by Isabel Eva Bohrer
Inspired by the pride of craftsmanship and “joie de vivre” of 18th and 19th-century France, as well as the subtle glamour of the English countryside, Linda L. Floyd, Inc. Interior Design specializes in high-end residential design. Additional projects include several executive offices and a seaside bed and breakfast inn. “Most of my projects include new construction and/or remodel specification and detailing,” Floyd says.
The firm’s passion for sumptuous fabrics, trims, dressmaker details, antiques and custom woodworking can translate to any design style – from classic to contemporary to cottage. “The finest quality materials are used to create timeless and sophisticated living environments with the perfect balance of new and old, color and texture, comfort and style,” says Floyd. “Our custom woodworking and interior architectural detailing create ‘visible excellence’ the moment you walk into a room and are the perfect backdrop for the interior design portion of the project.” Although the firm focuses primarily on classical design with a European influence, it also recently completed a contemporary recording studio in the home of a key client.
“For me, each project is like a book and each room or space a chapter,” says Floyd. “After hearing the client characterize her dreams and design goals, I envision a narrative or script in my mind and the production begins. While there are always edits and changes, the storyline is usually consistent with the original script.”
Keeping in mind the literary analogy, one could say that a recent “book” of Floyd’s is the Julia Morgan Estate. Built in 1920, the Chauncey Goodrich House, known as “Hayfield House,” is one of the largest residences ever completed by architect Julia Morgan, who also designed Hurst Castle. “The residence is in the style of an English estate and is reminiscent of early 20th-century mansions built on Long Island,” Floyd says.
Floyd says her objective for this 1920’s home was to, “bring it up to 21st-century construction standards while maintaining the original design details and finishes for the exterior and throughout the public rooms.” For the interiors, she traveled with the client to England and New York to acquire fine English antiques and bespoke furnishings. “Our goal was to create beautiful living spaces that combine style, sophistication and comfort,” says Floyd. “The rooms needed to be luxurious, yet approachable, and relevant to today’s lifestyle.”
Centuries old antiques punctuate every room. “A prized 18th century-Gobelin tapestry, ‘The Fisherman’ by Francois Desportes, available through Vojtech Blau Inc. New York, is the focal point of the living room,” says Floyd. Antique chandeliers, such as the Nesle chandelier in the dining room–available through Shears & Window–spotlight furniture dressed in European fabrics, objets d’art, valued carpets and draperies with custom trim, such as those by Horner and Company.
“For the kitchen, we found a 1928 Magic Chef Stove, the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of stoves at that time, completely refurbished it and had it installed with a custom designed hood,” says Floyd. By fitting an 18th-century library table with power and using it as the center island, Floyd created a gathering place for informal entertaining, as well a functioning workstation when caterers were in residence. “Hardware styles from the 1920’s were used on the cabinetry along with white Carrara marble for the countertops,” she says.
Overall, the Julia Morgan Estate is a home where elegance mingles with ease and where all are welcome to enjoy its enthusiastic mix of style and quiet sophistication. It is this kind of project that future clients look back on as a sample of Floyd’s work. “Since most of the firm’s work is by referral, people look to us to do similar types of work on their projects, construction detailing and interior design,” says Floyd.
An avid traveler, Floyd herself always looks forward to travel projects. In fact, her trips to France were the foundations of her design career. Inspired by art history, she traveled to Europe numerous times studying the architecture, the furniture styles, the historical character and ambiance of the regions. “I became a partner in a French antiques and interior design store, which included many more trips to France and England, and the rest is history,” she says.
by Elisa Revello
Among the undulating hills and within the bountiful landscape of California’s wine country, Taylor Lombardo Architects has reaped the fruits of its labor by creating unique wineries and high-end luxury homes. The firm is considered a pioneer, one of the first to take on the design of wineries, which has become a long-standing staple of its work for nearly 20 years. Principals of the firm, Tom Taylor and Maurice Lombardo, have combined their two main specializations in one of their latest projects, developing a winery compound for Presqu’ile Winery, which includes a state-of-the-art contemporary winery and several winery residences.
Lombardo heads business development while Taylor focuses on project development. The two, in every endeavor, remain highly involved with clients and contractors, and are always willing to expand creatively.
“We are unique in that we do not really have a particular style,” Lombardo says. “One of our strengths is that we do all styles—from modern to traditional.” The company’s portfolio ranges from the look and feel of a Provencal home to the latest in contemporary design.
