by Chris L. Terry
Martis Camp is a private, luxury community located in California’s High Sierras, halfway between North Lake Tahoe and Truckee. Local resorts are skiing destinations in winter and boating hubs in summer, and Tahoe-based firm Walton Architecture & Engineering Inc. keeps the area’s multifaceted appeal in mind as they build homes that are stunning in any season.
“Although the Tahoe/Truckee area is best known for its magical winters, our summers are equally gorgeous and it is important for our designs to reflect the unique spirit of our location,” says principal architect Clare Walton. “Architectural space with little definition between the interior and the exterior has become a paramount design objective.”
The Lodge Cabins are a family of eleven cabins on a special plot of land adjacent to Martis Camp’s Grand Lodge. The Lodge Cabins share a design vocabulary and were created in a collaborative effort between DMB/Highlands architect Ronald A. Todd and Clare Walton, working closely with builder Jim Morrison of Jim Morrison Construction, Inc.
In a place like Martis Camp, every lot has its own characteristics, and the mountainous setting calls for a home that complements the contours of the land, while taking advantage of the premiere views. Each Lodge Cabin is crowned with a glassed-in vista room that offers a 360-degree view of the woodsy property and the dramatic mountains that await beyond. The vista room functions as a secondary social space, perfect for a vacation home that the owners can treat as a social destination.
Lodge Cabins also feature a collapsible window wall connecting the living room with the outdoor social spaces, an outdoor firepit terrace, which melds with the terrain’s unique features (as seen at Lodge Cabin 289) and a screened sleeping porch.
Walton set a special feature off the kitchen of Lodge Cabin 289, an accessory space that can be used as an office, offering sleek storage and views to inspire while you work.
In the master bathroom, an oak feature wall creates a special niche for the curved tub while referencing the décor in other parts of the house. This creates a continuity of finishes that Walton says, “Enables the cabin to live larger than its interior space would otherwise provide.”
Nearby, in the bathrooms at Lodge Cabin 286, the same dark wood is used on the floors as is used in the rest of the home. “The concept was to provide the cabin with a unified flow,” says Walton. Family comfort is paramount, and bunk beds like the ones seen in Lodge Cabin 286 are integral parts of the cabins. “The bunk beds speak to the family-oriented qualities of Martis Camp, a social destination where many people come together at one time,” says Walton. “I think architecture is a perfect blend between the influences. Practicality and creativity come together into an art form that is usable.”