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Mountain Home Styles

Happy New Years to our Tinsel readers, we all made it to 2021! This week, we’re doing a quick overview of a few of our favorite mountain home styles. While I have a soft spot for vintage gambrels (having owned one!) there’s a few other favorite home styles in the Lake Tahoe region, including the A-frame, the log cabin, and mountain modern.


The A-frame is one of the most iconic home shapes- a simple triangle on the ground. The style gained popularity in the 1960s and 70s when having a second home became accessible to the middle class, with a smaller stature that is ideal for mountain or lake getaway houses. They are recognized by their simple roof shape that serves a second purpose in the winter- it makes snow shed easy! They are relatively inexpensive to build and even more fun to spend time in, with open living areas for entertaining, lofts for sleeping, and large decks for summer barbecues. Similarly, the Gambrel style is very much like an A-frame, but with an additional pitched slope in the roof for added interior space. They otherwise share many of the same architectural and design quirks.



Is there anything that screams “winter in Tahoe” more than a log cabin? It’s worth noting the typical log cabin has evolved considerably from the rustic one-room den from our memories. The modern cabin borrows from its smaller contemporaries, still using wood logs and open fireplaces. But these days, multiply your basic cabin a few times...or ten times. The modern cabin now covers square footage in the thousands, with large floor-to-ceiling windows, enormous hearths, exposed beams, and open living spaces. The oversized modern cabin gained traction in the 1980s and continues to be a favorite for mountain homes around Lake Tahoe today.



The clean lines and open spaces, huge windows, and mixed use of textures are hallmarks of the modern mountain design you can find in exclusive developments like Lahontan and Martis Camp. Rustic finishes are integrated with contemporary and industrial components that give these homes a sleek and often dramatic aesthetic. From the outside, expect lots of geometric shapes, flat roofs and minimal eaves. The mountain modern design is anything but fussy, with an overall simplicity that takes the wildlife and weather into consideration, often by featuring local materials and landscaping. Mountain modern might be a newer style, but it’s a very sustainable trend!


If you’re looking for a home style in particular, we recommend taking a long drive around your favorite parts of Lake Tahoe and Truckee to get a sense of the various styles and the homes that standout to you. Give us a call at Tinsel House Studio to get busy designing the interior space of your dreams!



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