“We reinvent the wheel on every project to an extent,” Taylor says. “The process starts from completely understanding the needs, the views, priorities and practical considerations.” For designing wineries, as an example, the firm has created a detailed questionnaire to fully comprehend the winemaking process, the style and the client’s requirements. Knowing the specifications helps the firm to navigate codes and other guidelines.
Taylor elaborates that with wineries, there are several considerations to account for including industrial design, hospitality and administrative components. Working with wineries is like developing three separate entities: a factory, a boutique sales facility and an office building. With every project, it takes time to develop a plan as Taylor starts drawing by hand. “I communicate directly with owners for the initial phases of the project,” Taylor says. “I try to put clients at ease, have them open up, so that I can understand their goals.” Lombardo says, “We do not try to make it easy on ourselves, we try to make it easy on our clients.”
The firm recently completed Silver Oak winery, an accomplishment that it is particularly proud of, which originally started as a remodeling project. Unexpectedly though, the project ended up being a complete re-design. “From when we started, to when it was completed, it was a very accelerated process for that quality,” Taylor says. “The client didn’t want to compromise on quality, durability or aesthetics so it was very intense in a short amount of time.”
The company’s work has also found them recognition throughout the world. Recently Taylor Lombardo was sought out to design nine houses within a subdivision in Shanghai. The 7,000 to 9,000-square-foot houses needed to be completed in a matter of months. The firm also recently completed a 40,000-square-foot wine center in Wuxi, China.
The firm, in every undertaking, tries to design sustainable projects, by using lasting materials with a look that is timeless, innovative and enduring. “Our goal is to build a house that lasts well over 100 years,” Lombardo says.
The company has received significant press, including a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. The work remains interesting and exciting as the client demographic shifts from older to younger.
With the company’s largest project to date, the Winery Residence at Presqu’ile Winery–which spans 250 acres in the California wine country–is a winery built from scratch and with a primary residence. Taylor and Lombardo both agree that it was exciting to work with a younger client who was open to fresh ideas. The client asked the firm to complete, “a modern masterpiece.” Taylor Lombardo did just that–-the idea was so unique that the planning commission didn’t understand it. “The home is sustainable, green fashion, and state-of-the-art,” Lombardo says.
by Chris L. Terry
To a home designer, the idea of building a green home can mean restrictions, regulations and complications. But to Jeff Miller of homebuilder ADC Tahoe, green means opportunity.
“I was curious about the LEED certification and took some courses through the National Association of Home Builders,” says Miller. “I decided I wanted to do a house to satisfy my curiosity. People were under the impression that you needed to live off the grid with solar panels on your roof to have a LEED or Energy Star home, but that’s not what either program is about. I wanted to show that a Tahoe-style home could be done green.”
ADC Tahoe started the Green Dream Home at Incline Village after the real estate market started to drop in 2006, and felt lucky to find a level lot to build on. “The project we did is unique,” says Miller. “It’s different from other stuff out there, and it’s in a controlled environment with restrictions on building and protecting the environment.”
With the economy in a freefall, ADC Tahoe knew that it was taking a risk in investing in building this home. “I went against my better judgment and did it, and really enjoyed the process,” says Miller.
Luckily, the thrill was not just in the journey. ADC Tahoe created a website for the house, recruited partners and pitched in for a marketing campaign that culminated in three open houses. “It was amazing how many people came,” says Miller. “A hundred people per open house. People were interested in this stuff.” But the buyer came from within the fold. “My wife liked the house so much that she wanted to move in, and that’s how we ended up living in it,” says Miller.
Miller says that to understand the Green Dream Home, whose dark wood motif outside and in is in direct conversation with the lush woods around the house, one really has to know the allure of Lake Tahoe, a place that he fell in love with while visiting on a ski trip.
Tahoe has a natural beauty that local organizations work hard to conserve. Miller says, “If there are trees or rock outcroppings or a stream running through a lot that you buy, you have to consider all of those things. They don’t want the house to disrupt the environment. They’re trying to protect the clarity of Lake Tahoe.”
This natural conservation ties in with the mission of Tahoe-area planned luxury development Martis Camp, where Miller is now completing a house. Martis is an architectural committee that works with builders during the design process, to be sure that homes built in the development are up to its high standards.
And this conservation is making its way from the law books to the home. “Now even my kids insist upon recycling,” says Miller. “Hopefully this catches on.”
by Rodric J. Hurdle-Bradford
Since opening for business in 1998, Faulkner Architects has enjoyed success not only in the California and Nevada markets, but also with projects in Colorado, Hawaii and Canada. With widespread success over nearly 15 years, the company’s founder points to one factor that has been the foundation to the company’s success: quality clients.
