Modern By Nature in Lake Tahoe


Modern by Nature

Rustic Materials and Streamlined forms allow a Martis Camp home to meld with its wooded surroundings.

Materials that Meld with the Surroundings

In designing a Martis Camp home, architect Clare Walton selected a quiet material palette that allows the structure to meld with its site. The project’s builder, Marshall Williams, installed the wood siding, and the stonework is by Johansen Masonry. Landscape architect Dustin Moore selected native plants for the property.

Rustic and Contemporary Sensibility

Designer Dara Rosenfeld devised interiors that would honor the rustic and contemporary sensibility of the architecture. In the light-filled entry, she paired a Bryant Park banquette by Robert Marinelli with a Stone Yard planter, both from Sloan Miyasato. The bench cushion and back are covered with Pollack fabric from De Sousa Hughes.

Art Plays off the Neutral Palette

Two paintings by California artist Eric Zener from the homeowners’ collection play off the neutral palette of the living room. Rosenfeld designed the sofa, fabricated by Richard Andronaco and upholstered with a Brentano textile from Donghia, and the cast-concrete-and-wood coffee table.

Walnut Lounge Chairs in Expansive Living Room

Walnut Mimi London Fusion lounge chairs from Sloan Miyasato sport Pollack fabric from De Sousa Hughes in the expansive living room. The hand-knotted hemp-and-jute rug is from Mark Nelson Designs in New York. The sofa and chairs outdoors are by Sutherland.

Wicker and Walnut Dining Room

In the dining room, Rosenfeld encircled a walnut table of her own design with The Wicker Works side chairs from Sloan Miyasato. Seven Seguso glass light fixtures from Coup D’Etat add an elegant sculptural accent. Outside, Janus et Cie chairs pull up to a table by Barlow Tyrie.

Wooden Kitchen with Custom Cedar Cabinets

White Caesarstone countertops punctuate the custom cedar cabinets by Sierra Craftsman in the kitchen. The counter stools are by The Wicker Works, and the light fixtures are by The Urban Electric Co.

Steel and Wood Modern Spiral Staircase

Spun Thread pendants by John Pomp from De Sousa Hughes illuminate the modern profile of the staircase, which features steel-and-wood railings by Twisted Metal Works. The windows are by Sierra Pacific Windows, and the reclaimed- oak floors with a gray wash are from Bassett Flooring.

Cedar Media Room with Paintings

A custom cedar door from High Sierra Custom Door opens to the media room, where another Eric Zener painting hangs above a custom Plantation sectional covered with a Templeton fabric. Rosenfeld designed the cerused-oak coffee table.

A Respite in the Office

A tufted chaise by Cisco Home provides a place for respite in the office. Rosenfeld designed the desk, and the Rosso Club chair by Studio Van den Akker wears a Larsen fabric. The sheer drapery fabric is by Donghia.

Guest House with Soft Blue Accents

Soft blue accents distinguish the property’s guesthouse, where a Charlotte Canopy bed by Williams-Sonoma Home anchors the bedroom. A table from Design Within Reach pairs with two Essex stools by Made Goods and a bench Rosenfeld designed and covered with a durable Perennials fabric.

Reclaimed Oak Floor Trend in Bathroom

The same cedar ceiling and reclaimed-oak floors seen throughout the house define the master bathroom. The matching Kohler sinks and Waterworks faucets are from Ferguson. The custom glass tile in the shower is from Creative Design Interiors in Reno, Nevada.

When designer Dara Rosenfeld was hired by a Bay Area couple to craft the interiors of the Lake Tahoe vacation retreat within Martis Camp, two things were clear. First, the husband had a definite vision. “He wanted a rustic feel delivered in a clean, streamlined way,” says Rosenfeld, who arrived on the scene after both the mountain-modern theme and most of the material palette had been established. Second, the architecture was the dominant design force. “It was my job to create interiors that were a seamless extension of the architecture,” she says. 

