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Ski Homes Without Lincoln Logs

Steel, concrete, and glass supplant the old alpine standard.

David Stark Wilson's facade pairs reclaimed Western red cedar with grooved Galvalume metal siding.

The gabled roof is supported by galvanized-steel cross trusses, which serve as a motif throughout the home. The trusses reference the steel underpinnings of 19th-century log flumes—chutes used to transport redwood lumber— that were once part of the local landscape. The blackened metalmesh pendant lights were custom designed by Wilson’s firm.

The table pairs a deodar cedar top with black steel legs that repeat the cross-truss motif; the leather chairs are from Design Within Reach. The photograph is a print from Wilson’s book, Structures of Utility (Heyday Books, 2003).

The central island is split into two levels: a black steel dining section and a countertop of Sierra white granite, a local material that was also used in the fireplaces.

Rick Holliday and David Baker's facade is made of blue steel and picklewood reclaimed from old pickling vats.

The 1,200-squarefoot, two-level townhouse has terraces off the living room and master bedroom, overlooking Truckee’s 19th-century downtown.

 

After fires broke out along the nearby South Shore during construction, the home’s Los Angeles owners asked Greg Faulkner for a more flame-retardant exterior, resulting in this steel and concrete facade. In back, a covered porch protects the outdoor dining area, where guests can warm themselves by the fire pit and use the inground spa on chilly nights.

A rough, board-formed concrete wall separates the kitchen from the entryway, and the same material is used in the master bedroom upstairs. The floors are Texas mesquite—chosen for its unusual grain—bordered by a stainless steel band.

Long dominated by scaled-up wooden lodges, kitschy cabins, and Nixon-era ski resort condos, Tahoe’s architecture is finally coming of age. Today, daring builders are scrapping the knotty pine paneling in favor of sustainable materials to transform the look and feel of the tradition-steeped snow country.

Tahoe, 3 Ways

1. Metal Trusses Evoke a Mining Past:
Berkeley architect David Stark Wilson looked to old industrial mining buildings of the Sierra Nevada gold country in creating this 4,500-square-foot vacation home near Truckee. The home incorporates sustainable materials throughout, like recycled Douglas fir, bamboo, and polished concrete.

2. Rail Yard Revival Yields Old West Views:
Rick Holliday’s Oakland-based firm specializes in retrofitting abandoned urban spaces like the famed Clocktower Building in South Beach and Oakland’s Pacific Cannery Lofts. Now Holliday is teaming up with San Francisco architect David Baker to transform 35 acres of old rail yards in downtown Truckee, a remnant of the city’s logging days. Some 400 to 700 residential units are scheduled for construction this year, with a theater, a supermarket, and retail stores planned for the street level below.

3. Steel and Concrete Radiate Warmth:
Designed by Greg Faulkner of Faulkner Architects, this contemporary 4,391-square-foot retreat in the Martis Camp community of North Lake Tahoe incorporates radiant slab heating, natural ventilation pathways, and generous skylights.

 

Originally published in the January 2013 issue of San Francisco.

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