“The key has been really good clients who allow us to do our work and enlighten us with their personal preferences throughout the project,” says Greg Faulkner, principal of Faulkner Architects. “We work with the client closely throughout the process and in the end you see the client’s fingerprints all over the project.”
The company’s dedication to the client has resulted in a second office in Berkley along with the flagship office in Truckee. “We generate a high level of trust with our clients,” says Faulkner.
That trust is shown in the Martis Camp Lot #155 project, a fabulous home that has been featured in Mountain Living Magazine and also received a 2011 American Institute of Architects Central Valley Honor Award. “These clients were from Southern California and they were really excited about the process and wanted me to explore three-dimensional design elements,” says Faulkner. “The mountains and the snowfall leads [sic] to incorporating more robust materials.”
To accommodate the surroundings, steel, concrete and aluminum were used throughout the residence. The clients liked the idea of entering the house before you walk in, so the expanded entryway plays with scale without compromising the stability needed in the environment.
“The stonework of the 1960’s is gone,” says Faulkner. “We are using concrete like stone. When we set it against polished stainless steel you get an eye-catching juxtaposition.” Many reclaimed materials were used in the project, including redwood and ApplePly wood for the cabinets. The home’s setting allows for natural ventilation with no air conditioning needed, and glass–used as screens–is incorporated.
The kitchen serves as a bridge between both sides of the residence, one side that is a private residence and the other side for guests. Concrete, steel and glass also highlight the kitchen, with large cabinet sizes that add to the unique feel requested by the client.
“We utilized different angles so you will have parallel spaces between cabinets, which makes it dynamic when you are opening and closing them,” says Faulkner. “Regardless if we are using volcanic stone in Hawaii or reclaimed redwood in California, the principles are [the] same [to] utilize local natural resources and making the client happy.”
by Rodric J. Hurdle-Bradford
The phrase ‘one-of-a-kind’ is often used in architecture and design, but perfectly captures Martis Camp, a 2,200-acre residential recreational community nestled in the high Sierra Mountains between Truckee and South Lake Tahoe.
Built by DMB/Highlands Group, a joint venture of two community developers with experience in the region, Martis Camp has already sold 405 home sites out of 650, with 60 properties already sold in 2012 and over 100 homes currently under construction.
“Usually you have to choose whether to live at a golf or ski environment, but at Martis Camp we have both,” says Brian Hull, Martis Camp spokesman. “Martis Camp fits perfectly into the landscape. People see how enriched the environment is and how it allows them private time to spend with their family.”
Martis Camp features a wide range of home design selection, from barrel roof homes that mimic the rolling landscape, to a rustic cabin constructed of reclaimed trestle wood, to eco-friendly family lodges with solar systems.
“The experience of both developers really shows at Martis Camp,” says Hull. “The evolution of Martis Camp has created a true year-round setting for the family, whether you are three years old or 83 years old.”
The offerings include state-of-the-art community buildings, including the Gate House, Camp Lodge, Family Barn and Lost Library. At over 50,000 square feet, Camp Lodge is home to luxury dining for formal occasions and a day spa and health club for everyday living. The Family Barn is the main family destination, with an indoor basketball court, movie theater and a 1950’s-style malt shop restaurant.
For the best of outdoors and entertainment in one setting, Martis Camp offers an outdoor concert park with a capacity of over 500. Lyle Lovett leads a list of past headlines that also includes popular acts from the California and Nevada music scenes. Bookworms enjoy the Lost Library, an 800-square-foot house tucked into a tree.
The newest prize jewel in the Martis Camp treasure is Lookout Lodge, a ski lodge that spans over 8,000 square feet. The upper level of the lodge is the restaurant and lounge area and the lower level–which houses the building’s main entrance–also has a storage space for residents. Valet parking and a private shuttle are available to increase convenience. Over 300 members attended the grand opening on July 6, 2012.
