Spotlight on Lake Tahoe

Expert Q&A's from this high-country destination
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Photo courtesy of id.3 Interior Design

When it comes to Lake Tahoe, some things never change: crystal-clear waters in shimmering shades of blue and green, sunny skies two out of every three days, and, come winter, piles of perfect snow on the surrounding Sierra Nevada slopes.

But though the lake itself appears untouched by time, life around it is evolving to reflect the tastes of an increasingly diverse—and design-savvy—array of visitors and residents who come to Tahoe from all over the world.

Take the lake’s south shore, for example: Once known for tired hotels, splashy casinos and lots of hustle and bustle, it’s now home to one of the country’s finest luxury resorts. The homes that line the lake’s 72-mile shoreline are changing too, as architects, builders and interior designers respond to their clients’ calls for more modern designs and fashion-forward furnishings.

Here, you’ll meet some of the people and places creating these beautiful new ways to experience life around the lake—and learn their secrets to designing a new Tahoe that still feels like the place we’ve always loved.



Photo by Vance Fox

Meet designer Elizabeth Hamill, whose Scottsdale-based firm works hand-in-hand with clients to design beautiful, inspiring spaces. Combining classic design practices and an artistic approach to composition, the team at Elizabeth Hamill Interiors knows how to bring clients’ Tahoe dream homes to life.

Tell us about your scope of work.

I specialize in high-end luxury residential homes and hospitality design. I provide services for all phases of a project, from interior architecture and construction to furnishings and finishing touches.

How do your clients benefit from your unique expertise?

A formal design education and 17 years of high-end design experience have allowed me to bring technical expertise and creative design fundamentals to each project. Each project receives an experienced management team that keeps the budget, schedule and aesthetics in line with client goals.

As a Scottsdale-based firm, what is your connection to the Tahoe area?

I was introduced to Tahoe while working on the Martis Camp Lodge clubhouse and fell in love with the Lake Tahoe area. This project was my stepping stone to working in the area for the last 10 years, from residential homes to the newest private Tahoe Beach Club clubhouse located on the south shore.

How do you tap into local resources when you’re on a project?

Incorporating local elements to bring a sense of place to each project is an important aspect to my design mission. Sourcing indigenous materials, commissioning local artists, or supporting local shops are all ways I tie the Tahoe community back to my projects.

Elizabeth Hamill, Owner and Designer
480-329-3923 |
Scottsdale, AZ


Martis Camp Residence

Photo by Chris Murray Productions

Award-winning architect Dennis Zirbel has been helping to define the incomparable Tahoe aesthetic for more than 30 years. Here, he and interior designer Natalie Zirbel share their secrets for creating homes that not only enhance the natural beauty of each site but enrich the lives of their clients.

What approach does your firm take to creating unique homes in the Tahoe area?

Our holistic approach to Architecture and Interior Design is a creative blending of site, structure and purpose. Our well-studied and conceptualized design process involves blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living spaces and working with the site to enhance the overall quality of the structure while meeting the client’s energy, vision, budget and aesthetic.

You are known for creating spaces that blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings. How do you do it?

We design for true indoor/outdoor living spaces by orienting structures with the ideal topography, prime sun exposure and the best views. The use of expansive sliding or retractable glass doors allow us to merge indoor spaces with the outdoors and extending exterior finishes into the interior enhances the visual connection between the two spaces.

What sets your boutique firm’s client experience apart from the competition?

Being a very small, close-knit firm allows our focus to lie solely on design, service and guiding our clients through the process every step of the way.

Dennis Zirbel, Principal | Natalie Zirbel, Interior Designer
530-582-8979 |
Truckee, CA



We checked in with Stephen Silveira, owner of Lake Tahoe’s largest home furnishings store (5,800 sq ft) and design studio Alpine Home Furnishings, to dish on the latest design trends. Here, his top picks for creating a distinctive, unique space that you can call your own.

What design trends are you featuring in your showroom and interior design projects this year?

