3D Sketches--A Wonderful Decision Making Tool

My business and client projects are always changing and this year I seem to be involved in several construction projects. I think one of the most difficult parts of building a house (aside from paying for it) is the enormous number of decisions one has to make.

I remember bursting into tears once at the paint store in the middle of remodeling my first home. The paint clerk had asked me what color I planned to paint the closet doors in the master. It was just one question too many in what had been months of attempting to visualize every little decision.

Now I use a 3D drawing program to help clients with these decisions. Below are some sketches I've been working on for a client who is building a new Craftsman style house on the lake, here in Tahoe.

This is a 3D model I created of her living room. There will be a lot of complicated carpentry trim and finishing. I will be able to print out scaled close-up drawings of trim details that the carpenter can use on the job-site. This saves everyone time and money since changes and new ideas are put into the drawings first. We all know what happens on the job when changes are made after something has been built....$$! My 3D model eliminates guessing and poor decision making from the process. Over the years I've found that if the drawings look good, the finished product looks good.

Another view of the living room. Because of TRPA restrictions, the living room is pretty small. It has been a challenge to get enough furniture into the room to make it comfortable. I'm confident that we've solved the problem because I can see clearly that the 3D model is working. By the way, I can spin the model around and look at the room from all angles. I can also get close-ups of details by zooming in.

Here, I've drawn in the two interior door styles we're considering. Which one do you prefer?

We're also deciding about the interior wall by the stairwell. Should it be painted?

Or should it be trimmed out in wood? It takes me only a moment to make these changes on my computer screen and we can quickly make a decision and move on to the next question.

Above, here's a bird's eye view of the room.

It's just so much fun to spin this room around and around!

Embroidered Skier Sheets

Well, the plow is in front of my house at this very moment cleaning up a small snow berm left from earlier this week. It's that time of year again. The mountains are starting to open and I plan to be skiing in a few weeks (I ski Squaw Valley and if that's your mountain, I  hope to see you on the slopes!)    
Anyway, here's a little tidbit just to get you into the mood. After a long days ski, what better way to climb into a cozy warm bed than with these charming embroidered skier sheets?

A client tipped me off to these...thanks, Laura!  The link is at 

And just a reminder, the flannel sheets below are available at Garnet Hill . I've posted them before but thought I would include them again.


Stay warm!

Everyone Wants a Bunk Room

10/26/2011 4:03:00 PM

Is it because everyone wants grandkids? Who knows...but what I do know is that most of my clients ask for a bunk room.
My favorite bunk rooms have built-in beds like this charming example I found in a Pottery Barn catalogue:

If you want to go a step further, set each bunk up like its own little room:

Of course, privacy curtains are a must:

And don't forget that each bunk needs good lighting and comfy support pillows for reading in bed. Yes, the grandkids will probably sneak in a good late-night read with a flashlight, but when your adult friends see how cool the bunk room is, they'll want to stay there, too.

I'd certainly want to stay in this bunk room from the HGTV Dream House. You gotta know the party group will be staying in here:

Of course, if you know the bunk room is going to be exclusively for kids, you can add a little whimsey:

Or you could do Swedish style bunk beds:

Maybe modern is your thing:

Or you just love log style:

Me? I want the little red room at the top:

Architect Bobby McAlpine Always Impresses

Every time I run across work by Atlanta architect Bobby McAlpine it just blows my socks off. I have a thick file of magazine tear sheets featuring his work and every single house is fabulous.

Recently I was doing a little sorting in my office and ran across an article I had pulled out of an issue of Southern Accents Magazine called "High Style in Highlands". It features a house McAlpine built for clients in the Blue Ridge Mountains. McAlpine often works with designer Ray Booth who is a partner in his firm. Booth did the interiors on this project.

The interiors in this house manage to mix contemporary and rustic in such a beautiful way. The lines are clean, the materials are mountain-appropriate and the scale is big. As in all the firm's designs, there is an easy elegance to the rooms and great attention has been paid to comfort and livability.

Above, the stunning fireplace on the screened-in porch.