“Our members were so excited to go into the building and help usher in a new era at Martis Camp,” says Hull. “Lookout Lodge serves as a beacon of light for all the families that like to ski in the winter.” Martis Camp has attracted a new, younger and affluent demographic from northern California that has truly helped launch the reinvention of the area. “In today’s environment it is never easy to make a purchase in real estate,” says Hull. “But when people experience Martis Camp, it is like they have reached a reflection point where they want to make more time for their family. Martis Camp is truly a unique place.”
by Elisa Revello
After earning a business degree, John Brink traveled to a vacationer’s paradise and found a passion for construction. On the shores of pristine Lake Tahoe, situated among mountainous peaks and lush greenery, John Brink Construction has been building luxury custom residences for over thirty years, constructing several homes along the majestic lakefront. The key to Brink’s success lies in an intent focus on the deliberate details of home building while also providing distinctive service. Brink’s company, being on the smaller side, allows him to work closely with clients and to be particular about projects.
Brink Construction recently finished Arrowcreek, a home within a planned community at the base of Mount Rose just south of Reno, which exhibits a growing movement in style in the region. Brink says while homes in Tahoe/Truckee typically showcase the traditional mountain-style architecture, there is a burgeoning trend toward a contemporary look.
“Mountain modern blends cleaner lines with wood and other flavors of the traditional mountain style,” Brink says. Arrowcreek, an approximately 5,000-square-foot house, is elevated away from the city lights with a panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada. “This type of architecture really fits into the arid desert landscape,” Brink says.
The single-level home, extending from the master suite with the living and dining area at the core, took a little over a year to build. Brink says the effort was highly collaborative between the client, the Reno, NV architect Steve Miles and the interior designers.
“We were fortunate to work with clients who had a clear vision,” Brink says. As for the details, Arrowcreek incorporated custom fabrication throughout the home. Not only was there custom metalwork, but Brink also constructed built-in shelving with drawers that provided storage and support. A waterway leads up to and through the back and an observation deck above the garage allows the client to gaze at the stars through his telescope.
Building in Tahoe Truckee requires focus on structure and builders need to take in seismic and wind load considerations. In a more contemporary structure like Arrowcreek, the structure is part of the finish. “During construction when framing a house, you have to execute a high degree of craftsmanship because you are not covering up the structure,” Brink says.
For Arrowcreek, Brink mostly used smooth wall, meaning the walls had to be exact, and the company spent significant time and energy making sure that the walls were straight. Because there was not any trim to cover anything on the doors and windows, the drywall had to integrate the window casing.
Though well versed in building the traditional way, Brink says he prefers the style of Arrowcreek. “I find this whole trend towards mountain contemporary really exciting,” Brink says. “I like the look and feel, the cleaner lines and minimalism. But I also find this style more challenging. It’s fun and more challenging to build a contemporary house.”
by Kimberly Nichols
Nestled among spires of pine in the Tahoe Donner project, the distinctive and visually modular Fernwood Folly house is a stunning example of site informing architecture.
“Light was of utmost importance when creating this residence,” says architect Joel Sherman of J.L.S. Design. “The result is a sundial effect where you can always tell what time of day it is from various interior perspectives. Few areas are absent of natural light.”
In fact, the trees surrounding the home are also collaborators in the ambience as their foliage is a filter for the sun; in the summer they keep out the heat and in the winter they keep it within.
Sherman has been designing contemporary mountain homes in the area since 1992 when he arrived with a California modernist’s “post and beam” background and the eagerness to transform the staid tradition of nostalgic log cabin architecture into his particular brand of abstract angularity.
Joel has noticed a trend toward similar values of late, particularly in the Tahoe/Truckee area. Not only has he trail blazed a path of acceptance for the new, but he has also been on the cutting edge of “green” design with his use of common elements such as SIPS-paneled rooftops. In this case, the company adorns a roof that spans a split-level design so that each floor and section comes together beneath while allowing for a unique juxtaposition of spaces within. From the outside, demarcations in the type of wood and layers of contrasting material and geometric shapes give expression to how the house is composed, defining an overall work of cohesive modernity.
“We live in a resort community,” says Sherman. “And I am always asking my clients not to design for Christmas Eve. I don’t want to see homeowners come in to butcher the environment for the sole purpose of entertaining but for people to consider the environment actually becoming the thing that entertains.”
With this minimal aesthetic in mind, Joel likes to design from a “skeletal approach” using the architecture’s bones for a guideline and enhancing from there. The result is a look and feel where even the garage door, which is glazed to meld into the exterior and kicks up at an angle rather than rolling up into the ceiling, is an elemental part of the overall cohesion.
“I like to view all of our designs as lenses looking out onto the beautiful landscape,” says Sherman. “I can’t compete with mother nature.”
by Rodric J. Hurdle-Bradford
A house on the lake is as traditional as the American dream, and Sandbox has been helping its clients achieve their dreams for 12 years. Founded along with his wife–Maja Thaler–Scott Gillespie also serves as principal designer, overseeing the expansion of Sandbox to its current offering of residential design and engineering services.
