Spotlight on Lake Tahoe

Expert Q&A's from this high-country destination
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Tahoe Luxury Properties

There’s nothing on Earth quite like the stunning beauty of Lake Tahoe: 37 trillion gallons of crystal clear, deep blue water surrounded by the majestic granite peaks of the Sierra Nevadas. At more than 1600 ft. deep and spanning two states, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and the communities surrounding it are home to dozens of beaches, hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, world-class downhill and nordic skiing, golf courses, fabulous resorts, restaurants and shopping.

It’s no wonder then, that people come from all over the world to not only enjoy the area’s natural treasures, but to put down roots of their own. In the past two years, Tahoe has seen huge population growth as the pandemic has inspired people to reevaluate their priorities and the meaning of home.

Luckily, Tahoe is home to an impressive community of professionals whose life work is making people’s alpine dreams come true. Here, we’ll introduce you to architects, interior designers and builders devoted to creating and renovating incredible mountain homes. In addition, you’ll meet a father/ daughter duo making exciting things happen in the art world and a real estate firm that excels at finding luxury properties. Get to know them and celebrate all that makes Lake Tahoe the unique gem it is.



Photo by Vance Fox

Meet award-winning Tahoe City-based architect Todd Gordon Mather, whose timeless designs are custom-crafted in harmony with Tahoe’s spectacular natural environment.

What is the key 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 are you able to help your clients envision their homes’ designs?

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.

Your portfolio is impressively diverse. What are you working on right now?

Most of my work is within the Lake Tahoe Basin and Truckee. However, we are currently designing homes in Park City, Vail, and Hawaii, as well. With multiple awards and magazine features for our “Phoenix Rising” A-frame, we are developing other unique A-frames in Colorado, Big Bear, Mt. Hood, Whitefish, Park City, Sandpoint and even Texas.

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


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For more than 30 years, PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes has earned a reputation for creating the world’s most distinctive mountain-style homes. Read on to learn more about their full-service home-building experience.

How do you work with clients to turn the vision of their dream home into a reality?

Every log or timber frame home project is unique because every client is unique. That’s why our award-winning, in-house architectural design firm, M.T.N. Design, offers a vast portfolio of conceptual designs for inspiration. Depending on the client’s vision, we can modify one of the conceptual designs in our portfolio, combine elements from multiple floor plans, or custom design a home from top to bottom.

What advantage does PrecisionCraft offer homeowners in the Lake Tahoe area?

Our signature Design-Fabricate-Build service gives clients who want a mountain-style log or timber frame home the luxury of working with one local company from start to finish. Our seasoned team of in-house sales, design, and construction management professionals work together to ensure a seamless approach to helping each client create their dream home.

How do you incorporate energy efficiency into your log and timber homes?

Energy efficiency is contemplated from the foundation to the roof of every PrecisionCraft home. Our homes have an integrated structural shell that includes insulated concrete forms (ICFs), structural insulated panels (SIPs), and custom-fabricated log and timber materials. When this family of integrated products are used together, the result is an energy-efficient home that is as beautiful as it is comfortable.

Mark Camper, Client Representative | 800-729-1320 | Carson City, NV


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The talented team at Daniel Fraiman Construction thrives on the challenge of unique projects on both the California and Nevada sides of the Sierra Nevada.

How has your firm evolved over the past two decades?

From a small crew building custom homes to over fifty construction professionals and growing, we’ve expanded our portfolio to include large-scale remodels, modular/prefab construction, developments and commercial remodels. Recently we partnered with Placer County and the Martis Fund to build a local workforce housing development in Truckee. We have big projects on the horizon and are excited to continue to develop and grow.

What aspect of your business are you most excited about right now?

We have been expanding our service area to include more of Nevada, including many projects in Clear Creek Tahoe, a beautiful golf community on the edge of Carson City. This area is exploding and we’re excited to be their choice builder for new homes. We have a full team with great relationships and ties to the community dedicated to this area.

How do you make the home building process easier for your clients?

We are dedicated to client experience and we work hard to streamline the process and make it enjoyable. From the first contact through the closing of a project, we are completely hands-on with clients. We provide progress pictures for visual updates and strive for an open line of communication to answer any and all questions as they come up.

Daniel Fraiman, CEO and General Contractor | 530-536-5018 | Truckee, CA



Meet Sarah Ray-Fay, Owner and Principal Interior Designer of DesignBar Interior Design, whose inspirational design approach is redefining mountain living.

How does your experience as an accomplished sculptor and painter inform your design process?

I see a direct connection between having an art background and working as a designer. Not only do I focus on looking at form for what it is, but how that form affects the space around it: shadows, focal points, positive & negative space, etc.. In painting, how colors play off of each other, and sometimes the absence of color can be a game-changer. The same goes for designing spaces.

Would you say DesignBar has a signature style?

I’m proud to say we do not have a signature style at DesignBar. Our talented team of experienced designers tailor their designs to the unique needs and desires of our varied clientele.

What is the greatest advantage of working with DesignBar?

We are literally a ‘one-stop shop’ for design services and decor services. We have a beautiful furniture showroom where clients can come see and touch the merchandise. We even have a 4000 square foot warehouse to receive, inspect, and professionally deliver all of their furnishings, fixtures, draperies, and art.

Sarah Ray-Fay, Founder and Principal Designer | 530-214-0755 | Truckee, CA


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Natural State by Kimbo Franke

Meet Kevin O’Keefe and Briana Dolan, the dynamic father/daughter duo on a mission to put Reno on the map as a destination for arts and culture.

How did your quest to promote the art community of the Reno Tahoe area begin?

