Tahoe Ridge House in Tahoe Donner, California | WA design 


  • Architect: WA design
  • Name of Project: Tahoe Ridge House
  • Location: Tahoe Donner, California
  • Client: Private
  • Size: 4,960 square feet
  • Design Team: David Stark Wilson, Chris Parlette, Torin Etter, Ben Howell, Eoi Takagi
  • Consultants: Kenneth Hughes (engineering); Tim Ferrell (civil); Monterey Mechanical (mechanical)
  • Contractor Team: Turner Construction; Al Turner, Chaz Kruck, Ian Waight, Mark Hollerbach
  • Craftspeople / Products: Mountain Forge (metal fabrication, custom light fixtures); Helikson Design (kitchen hood, furniture); Loewen (windows and doors); Concreteworks (sinks); Waterworks (radiant heat system); Ruhkala Granite and Marble (fireplace hearths, counters); Tri County (cabinets); Crossroads (recycled wood); Stott builders (recycled wood doors); Perennial Nursery (landscape); City Electric, Sunny St. Pierre (lighting); Class A Roofing (roof and siding)
  • Interior Furnishings: Client, WA design (custom pieces)
  • Landscape Design: WA design

The Tahoe Ridge house is located on one of the last large parcels in the Tahoe area. Eight acres of land with dense stands of white and red fir slope upward to the rocky granite ridge crest that forms a backstop to this exceptional site. This was the second home we had designed for the clients, the first being the Strathmoor House, also in this book. The usual period of getting acquainted was already in place for the Tahoe Ridge House. Our design aesthetics and goals were aligned at the onset to conceive of a contemporary building uniquely rooted in the Tahoe area and the spectacular site.

Vernacular mining and stamp mill buildings in the Tahoe area inspired the design of this home. Long before Tahoe was a ski resort, it was a gold rush destination. Tall stamp mills were used to pulverize hard rock into fine silt from which the gold could be removed. All movement of material within the mill was achieved by gravity hence the structures are characteristically elongated vertically.

Significant mountain vistas quickly became a key design consideration. Views of the mountains of Nevada to the north, to Tinker’s knob and the Sierra Crest to the south, needed to be revealed. These criteria resulted in a floor plan that sprawls along two orthogonal axes and ascends vertically to the north to the study and master bedroom. The experience of flow along the axes is enhanced by a clear rhythm of 10” x 10” recycled Douglas fir structural posts that tie in with the roof framing above.

A mix of Western Red Cedar and Galvalume metal siding applied as a tight skin pay further homage to the old mining buildings. On the interior of the home, large recycled timbers and heavy metal bracketing extend the industrial aesthetic and resist the substantial snow loads of winter. Continue here


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