The architectural direction was rooted as much in the husband’s sensibility as it was influenced by the heavily wooded site. Tahoe City-based architect Clare Walton selected wood and stone elements set o by steel and glass to achieve the rustic-modern feel. “The reclaimed- barnwood siding and basalt stone bring a ruggedness that very much reflects the environment,” says Walton, who further tied the structure to the land with her thoughtful siting. “The lot was an unusual shape with magnificent views, and I came at it in a way that allowed the house to unfold as naturally as possible.”

Walton’s organic approach was expressed as a series of shapes resembling building blocks set at purposeful angles to frame Lookout Mountain as well as the adjacent golf course views. “There are box forms next to shed forms that are planned but not formal. They are an intuitive response to the needs of the site and are intentionally modern,” says Walton, whose at-roof projections and noticeable lack of ornamentation firmly distinguish the structure from Tahoe residences of yore. “Unlike the past, there is no decoration for the sake of decoration. Instead, everything has a reason.” 

Following Walton’s lead, landscape architect Dustin Moore took a similar no-nonsense approach with the outdoor terraces, for which he selected Frontier sandstone flooring. “The stone is very durable and handles freezing and thawing well,” says Moore, adding that he outfitted the metal railings along the terrace with built-in lights and speakers. “It’s fairly stealth and avoids things like speakers popping up in the landscape.” The latter he filled with native plants, such as red twig dogwood, thimbleberry and Sierra currant selected to make the house meld with the natural surroundings. 

Moving inside, Walton continued the exterior stone on the living room replace, but rather than repeating the barnwood, she wrapped the walls and ceilings with more refined clear cedar. Builder Marshall Williams meticulously installed the paneling to create a continuous light-to-dark color fade, fitting all of the woodwork on-site. “It was important to have consistency, so I assembled the wood in several piles and picked the pieces in rotation to get the look just right,” says Williams. 

With the backdrop firmly established, Rosenfeld introduced colors and furnishings in sync with the rustic- meets-modern directive. With their geometric frames, a quartet of Mimi London lounge chairs in the living room hit the mark. “The chairs’ contemporary clean lines are balanced with the rustic feel of the wood,” says the designer, who added a cast-concrete coffee table and zeroed in on the dark basalt replace accent stones as a color thread. “The husband loves gray-blue, so the hand- knotted rug is in that shade, and I worked in a tinge of gray to the finish on the kitchen cabinets.” Rosenfeld also honored the wife’s request for some chartreuse by infusing the master bedroom with hints of the green tone on the sofa and throw pillow fabrics. 

Additional color and interest come in the form of artwork, and Rosenfeld was charged with incorporating the couple’s existing collection of paintings by California artist Eric Zener. The water-themed works are a refreshing surprise in the mountain landscape. “The moment I saw the painting of the diver, I knew it had to go over the replace,” says Rosenfeld, adding, “Going softer with the furnishings allowed the art to pop and be the star.” Additional works by Zener hang on another wall in the living room as well as in the media room. 

The house’s immediate connection with the surrounding landscape played an important influence for Rosenfeld as well. “The interior and exterior are an extension of each other,” says the designer, who strove to choose outdoor furnishings that mimicked the living and dining room pieces in style and color. “You can open the doors and create one big living space, so it was important to have things coordinate,” she says. Along those lines, she chose wood-framed chairs with gray cushions to position around the re pit that sport a profile similar to the Mimi London seating in the living room. Meanwhile, the weatherproof woven synthetic on the outdoor dining chairs echoes the style of the rope version by The Wicker Works around the dining table inside. 

That synthesis and flow between the indoors and outdoors, as well as the architecture and design, ultimately reveal a home that’s perfectly in tune with its owners and surroundings. “People come to Tahoe because they love the outdoors,” says Walton. “This house reflects and celebrates the way we live.” 

Mindy Pantiel