Black and Natural Palette
Balancing the drama of black with soft tones and natural elements brings a warmth and coziness to any room. For this space we began with a stunning printed sisal wallcovering, anchored the space with a wall unit made from handcrafted steel and white oak, then added dimensional art featuring ebony and natural wood tones.

Textural Layering
Layering texture is key to creating warmth and interest. We love the bold diamond motif of the natural jute and chenille fabric on the chairs and pillows shown above accented by Mongolian lamb fur pillows, a woven galvanized iron coffee table and natural wood accent pieces.

Multicultural Touches
As purveyors of one of a kind, globally sourced accessories and furniture, we’re always on the lookout for the perfect accent piece. A hand-carved ebonized bowl, tribal African carved side table or stunning faux- porcupine quill mirror- each unique piece contributes to an eclectic, sophisticated look.

When choosing furniture, how do you balance design with practicality?

By choosing the right upholstery for anchor pieces. Our current fave is a bonded ultra-suede over leather which delivers the look of leather with the serviceability of microfiber.

Stephen Silveira, Owner and Designer
530-564-0971 |
Tahoe City, CA


Mc Lot 94 Martis Camp Realty Photo Credit

Photo by Vance Fox, courtesy of Martis Camp Realty

The merging of two award-winning brands Daniel Fraiman Construction, 2020 Builder of the Year, and Emily Roose Interiors, multi-ASID award winner, brings together a dream team of highly skilled, experienced professionals dedicated to an incredible customer experience.

Tell us about your newly formed partnership.

Our unique partnership allows us to provide clients with the full spectrum of construction and design services. Emily’s 11 years of interior design experience combined with Daniel’s 20 years in construction gives clients confidence in our understanding and working knowledge of the industry and our ability to help them navigate their project from start to finish with spectacular results.

How do clients benefit from your open communication policy?

The construction and design process can be stressful. We are dedicated to doing everything in our power to streamline the process and make it an enjoyable experience. Our clients are introduced to the entire project team, giving them multiple points of contact to reach out to anytime. We truly want our clients to feel like they are part of the DFC family.

What unique specialties do you bring to the table that clients may not know about?

Emily is an award-winning furniture designer and creates custom, one-of-a-kind pieces for her clients that fit their needs and design style. DFC has built several customized modular luxury vacation homes, most notably in the prestigious gated community of Martis Camp.

Daniel Fraiman, CEO and General Contractor | Emily Roose, Interior Designer
530-536-5018 |
Truckee, CA


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With expertise ranging from textile design to the construction trades, the pros at id.3 Interior Design deliver fresh, creative interiors tailored to each client’s tastes, values and needs.

What distinguishes id.3 from the competition?

At id.3, we pride ourselves on being sophisticated, yet never pretentious, striving to create lasting designs in the ever-changing Tahoe vernacular. Our top-notch designers have been well established in the Tahoe community for decades and our all-female firm of varying ages and experiences gives us a unique design vision, process and communication skill set. This creates a niche that no other Tahoe/Truckee design firm can claim.

Has the fallout from the pandemic had an impact on design in the Tahoe area?

Now more than ever people are yearning to create a place to call home, where every space can be functional, inviting and simplified. We are committed to deep listening and open- mindedness in order to customize homes to meet our clients’ goals, giving them the best version of what they want.

Part of id.3’s mission is an unrelenting commitment to growth and development. How do you and your team accomplish this?

At id.3 we are always pushing the design bar through exploring new ways to look at design challenges. Through our innate design aesthetics, continual research, collaboration, and our unrelenting drive to create a team environment on every project, we create beautiful, inviting, and functional interiors that stand the test of time.

Shannon Barter, President and Lead Designer
530-581-2895 |
Tahoe City, CA



Photo by Vance Fox

Meet Todd Gordon Mather, an award winning Tahoe City-based architect whose passion for excellence results in innovative, unique living spaces tailored to his clients’ needs.

What is the secret to your boutique architecture firm’s success?

