This Vacation Home in the Heart of Mammoth Lakes Dazzles with Alpine Artistry

Artisan details and plenty of patience yield a Mammoth Lakes vacation home designed as a ski-in, ski-out European lodge
Mammoth Living

Multiple seating areas anchored by custom sectionals, a large stone fireplace, and rustic log construction give the great room the feel of a vintage European ski lodge. Bespoke sculptural metal chandeliers echo the vibe. | Photo by Laura Hull photography

No one planned for a seven-year design and construction process for this family vacation home in Mammoth Lakes, California, but to hear the homeowner and design team talk about it, the longer process was a blessing. “Although I created the furniture presentation with all the furniture, fabrics and rugs early on, I had years to collect just the right art for the rustic yet refined log home the family wanted,” says designer Corinne Brown of Brown Design Group. She worked closely with architectural designer Larry Walker, who spent years designing details throughout the house, such as the X-pattern carvings on the grand staircase’s posts and risers, fireplaces, vent covers, passage doors and logs throughout the home that give it the presence of a European ski lodge. In addition, the team included Bruce Woodward of High Sierra Architecture, Al Preschutti of Preschutti Construction and a host of artisans to handle custom woodworking and decorative ironwork and stonework. 

Mammoth Stairs

Architectural designer Larry Walker spent countless hours planning details such as the carved x-logo on the staircase posts and risers, which are constructed of steel backed by mica. “The carvings feel European with a cleaned-up design,” says designer Corinne Brown. | Photo by Laura Hull photography

The husband-and-wife homeowners knew just what they wanted: Seven bedroom suites suitable for family and friends and a focus on skiing, one of their favorite pastimes. “We love the house; it’s so comfortable. We use every room and enjoy sitting in each one looking around at all the details,” says the homeowner. “We made the home feel like it belonged on the land by working in historic features of National Park Service buildings while introducing contemporary elements,” Walker says. “We kept the interiors from getting too dark by bleaching the wood and using weathered gray stains to remove the yellowish-red of a cabin while maintaining a natural look.”

Mammoth Dine

A Tufenkian rug delineates the dining room with a custom Artitalia Group dining table and sculptured lighting by craftsman Henry Means and DK Woodworks. | Photo by Laura Hull photography

It’s no surprise that the “ski-back room” on the top floor is the star of the show, where skiers can glide in right off the slopes. Says designer Brown, “I put everything in this room that I would want as a skier.” Lockers have charging drawers for headphones and boot warmer batteries. There is an adjacent ski-tuning room for waxing skis with boot dryers on one side and a glass-fronted sauna and swimsuit dryer on the other. An upstairs bar and large rock fireplace suit those who want to relax indoors. Heirloom double doors sourced from the family’s ancestral Miramar ranch in San Diego—and originally from the small Spanish village of the same name—open to reveal entry into the room with slide-back glass doors opening to the patio with a stainless-steel hot tub that has a heated stone edge and a fire pit. “The homeowners love to entertain, and everything is really designed with the guests’ pleasure in mind, down to the robes embroidered with the house’s special logo,” says Brown.

Mammoth Brkfst

Taj Mahal leathered quartzite countertops and bleached and hand-scraped walnut cabinetry create a rustic blend in the kitchen. | Photo by Laura Hull photography

Throughout the rest of the interior, an autumnal color palette of rust, gold, burnt red, green and bronze warms the open layout for a cozy feel even underneath the soaring ceilings of the expansive great room, sized and accessorized to resemble a lodge lobby. Hand-chiseled texture on nearby walnut kitchen cabinets—one of five different wood species in the house— provides rough-hewn rusticity, while modern features such as appliance lifts and contemporary custom pendants offer the latest creature comforts.

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In the game room, a vintage billiards chair provides a perch to view an in-process game of pool. The other end of the room features a built-in bar with contemporary Alder & Co. hidden swivel bar stools. | Photo by Laura Hull photography

A mixture of vintage and new furniture and furnishings furthers the rustic-yet-refined mood. An antique family-owned billiards chair in the game room is just as at home in the space as new contemporary lighting and artwork. Similarly, clean-lined ottomans covered in brindle hair-on hide pull up to a rugged stone fireplace in the great room. “The house is definitely not contemporary but is not super rustic either. I balanced family heirlooms with European rusticity and consciously integrated contemporary elements throughout the home,” Brown says.

Mammoth Ski

The ski-back room is an oasis of practicality for skiers while providing comfort when the day’s adventure is done. Sink-in sofas and swivel chairs are steps away from built-in lockers with erasable labels. | Photo by Laura Hull photography

The homey lodge is just right for entertaining a large group of friends or cocooning the homeowners. “It was the project of a lifetime,” Walker says, summing up the feelings of all the team members. “The eastern Sierra is full of artisan tradespeople, and we had the best expertise our little part of the world could provide.”

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The exterior focuses on log construction. | Photo by Laura Hull photography

Embracing Rusticity: Fresh Takes on Must-Have Features

Designer Corinne Brown sheds light on how she designs rustic interiors in a way that feels traditional but not stale and dated.

  • STREAMLINED ELEMENTS  “Thoughfully place antique pieces with more contemporary furniture, and don’t overdo either one,” she says. Vintage elements in the primary bedroom, for example, pair nicely with updated rustic, almost contemporary nightstands by the bed. 
  • INTERESTING TEXTURE When there is wood at every turn, mixing different species of wood is a way to make the interiors look evolved, not contrived. 
  • CONTEMPORARY FURNITURE Be fearless when working in fixtures such as pendants and chandeliers that have a more modern vibe. Their clean lines can blend well with rustic architectural elements to create balance and harmony.  
  • COLOR PALETTE “I did not use white in this home, even on lampshades,” she says. “Cream, burlap and mica shades
    give a warm glow.” A fall-colored palette was perfect as a way to bring outdoor inspiration inside the house in
    this instance where the homeowner did not want to include blue, gray or dark brown colors in the design. The palette paired well with lighter wood logs and paneling that were meticulously bleached by the contractor.
Mammoth Bed

The primary suite is a study in contrasts. Rough-hewn logs, chinked walls, and a sliding barn door bring rusticity, while faux fur and chenille bedding, a MacKenzie Dow cherry Hay Rake bench covered in Kravet Italian velvet fabric, Paul Ferrante custom nightstands, and smooth Cygnus granite counters add clean-lined refinement. | Photo by Laura Hull photography

Mammoth Bath


PHOTOS: Laura Hull photography

ARCHITECTURE: High Sierra Architecture     

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNER: WalkerOne Creative Workshop

INTERIOR DESIGN: Brown Design Group

CONSTRUCTION: Preschutti Construction



METAL WORK: Henry Means Sculptured Metal

As featured in ML’s September/October 2023 issue

Categories: Rustic Homes