Unbeknownst to many, the Reno Tahoe region has long been home to a significant fine arts community. The natural beauty of Lake Tahoe and the majestic Sierra Nevada range have historically been a magnet for artists and creators. We wanted to embrace and promote this immense pool of talent and showcase the artistic spirit of the region in a way that had never been done before. Especially with the significant growth in the area as a result of the pandemic, Reno is rising as a thriving cosmopolitan center.

You have an exciting event coming up. Tell us all about it.

The inaugural Reno Tahoe International Art Show is the region’s first-ever international art show and a celebration of fine arts and emerging design. Running September 8-11, 2022 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, the show will shine a spotlight on both local artists and Reno as a burgeoning artistic and cultural destination.

Presenting 200 regional artists and 50 national and international galleries, the RTIA show will showcase several major features including the First Nations, Indigenous Peoples exhibit, large-scale Burning Man sculptures and award-winning short film screenings.

The RTIA show will run concurrently with the 41st annual Reno Great Balloon Race and feature a citywide celebration of art and design with a music festival, awards program and associated events around Reno and Tahoe.

Briana Dolan, COO |


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The talented team at Marsden Architects focuses on creativity, quality and communication in order to create architecturally inspiring homes that respond to the dynamic needs of their clients.

How do you customize the client experience at Marsden Architects?

We’ve developed a questionnaire that we give to clients early in the design process designed to help them think through their wish list and brainstorm new ideas. This gives us valuable insight to begin our design approach and interpret clients’ ideas into a one-of-a-kind vision tailored perfectly to them and how they live.

How would you say homeowners’ priorities have changed over the past couple of years?

Priorities like home gyms have evolved into what we have termed “spaunas,” or spa/sauna areas that include a steam room, sauna, plunge pools, hot tub, and resort-style lounge areas for the ultimate health and wellness experience at home.

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


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The savvy team at KTG Design specializes in using timeless finishes, natural elements and unexpected modern design details in order to create comfortable, livable spaces tailored to their client’s unique needs and personalities.

Strong client relationships are an important part of the KTG Design experience. What is the key to accomplishing this?

Building a home requires the melding of many realms – architects, plumbers and plasterers, the list goes on! This is why we understand the importance of putting together a dream team based on a foundation of trust. From the get-go, we prioritize getting to know your personal style; whether you long for leather sofas, loathe certain colors or fabrics, or even how you prefer to store your dishes, we make sure we are on the same page as our clients. Because we take the time to build these relationships, our team confidently helps implement decisions throughout the many facets of your project’s design and construction process.

Katie Geresy, Principal | | Truckee, CA


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Whether you’re looking for a family home to enjoy for generations or the perfect Lake Tahoe vacation, the team at Tahoe Luxury Properties has the knowledge, experience and professional service you’re looking for.

Tahoe Luxury Properties has a long history of phenomenal results in real estate sales in the Tahoe area. Tell us a bit about your success.

Bill Dietz and the Dietz Group have sold over $1.1 billion in real estate sales in both California and Nevada, including 75 Tahoe lakefront homes totaling over $645 million in lakefront sales. In 2021 alone, the Dietz Group sold over $222 million in real estate. Our strong understanding of local market dynamics alongside a deep knowledge of lakefront inventory allows our team to expertly navigate sales with mastery and integrity.

How does your luxury vacation rental service stand apart from the competition?

Our luxury collection of vacation rental homes (including over 40 lakefront homes) are maintained to 5-star standards and are well-supplied with all the essentials and extras you could need on your Tahoe vacation. Family-owned since 1994, our local team is available as a resource to you. Our staff will help you select the best home for your group and our concierge will help craft itineraries, arrange local excursions, or simply provide conveniences like pre-arrival grocery delivery, private chefs, in-home spa services, boat rentals and more. We now offer month-long stays so that guests can be immersed in the Tahoe lifestyle.

530-584-3444 | Tahoe City, CA


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The award-winning team at Talie Jane Interiors, a Lake Tahoe interior design firm, specializes in creating comfortable, luxurious and sophisticated designs for its clients.

Your website showcases a variety of spectacular projects. Tell us about the diversity of your work.

At Talie Jane Interiors, we design with our clients’ desires in mind. We conduct in-depth Discovery Sessions which allow us to dig deep and truly understand our client’s vision. We pride ourselves on collaboration and are not a one-trick pony design firm. Thus, our website displays a variety of different design elements and styles.

We have found that the more we can tune into our clients’ vision, whether they are renovating one room or building the luxury home of their dreams, the better the resulting design will be.

Talie Jane Interiors is the proud recipient of “Best of Houzz” for seven of the last eight years and “Remodel of the Year” by Tahoe Quarterly Magazine.

Talie Jane, Principal Designer and Owner | 855-825-4352 | Stateline, NV


Welling Construction, Aspen Leaf Interior Design

Meet Marcio Decker, founder and principal designer at Aspen Leaf Interiors, who has been designing timeless and elegant homes throughout the Lake Tahoe, Reno and San Francisco areas since 2004.

In your opinion, what is the secret to creating timeless design?

First of all, quality. High-quality materials, finishes, furnishings and art will truly endure the test of time. In a timeless design, the era of time in which it was created is not evident. That’s not to say you can’t include current styles and innovations; why not have the best smart home technology, the newest fixtures, surfaces and green products? We aspire to timeless design by incorporating some of the latest design elements while creating unique solutions for each client. This is how our spaces differ, stand out and truly last.

Marcio’s award-winning designs have been recognized most recently at both the 2020 and 2021 ASID Andyz Awards.

Marcio Decker, Founder and Principal Designer | 775-470-5494 | Reno, NV

As seen in the May/June 2022 issue

Categories: Spotlight on Design