Luxury Cabin in Martis Camp By John Sather - Forest Retreat

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Family Forest Retreat at this Modern Mountain Martis Camp Retreat

photography by VANCE FOX

Lake Tahoe luxury cabin architect Swaback Partners
A luxury cabin in one of Tahoe’s most luxurious private communities was designed by Swaback Partners to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Imagine a place where towering pines, gorgeous mountain vistas, shimmering lakes and a myriad of recreational activities were part of your everyday experience. Now picture building your own luxury cabin in just such a setting—a private forest retreat at Martis Camp where you could get away from it all whenever you liked.

This was the dream of one couple with three young boys who decided it was time to create the forest retreat they’d always envisioned.

A stunning architectural achievement, the two-story residence stands out in a forest of evergreens.

John Sather of Swaback Partners architect Lake Tahoe cabin

Located just north of Lake Tahoe, in the exclusive mountain community of Martis Camp, the family’s 4,800-square-foot house serves as a second home and forest retreat. “They wanted a heritage property for the family, a place where their sons could come back and enjoy it with their kids,” says Scottsdale architect John Sather of Swaback Partners, the land planner and architect for the community as well as this house.

A stunning architectural achievement, the two-story residence stands out in a forest of evergreens, with its richly stained cedar cladding, Corten steel panels and roofing, cantilevered beams and extensive stonework. “We layered different widths of cedar with steel for the sides of the house for visual effect,” Sather says. “This is very durable, maintenance-free, high-quality architecture.”

Lake Tahoe luxury cabin design in Martis Camp

Featuring an open floor plan, the five-bedroom luxury cabin and forest retreat is full of unexpected elements, from the great room ceiling with its architectural panels to the slabs of oak in the stair tower that appear to float on an invisible steel stringer.

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls along the living and dining areas keep these rooms flooded with sunlight and provide breathtaking unobstructed views. At the top of the stairs, a tucked-away space looks down to the exterior entry and opens to a covered porch, creating the feel of a treehouse.

luxury Lake Tahoe cabin in Martis Camp

“The Martis Camp home has a spectacular barn door at the top of the stairs made of pieced reclaimed wood. It’s operated by a giant iron pulley system that travels up and over the large doorway to a massive wheel on the opposite side,” notes interior designer Kimberly Anderson of Arcadia Design Group, who worked on the luxury cabin. “It’s quite impressive.”

The homeowners wanted a contemporary aesthetic that was comfortable and family friendly. Creamy-hued finishes throughout complement limestone tiles and white oak flooring.

The Martis Camp home has an understated sophistication that renders it timeless.

Luxury mountain cabin design by Swaback Partners

“We studied buildings both residential and commercial buildings that had a strong connection to the land and pulled earthy hues from the exterior stone to dictate the interior palette,” Anderson remarks. “I designed the Martis Camp home to be clean and uncluttered but not austere.”

Unfussy furnishings, soft lighting and simple lines keep the forest cabin cozy. Stone from the exterior was brought inside for use on the massive fireplace, which is wrapped in reclaimed wood beams and steel. “The timbers create a wonderful balance to the smooth, contemporary architectural plywood-clad ceiling, reinforcing the casual mountain feel,” Anderson points out.

architect John Sather designs luxury mountain cabin Lake Tahoe

“Our biggest concern was keeping the luxury cabin warm and inviting so it didn’t lose its sense of place. The spaces are generous, and we wanted the home to feel like a place in which you could kick off your shoes and get comfortable.”

While the home’s main floor public spaces are flanked by the master bedroom, guest suites and a media room, the second level features two additional guest suites and a bunk room with cantilevered bunk beds, study carrels for doing homework, and a play space.

luxury cabin design from Swaback Partners

“The Martis Camp home has an understated sophistication that renders it timeless,” Anderson says. “It has a modern sensibility to the furnishings that makes it both great for entertaining and immensely livable for a family.”

Conceived for a casual lifestyle, with access to amenities that include a Tom Fazio-designed golf course and ski hills, this family-friendly forest retreat offers an organic, natural mountain vibe without feeling like a traditional mountain home.

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