Living The Dream


Sarah Jones of Sarah Jones Design offers up the ideal vacation spot in Lake Tahoe for a San Francisco family.

Photo by Paul Dyer

Sarah Jones may have an interior designer’s dream job: the majority of the homes she designs, dotted in mountain towns throughout the west, are vacation homes. “We focus on how they like to live on vacation and in such peaceful environments. This is often very different from their main residence, where work and the daily grind plays out.” she shares, “We get to focus on how the client likes to play and entertain.” Delivered to the clients turnkey, with everything in place from linens to dishes, they’re designed for ultimate relaxation.

Photo by Paul Dyer
The custom table in the dining booth is by Westgate Hardwoods. The surround was upholstered by Truckee Sewing with fabric by Kravet. The high back ensures privacy fro the next door neighbors and keeps the focus on the main view. Photo by Paul Dyer

For this Lake Tahoe project, Jones emphasized, as she often does, the organic, collaborative process between herself, the client, architect Claire Walton of Walton Architecture and Engineering and the builder. “This project was a great example of a team that worked closely together to create a finished home that was only made possible by the contributions of everyone’s hard work and input.” 

In the kitchen, the dining table and chairs are by McQuire. The Rapo chandelier was found at Coup D’Etat Photo by Paul Dyer

Of course, that begins with Jones’ interpretation of the client’s goal. “This helps bring direction to how the space will be used and laid out, what the color palette and materials will be, and what special needs have to be considered,” she explains, “In general I lean towards ‘less is more’. There are so many layers that go into a home. If you start out with understated materials, by the time you get to the finish line you have a balanced space is both sophisticated and playful.”

The master’s bed is by Swain, upholstered in Arudin Leather. Hubbarton Forge pendants hang over nightstand by Noir. Underfoot, an area rug from Stark. The beddingw was found at Area Home. Photo by Paul Dyer
Photo by Paul Dyer

For this San Francisco-based family of five, that meant a simple, sleek and modern home that accommodated three young children. The linear layout is designed to keep the focus on the dramatic mountain view, making the most of the lot’s narrow footprint. Outside, concrete contrasts with warm cedar cladding. Inside, the flow from indoor to out is emphasized via collapsible window walls which connect the living room to the main living area. Natural materials including walnut floors, a cedar ceiling and quartzite countertops create a warm, neutral backdrop to the family’s daily life. Accents, from lighting to fabric to tiles, incorporate touches of whimsy. The preponderance of blue is a nod to the family’s favorite color; it also complements the view. 

In the living area, the sofas and chairs are by Arudin. The fireplace’s plaster wall application was created by Mudslingers. Poufs by Jamie Young Photo by Paul Dyer

Because the main space embraces the living room, dining area and kitchen, it needed to be considered as a unified whole. Lighting helps create distinct yet well-lit spaces. “We ended up falling in love with a great statement chandelier from Coup D’Etat in San Francisco called the Raro Chandelier,” says Jones. Hung over the dining table, the delicate, sculptural piece became the room’s centerpiece. So as not to distract from its impact, Jones used can lighting in the kitchen and living areas. 

Photo by Paul Dyer

The client’s young children clamored for a secret space. Jones designed one within the large bookshelf that leads to one of the bunk rooms. “Working with the cabinetmaker we created a system wherein which, if you pull out one specific Harry Potter book, it unlocks a door that reveals a hidden compartment in which to hide treasures.

Photo by Paul Dyer

The clients were thrilled with the finished space. “We immediately opened up the fully-stocked bar and mixed up a celebratory margarita. The kids ran checking everything out while we watching the sunset over the sierras.” 

Photo by Paul Dyer