Family MattersAuthor:Anh-Minh Le
With its red slatted wall and verdigris copper volume, this multigenerational mountain retreat is a standout
The Wiseman Group is very familiar with Martis Camp. According to design principal James Hunter, the firm’s completion of a retreat for Massy Mehdipour marked his sixth project in the luxury community situated midway between Truckee and North Lake Tahoe. Still, the tri-level residence for the Silicon Valley investor—a TWG client multiple times over—stands out for Hunter. “You come down the road,” he says, “and the way that the house turns its back to its neighbors and the way that it embraces the view, when you’re in this house, you feel like the whole 2,000 acres of Martis Camp is your own.”
Indeed, architect Gregory Mottola, principal of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, describes the parcel as “one of the nicer home sites in the whole development. It sits on this ridge that borders on some open space. Across is this crescent-shaped bowl and you’re looking out toward the west to the Pacific Crest Trail. Our role was to create a stunning piece of architecture that really fits that specific place. We came to it without any preconceptions and started to develop a vision for the property that was a reaction to that spectacular location.”
A priority of the program was Mehdipour’s desire to not only have her own space—which manifested in a copper volume, often referred to as the home’s cube, that contains the primary bed and bath, closet and private terrace—but to accommodate her son and daughter, along with their families. Hence, there are three distinct and capacious suites, as well as two bunk rooms and multiple areas to gather inside and out (the kitchen island and the dining table can each seat 12). “It’s a project that feels really nice and comfortable and appropriate if there’s one person in the house or if there’s 30 people in the house,” says Denis Schofield, associate principal at BCJ.
Mottola, calls the great room the focal point, from a visual and functional standpoint. The expansive wall of cedar slats with an opaque red stain—which catches the eye from the road—is a prominent feature in here, coexisting with the slate flooring, a Douglas fir ceiling, the cube’s verdigris copper panels and lots and lots of glass. The 22-foot-high sheets of glass span from column to column, which are roughly eight feet apart. “We really wanted to not have anything obstruct the view,” says Mottola.
As for the interior schemes, Hunter and Paul Wiseman, TWG’s namesake, took their cues from the architecture. “We’re in harmony with the materials of the house,” says Hunter, observing that “no matter where you are inside or outside, you’re never too far from the red wall. It’s this really grounding force, and yet because it’s pierced and slatted, it doesn’t feel overpowering.”
In the great room, the designers brought in red P22 chairs designed by Patrick Norguet for Cassina. The fireplace’s concrete surround, with its earthy tones, is complemented by a TWG-designed sectional upholstered in a charcoal Colefax and Fowler fabric, and nesting coffee tables that combine lava stone tops from Sue Fisher King with oil-rubbed bronze bases fabricated by Jefferson Mack Metal. The “herd carpet,” as Wiseman refers to it, is made of 14 full hair-on-hides. He further elaborates of the custom creation: “With all your geometries ”— meaning the wood overhead, the copper cube and the slate underfoot—“there were so many unusual junctures, a rectangular carpet thrown on the floor would have ruined the room. It needed something organic.”
Since green is one of Mehdipour’s favorite colors, Hunter and Wiseman incorporated it generously in her “private sanctuary,” as Hunter describes her third-floor quarters. The sitting area of her bedroom—which projects out and offers an unencumbered view (thanks to a 10-by-16-foot window)—includes a pair of lounge chairs by Jens Risom accompanied by Caste bronze side tables and a Jonathan Browning floor lamp. The Douglas fir- lined room also houses custom pieces, like the bed with a leather surround and the TWG-designed bedside tables that marry lacquered linen with blackened steel.
Being Martis Camp is a year-round destination, the house is well-suited for entertaining and outdoor pursuits during cold and warm months. The main level boasts an open-air family room, dubbed the “mountain lanai,” anchored by a 14-foot dining table made by Studio Roeper using a single slab of redwood. “It’s completely open,” says Hunter. “There’s no wall there that closes this off, no screen, no curtain.” Heaters integrated into the Douglas fir ceiling and a raised firepit help combat chilly conditions.
Downstairs, in addition to a wine cellar and a playroom, there’s even a spot for a golf simulator. From the lowest level of the house, “you can walk right out onto this flagstone terrace, hop on your sled and then just fire away down the hill,” says Schofield of a wintertime perk. “It truly is a walkout that engages this pretty incredible natural scenery that surrounds you.” Adds Hunter with a laugh: “You’ve heard of ski-in, ski-out. This is a toboggan-in, toboggan-out.”