A Retired Couple's Lake Tahoe Home Is a Modern Mountain Retreat

Photos by Kat Alves
dining room
credit: Kat Alves

Lake Tahoe, a picturesque enclave perched in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, has long been a fresh-air getaway for San Franciscans. But many of the homes in the area resemble classic timber lodges with hunter green trims — and that traditional look wasn't what a retired couple had in mind for themselves. When they decided to leave the city to purchase an outdated 1970s condominium, they turned to Sacramento-based Popp Littrell Architecture + Interiors to create a modern address inspired by the minimalism of Scandinavian design. "The biggest challenge was making the space feel larger," principal Curtis Popp said. The team removed a wall to give the illusion of more square footage, and brightened the setting by whitewashing the ceiling to match the new surrounding light paint. And once the layout was set, they thoughtfully considered ways to bring the outdoors in: a central chandelier resembles tree branches, artwork nods to the scenery, and large windows provide idyllic views. It's just what the couple had envisioned when they sought a new life in the great outdoors.

Living Room
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credit: Kat Alves

A standing light from Artemide Tolomeo stands next to a Bensen sofa in the living room. A Herman Miller Noguchi coffee table gives the gray room dimension.

Dining Room
credit: Kat Alves

Designers were able to brighten up the space by whitewashing the original ceiling and painting the walls a matching Benjamin Moore shade. White shelves were custom-built to provide a space for storage under the window, and gray micro-weaved Kago carpets by Atlas Carpets add texture to the cabin's space.

Dining Room
credit: Kat Alves

In the dining room, a Straight Table by Carl Hansen is surrounded by Eames shell chairs.

Dining Room
credit: Kat Alves

Tractor Barstools purchased from Design Within Reach sit next to the dining table. The stools, which were originally inspired by a tractor seat on the side of the road in Switzerland, bring a bit of the outside world in.

Kitchen
credit: Kat Alves

Custom-made shelves provide just the right amount of storage for the owners. Aluminum windows, purchased from Milgard, were installed to bring in more natural light.

kitchen
credit: Kat Alves

Tahoe is known for its lush greenery, beautiful sunsets over the water, and incandescent snow on the hills. Somehow, this kitchen captures all of these aspects: a painting by Penny Olson evokes the colors in the landscape, and a chandelier by Moooi resembles tree branches.

kitchen
credit: Kat Alves

In the kitchen, pendant lights by Original BTC, a sink faucet by Grohe, and a Miele stove provide the homeowners with quality without relinquishing artful design.

Fireplace
credit: Kat Alves

No Tahoe lakeside home is complete without a wood-burning fireplace. Purchased from RAIS, the fireplace is both simple and functional, a perfect metaphor for almost every other piece of furniture in the home.

Staircase
credit: Kat Alves

Custom-made stairs with a steel railing, built-in storage, and criss-cross cables maintain the minimalism of Scandinavian design.

Bathroom
credit: Kat Alves

Daltile Porcelain floors continue in the bathroom. The shower and sink faucet were designed by Grohe, and custom cabinets provide storage space.