Idyllic vacation retreat in the beautiful mountains of Lake Tahoe


Sandbox Studio designed this mountain modern home for a couple living in San Francisco wishing to create an idyllic vacation retreat in the woods near Lake Tahoe, California. The owners of this heavenly home were searching for years to find the perfect home before finally deciding to start fresh and find the perfect location.

The magical spot they finally came upon was one that back up to wooded nature preserve that showcased a trickling stream. The plot was situated close to a lake and rested amidst heavenly pine trees. The architect and clients worked closely together to work on a family vacation home that would meet the needs of the client and display some incredible results.

Project Team: Architect: Sandbox Studio | Builder: Tanner Construction | Interior Design: Chelsea Sachs Design


The most important design feature was the floor, which helps to support all the other elements in the space. The homeowners wanted dark flooring, so wide plank oak flooring was selected and stained in a beautiful shade of dark brown. The designer stumbled upon a stone that complimented the flooring beautifully, called “Montana Moss Rock”, this was the perfect start to bringing the design to life.

Above: The ceiling beams are made of salvaged barn wood and they were hollow metal casings that were “packed out” with the barn wood.


The owners wished for modern interiors infused with the comfort and warmth of a mountain retreat. The designer added barn wood paneling throughout the interiors of the home that helped to perfectly achieve this design aesthetic. The wood came from old dismantled barns from Indiana, which help to create a warm, weathered look.

The wood was used on the fireplace column, some areas of the ceiling, accent walls and was what was used to clad the whole exterior of the residence. The color palette was very rich, with the mix of dark oak flooring and wood panelling, so custom walnut built-ins with a light stain helped to compliment and offset the richer hues beautifully.


One of the designer’s favorite parts to the design project was the lighting selection. As can be seen above the dining room table, the chandeliers reflect nature, which seems to be always nearby wherever you are in the home. The fixtures are Saggina chrome chandeliers by Minatal Lux, which emulate tree branches. They are sourced from Pollicelli Lighting in San Francisco.



The material palette selection of this idyllic vacation retreat ranges from a beautiful limestone backsplash in the kitchen, to a metallic ceramic flooring in the front foyer. Also in this kitchen are custom made walnut cabinets with a clear stain. Countertops are Caeserstone Quartz.


The biggest inspirational draw to the project was the surrounding beauty of the Lake Tahoe area and the landscape where the home resides. The owners wanted their home to seem like it had been organically sprung up from the land. To do so, the designer incorporated rock that seemed like it had been quarried just outside their front entryway. Wood was used in the design that seemed as though it had been split off the bark from the surrounding trees. Concrete elements used in the design scheme match perfectly with the rock boulders that surround the lake.


Building on raw land not only takes patience but offers a great education. The journey had begun with just drawings and inspiration boards then sprung to life over the course of a couple of years. When the designer first set foot on this fantastic property, she walked with one of her clients down to the stream, collecting rocks, leaves and bark, which she then brought home with her and left on her desk throughout the entire design phase as a reminder of what mattered most: creating a design scheme that was in harmony with the natural environment.


What We Love: This idyllic vacation retreat offers a beautiful mix of modern and rustic to create a warm and inviting living environment. We are especially loving the great room with its large windows framing woody views and soaring ceilings complimented by beams of salvaged barn wood. Furnishings, light fixtures and accessories adds to the overall stunning esthetic, making this home truly idyllic.

Note: Have a look at a couple of our favorite home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the architects of this project, Sandbox Studio: Ski lodge blending rustic modern details in Martis Camp and Idyllic mountain farmhouse style retreat in California’s High Sierra.


Above: Another beautiful light fixture selection in this home was in the front foyer, which was inspired by nature. Mizu glass pendants by Terzani emulate the rippling water that can be seen in the creek located in the backyard. You can purchase this fixture on Ylighting.


Above: The bed frame is from Room and Board, bedding from Restoration Hardware with a vintage blanket from India. The rugs are from Eileen Fisher Home.







Above: In the bathroom, the custom cabinetry is composed of walnut.


Above: The light fixture was sourced from Pollicelli Lighting at the San Francisco Design Center. The light is made by an Italian company called Terzani. Freestanding tub is the Victoria + Albert Napoli Bathtub.



Photos: Peter Medilek

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