and Rocky Woods of Gabbart Woods Structural Engineers, handled the design and execution.

In order to open up the great room, extensive steel structural framework was installed to meet the winter snow load and earthquake codes. Centuries-old reclaimed barnwood beams and pillars now add definition to the structure, and walls are clad in rustic-contemporary cedar treated with a subtle gray wash. Other additions include floors of French oak, generously proportioned windows and a handsome new stone hearth.

“My mother is Scandinavian, and I’ve always loved whites, neutral colors and rooms that are light, uncluttered and spacious,” Pearsall says. Corridan’s design scheme paid tribute to her heritage with clean-lined, textural furnishings and a palette of creams, tans and cool grays throughout the home.

200-year-old reclaimed barnwood posts and beams were utilized in the home’s construction. The stone fireplace hearth was crafted with Bear River granite from The Rock Garden in Truckee, California.

In a built-in window seat overlooking serene lake views, designer Scott Corridan created an inviting nook with soft faux-fur pillows, plush cushions and Sefte blankets. The side table is handcrafted from a gnarled tree stump.

The open kitchen is flooded with sunlight, and an oversized island provides abundant workspace. Eschewing upper cabinets in favor of a large horizontal window nearly spanning the length of the kitchen, the sleek gray lower cabinets are offset by glossy white tile backsplashes. A pair of sinks and professional appliances make the kitchen an efficient space for entertaining.

Glass shelves provide additional storage while letting in natural light, and a series of Lamps Plus pendant fixtures provides task lighting. The kitchen features two sinks fitted with high-arc faucets from Ferguson. The stainless-steel hood was custom-fabricated to match the Wolf stove.

Pendant light fixtures from Design Within Reach fill the tall volume of space and create intimacy at the kitchen table.

A chandelier from Restoration Hardware adds a sparkling touch to the dining room, where Corridan surrounded a simple round table with six Restoration Hardware side chairs. Floors are custom-milled French oak.

A heavy glass railing keeps the stairwell from feeling dark, and walls are painted in soft white ‘Ice Cube’ by Sherwin-Williams. Lopez Tile & Stone handcrafted the stone walls.

The couple’s master suite fosters private relaxation with a balcony overlooking pristine lake views. The bed is covered in luxe linens from Sefte, the company Pearsall owns with her sister, offering handmade textiles created by Peruvian artisans. When evening comes and the time difference finally catches up with Pearsall, curling up in a soft alpaca throw and counting the stars over the lake is the perfect way to embrace jet lag and end the day.

In the master bathroom, a Restoration Hardware double vanity is topped with Italian Crema marble. A frameless glass shower keeps the space light and open, and the soaking tub is from Ann Sacks for Kohler.


Improvements in insulation and technology made since the house was built allowed the team to expand the size and placement of many of the windows. Designer Scott Corridan also employed a number of design strategies to take full advantage of the views:

See-through stairwellGlass balustrades float in the steel stair railing, letting natural light filter through.

Ground controlLow-profile, clean-lined furnishings preserve the line of sight through the great room windows.

Airy lightsCorridan specified light fixtures with clean lines and reflective materials to keep views uninterrupted.

No uppersRestricting cabinetry to the lower part of the kitchen visually opened the area and made room for a new horizontal window that nearly spans the length of the space.

Sparkling storageCorridan hung a series of glass shelves in front of the kitchen window to accommodate a collection of glassware.

Scenic soakBy positioning the windows slightly above the level of the master suite soaking tub, views can be enjoyed while bathing.

Clean and clearA frameless glass shower makes the master bathroom feel larger and lets light flow in.


ARCHITECTURE Kelly & Stone Architects  INTERIOR DESIGN Scott Corridan Design  CONSTRUCTION McMahan Homes, Incline Village, NV 775-450-4900 STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING Gabbart Woods Structural Engineers

The Makeover of an Outdated Lakeview Home
Spectacular Views Built on the Crags of Lake Tahoe
A Handcrafted and Historic Sierra Nevada Cabin


Categories: Contemporary Homes