Above, the great room has space for living, dining and even library...walls of bookshelves are behind curtains next to the table. The large table is the perfect place to pull out a laptop or a game of scrabble.

One interior detail I love is the wood siding boards stacked horizontally. This seems so modern and is something you rarely see here in Lake Tahoe where old pickwick pine was traditionally used vertically. We are still using it a lot today and clients often ask to create an "Old Tahoe" look. Also, in Tahoe, beams were stained dark like this in the 60's and 70's and I often get clients asking me how to lighten them up to make them look current. Usually in our 60's interiors, though, the ceilings are clad with wood and the walls are dry wall (and would have been painted white, to match the orange shag carpets and orange formica countertops). I love the way McAlpine has switched up the look...the dark beams actually look fresh and modern here against the white ceiling and horizontal wood walls.

If you look closely at the McAlpine interior furnishings, you'll see that there is a great deal of complexity in the work. In every vignette they've brought in some special object from the past like the church pew serving as a bench for the dining table on this outdoor porch, below. Old meets modern meets rustic, setting up subtle design tension. The rooms these two create together are not just beautiful, they are always intriguing.

The kitchen is just simply stunning. I love the x detailing on the island, and the light grey stain really pops in the midst of an all wood space.

I love this sophisticated breakfast nook, the comfortable but understated pillows, the details on the custom banquette legs, they greyed stain on the wood, the gorgeous table, the use of an ottoman at the head of the table...the whole thing is so inviting, and sooo handsome!

And, finally, the master...

Photography by Tria Giovan 

Clean-lined, Elegant, Contemporary Bedding from Wildcat

6/20/2011 7:26:00 AM

Do you love contemporary design? Are your trips to the mountains intended for Zen simplicity and quiet? Here are some bedding designs that may please your meditative spirit.

Horizon by Wildcat, above.

Lover boy

Natural Attraction

Thea Willow

Wildcat Bedding can be custom ordered through Dragonfly Designs. Email us at dragonflytahoe@att.net or call 530 583-6076.

Adorable Bedding

6/18/2011 1:13:00 PM

A good night's sleep is always important and when you're on vacation isn't the whole point to rest up and restore? Here are a few beds that will help you do just that.

Tasha Polizzi A delicious ice cream sundae of a bed!

I think I could get a good night's sleep in this simple but cozy nest, below.

French Laundry Burlap Collection

And below, mountain handsome but with every need met to the max.

Muriel Collection from Traditions

Sasha's My Agent

There are some great real estate agents in Tahoe, but my favorite is Sasha Spiegel. Sasha knows her stuff.

We're all aware that buying or selling a house pretty much tops the list of stressful events, but Sasha's good at smoothing things over and doing a deal with her minimizes the craziness. I know. I've done six transactions with Sasha to date. If you are looking to buy or sell in Tahoe, I highly recommend her.

Sasha works successfully with buyers and sellers on all kinds of properties. In fact, I see her "Open House" signs most weekends in my Dollar Point neighborhood. She's an on-the-go agent with a busy clientele.

Recently, Sasha admitted to me that she has a secret passion for "Old Tahoe" cabins. If it was built in the first half of the 20th century, Sasha's into it. If it has pine tree cut-outs on the shutters, orange-shellac knotty-pine walls, checkerboard linoleum kitchen floors and 40's green and white bathroom tile, Sasha is diggin' it. Sasha usually knows in exacting detail every Old Tahoe cabin on the market.

I have to confess that I have a fondness for the Old Tahoe charmers, too. This is despite the fact that there have been so many wonderful developments in the last ten years in lodge-style homes. The changing roof lines, the hand-applied aged beams at all angles, one-of-a-kind iron work, the use of interesting aged and patinaed materials like antique barn wood and rusted corrugated. This has been a fabulous decade for mountain architecture.

A modern mountain house built by Olson Construction.

Fabulous. Still....I'm with Sasha, lovin' that Old Tahoe ski cabin style.

Anyway, if you're looking for a good agent, Sasha's your gal. Give her a call and tell her you heard about her from me. She'll do right by you. She always does.

To reach Sasha or for the latest information on Tahoe real estate clickhere.