by Chris L. Terry
It is interesting how a particular business practice that was standard a few generations back suddenly became the rare thing that makes a contemporary company stand out. The business practice –in-house work–is now the trump card for Tahoe-based builder Bruce Olson Construction.
“It came out of my history of building; my father, uncle and grandfather being builders,” Olson says. “It comes from the tradition of things being done in-house on a much smaller scale.”
Olson transfers an attention to detail that one would associate with smaller projects to his large crews, which range from 150 to 200 people, creating beautiful homes where all work is done in-house.
“When every trade is subcontracted out, you get a lot of variety and different quality from project to project, depending on the contractor,” says Olson. “We’ve developed a system where we take 100% control, including the manufacturing of products you might typically find elsewhere. You name it, we do it.”
Olson has been working with Tahoe-area luxury community Martis Camp since the beginning of its development, becoming a founding member and purchasing three different properties, “When the roads were still just dirt roads,” he says.
The one-and-a-half-acre Lot #19, where he built the seven-bedroom, eight and one half-bathroom home at what is now 8458 Valhalla Drive, was so overgrown that Olson says, “It was hard to see its potential.”
The south facing home is situated on a knoll on the fourth green of the Tom Fazio Golf Course. The golf course and surrounding 40 acres of greenbelt make it one of the most private lots in all of Martis Camp. Considering how nice the house is to look at, the privacy is almost a shame.
“It typifies Tahoe style,” says Olson. “We like to have a warm feeling with a lot of wood, at the same time making it so that you have a nice connection from the indoors to the outdoors. We enjoy contemporary homes, but work with a more rustic, mountain feel.”
The home’s airy living room sits under a high skylight and is ringed by the second floor, which was constructed as a railed-in open loft area that connects the bedrooms and peers into the living room, giving the space a sense of openness and connectivity.
Olson’s design team selected and installed the granite countertops, hardwood floors and alder paneling while Catherine Macfee of Catherine Macfee Interior Design enhanced the spaces with furnishings and accents. “We were able to come up with our own design [and] how we felt this particular house fit the property,” says Olson. “If we were going to live in the house, it was how we’d want it to look.”
Olson is thrilled with the results, citing the teamwork that grows from all of the trades working together, in-house. “We have tremendous control over our product,” he says. “In essence, that’s the bottom line.”