Martis Camp Tahoe Retreat

Perched on a forested lot with both privacy and expansive views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, we designed this year-round mountainside retreat in Martis Camp near Lake Tahoe for a San Francisco-based family of four.

Balancing the best of traditional ski chalet design with a modern emphasis on light and the fluidity of interior and exterior spaces, this home designed with BAR Architects won the coveted “Outstanding Home of the Year” in 2015 by Tahoe Quarterly Magazine.

Despite almost 8,000 square-feet of living space, an impressive 22-foot high peaked ceiling in the central living pavilion, an expansive master suite, and full-floor areas for each of the children and guests, the clients sought us out to create a design that felt grounded, comfortable and welcoming to all.

To do so, we used layered textiles, wall coverings, and rugs in complementary patterns; sourced lighting, tiles, fixtures and fittings in varied leather, metal, glass and ceramic finishes; designed casework with beauty and functionality at heart; and selected a rich combination of colors inspired by the surrounding woods, evening light across the Martis Valley, and marbled hues in the locally-sourced fireplace stone.

Each floor is adapted to this overall color palette of green, gold, and purple grounded in warm browns: being darker and more sophisticated on the main level, brighter and more playful on the kids' level, and softer and calmer on the guest floor. These colors were not only chosen as a starting point for developing the overall design scheme, but also with the aim to create cohesiveness between both the furnishings and more architectural casework, including the kitchen, five full bathrooms and two powder rooms.

While the design elements we selected and customized for the house have affinity to the surrounding landscape and regional architecture, they take a modern and even mid-century twist on mountainside design.