Maintaining a small firm allows me to give every project the individual attention it deserves. I work one-on- one with each of my clients through every step of the process to achieve exceptional architecture that fits their vision.

How do you help clients visualize their home’s design?

Many firms use 3-D computer models to show clients their projects on screen, but we take it one step further. Our unique Virtual Reality studio gives clients a fully-immersive experience that allows them to walk through and around their house at full scale to experience the size and feel of each space and even check out the views through the windows.

You have quite a diverse portfolio. What are you working on right now?

Lake Tahoe is part of five counties and two states, so the bulk of my work is in this area. Right now I am also working on wildfire rebuilds in Santa Cruz and Calistoga. Beyond a home in Utah that was recently featured in the Park City Parade of Homes, I have another home in Park City and several in the Vail area.

Todd Mather, Principal
530-414-4662 |
Tahoe City, CA


Captured On 09,14, 2017 By Brian Walker / Brian Walker Photography

Photo by Brian Walker Photography

Every season is an adventure at premier luxury destination Edgewood Tahoe Resort. Get to know this idyllic south shore getaway perched on the edge of North America’s largest majestic alpine lake.

What kind of activities are available at Edgewood Tahoe Resort?

In addition to our world class golf course (Audubon Award certified), Forbes 4-star rated spa, and three distinctive gourmet restaurants, we offer a wide range of unforgettable resort activities for our guests to enjoy year-round. Enjoy a movie on the green, take an evening star tour, indulge in local food and wine tastings and more.

And if guests care to venture further?

Experience all that Tahoe has to offer with help from Edgewood Tahoe’s expert concierge team, available to book your favorite winter and summer activities, including clearly kayak, boat tours, skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling and more.

Environmental stewardship is an issue near and dear to the Tahoe community. What sustainability measures have Edgewood Resort implemented?

Edgewood Tahoe is a LEED Silver Certified resort. In addition to a number of threshold projects related to preserving Tahoe’s pristine natural environment, we have implemented numerous measures on- resort to reduce our carbon footprint. We are a proud member of Clean the World, donating all partially used soaps and other bottled amenities for redistribution. In addition, our sustainability goals for 2021 include replacing plastic bags, disposable water bottles and coffee pods with more sustainable options and installing infrared sensor thermostats in guest rooms.

833-490-5729 |
Stateline, NV


Ktgdesignco Mlspotlight

Truckee-based design firm KTG Design specializes in contemporary designs and curating unforgettable client relationships through their personalized approach. Using timeless finishes, natural elements and unexpected modern design details, they provide their clients with comfortable, livable spaces tailored to their unique personalities.

Tell us about the KTG Design experience.

The KTG Design experience is all about customization. No two people are the same, so why should any home be? From the beginning stage of architecture and conceptual design, we work closely with clients to understand their dream home. We find out how they live, what drives them crazy, how many spices we need to accommodate for in the kitchen, and if they have a love/hate relationship with velvet. Like a fine wine and a good friendship, we believe the client-designer relationship should be one of trust, understanding and beautiful design that only gets better with time.

Katie Geresy, Principal |
Truckee, CA


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Meet architect Ryan Marsden, whose boutique North Lake Tahoe firm takes a holistic approach to the design process, giving each project the individualized hands-on attention and enthusiasm required to create exceptional architecture.

What do you like best about working in the Tahoe area?

The varied landscape of the region lends itself to a wide variety of architectural styles, from rustic mountain lodges and laid-back lake homes to sophisticated California modern homes. Our clients come from all over the country, and each one presents a new and unique vision. This keeps us fresh and diverse as an architectural firm.

How does Marsden Architects stand out from the competition?

The intimate size of our firm allows us to engage with clients in a manner that is genuine and authentic. We really listen to our clients’ needs and wants, then generate original ideas and concepts in response. This cultivates a design process that is fun and collaborative for both our clients and our project teams.

Ryan Marsden, President and Principal Architect
530-378-3211 |
Truckee, CA

As seen in the May/June 2021 issue

Categories: Spotlight on Design