Mountain High


Kristine Renee & Deborah Costa, Design Alchemy’s mother- daughter team, transform a home in Squaw Valley

“Our design philosophy is all about balance and scale,” says Deborah Costa, one-half ot the mother-daughter team that makes up Design Alchemy, “striving to achieve the perfect blend to create spaces that are a bit edgy but still comfortable and livable.” Adds her daughter, and partner, Kristine Renee, “The homeowner trusts us implicitly, thinks outside the box, seeks uniqueness and is amazingly fun and adventurous.”

Photos throughout by David Duncan Livingston

This was the fifth home that Design Alchemy had done with the homeowner. “She has a thirst for travel,” says Renee, “Everything outdoors is her happy place: heli-skiing, paddleboarding down the Amazon, hiking with her two dogs or mountain bike riding.”

Here that translated to a generous space that would accommodate her four children along with the whole neighborhood. Capturing the views was also important, with the kitchen and the master bedroom/bath at the top of the list. A bunk room hidden on top of the garage holds ten for when hosting duties spill over into raucous late nights.

Given her penchant for travel and adventure, it’s no surprise that the client had a large collection of National Geographic magazines. “We worked with a local cabinet shop to create custom magazine racks to display her collection in the powder bathroom,” says Costa, “So fun, and a great infusion of color that popped against the monochrome color palette seen throughout the rest of the house.”

“The overall transformation of this “remodel” is unbelievable,” Costa continues, “The original exterior was split pea green 60s,” she remembers, “A frame cabin with a fire ladder to get up to the sleeping bunk. Definitely quaint and charming, but our client was after a more sleek and contemporary vibe. We had to stay within the existing garage footprint, due to the snow plow, which was definitely a design challenge! And, of course, due to the weather, we had to make all decisions with the snow load in mind.” The team worked with architecture firm Chris Dorman and Associates.

“She totally trusted our vision and was thrilled with the outcome of the project.”