“We have grown quite a bit and our goal was always to be a complete, one-stop shop,” says Gillespie. “New technology has allowed us to be more efficient and accurate with our process. We stay on the cutting edge for a seamless process that benefits our clients.”
One client that recently benefited was from the Lake Tahoe project that was completed in spring of 2012. As expected, the Lake Tahoe setting had various effects on the project, from the down sloping lots, to the beautiful scenery that incorporates magnificent views throughout the property and from the kitchen to the fitness room. Even an early run-in with soil contamination could not stop the project from seeing its fulfillment.
The lakefront property was built eco-friendly, with redwood siding made from a salvaged railroad bridge. In the guest room bathroom the sink is made out of a hollowed-out boulder.
“The house is by the lake, the guest house is by the street and the property is long,” says Gillespie. “We were elaborate in using the environment to help dictate design, so we created a cascading pool to flow down from the guest house to the main property.”
Gillespie worked with the client through multiple design presentations, one full-day meeting a week and land reviews over three years. “It was a great cooperative experience with the client,” he says. That experience also resulted in extensive stone design throughout the residence, along with hand-forged metal work, including a metal hood for the kitchen range. Custom cabinetry by Quinternos Furniture and exposed timber beams incorporate the wood environment of Lake Tahoe.
The residence is split into two levels, a main level that is for the owner’s use and a lower level designed for guests. The lower level features three guest suites and a media room. The recreation room features a fitness room and accordion-style doors are used in multiple rooms to give the best view of Lake Tahoe.
“The lower level has a casual, cabana-style feel that spills right onto the lake,” says Gillespie. “The most important element was using a lot of glass for natural light and lake views. We also incorporated decks or terraces in almost every room to have access to the outdoors.”
Gillespie counts the Lake Tahoe project as one of the best in his company’s portfolio. And as Sandbox continues to expand, he still holds fast to the principles he implemented in 2001.
“You have to understand your market and be willing to adapt,” he says. “Always understand what the client is looking for and be willing to adapt to them, too. We did that with this project and the results for the client are very special.”
by Chris L. Terry
Truckee’s Martis Camp development prides itself on being a place where families gather. And Jim Morrison of Jim Morrison Construction had that in mind while building the Valhalla Drive home, a lodge built to be shared by two families and their children.
The lodge boasts two master suites, each centered on a bedroom with a bathroom and sitting room off to either side. “You can get away from the action in the rest of the house and find sanctuary in your sitting room,” says Morrison. “It makes the bedrooms feel a little more special than your typical master bedroom.”
Jim Morrison Construction does its own tile work, and includes touches like the marble and glass tile wall in one of the master baths. Here, slightly iridescent rectangles climb the wall behind the mirror. “It’s neat,” says Morrison. “Very clean and contemporary. My client at that end of the house wanted a crisp but colorful look.”
Tahoe is a popular ski resort in winter and lake resort in summer, so people use their Martis Camp homes year-round. Morrison took this duality into account when building the Valhalla Drive home, which has perpendicular indoor and outdoor dining areas, separated by two Weiland sliding glass doors, which open completely so that the whole corner of the building can be outside. “It brings people into the environment that they’re there for,” says Morrison. “It’s a special spot in the house.”
Because of the snowy winter, the season for working in the ground in Tahoe only lasts from May 1 until October 15. After that, builders are allowed to work above ground, but they have snow to contend with. Morrison describes showing up to frame a house and spending the first part of each day moving the previous night’s snowfall away from the building site. But he says there is an upside to the snow. “I’m a big skier, so I get upset if my employees don’t take a day and go skiing during the best snow.”
Before starting his company, Morrison was a professional skier who competed in free-skiing contests all over the world, winning third place in the World Free Skiing Championships in Alaska in 1998. While supplementing his skiing income with construction work, Morrison learned about a new development in Squaw Valley, recruited a partner and built a spec house. “We sold it to the first person who looked at it,” says Morrison.
He knew he was on to something and has since focused his business in Tahoe, where he says there is a great base of craftsmen and a clientele with diverse tastes, which allows him to never do the same thing twice.
“Martis [Camp] has been a great community to build in, with great people who are trying to build their family legacy homes,” says Morrison. “Building it not to sell but for their family to stay there for a long time.”
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.”