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.”