Tour a Dreamy Lake Tahoe Cabin Where Modern Comforts Meet Vintage Style

Jon de la Cruz, of San Francisco–based AD Pro Directory firm DLC-ID, had known his latest clients for years. In fact, they were his very first; after leaving his job at Ken Fulk in 2015, de la Cruz built them a collection of houses: their primary home in the Bay Area, another in the Carmel Valley, a residence for their parents, and a home in Hawaii. Yet the wife, who had been reared lakeside in the Midwest, craved a waterfront retreat evocative of what she had grown up with. She found one, astride north Lake Tahoe, on the California side, and, wanting to stay nearby during the redesign process, then found a second one: a 2,800-square-foot cabin with a split-log façade that, as de la Cruz tells it, was “the runt of the litter.”

The designer himself “fell in love with this small one” and its quirks, including what he laughingly calls the “1970s wood-paneling smell.” At his urging, the homeowners ended up selling the first property and overhauling the second. A traditional Lake Tahoe cabin—a seven-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath lakefront residence that sits on the north side of the lake and comprises a carriage house—the family’s new getaway demanded restoration on all fronts, and fast. “We did a lot of upgrading, and we did it one building season. In Tahoe, we couldn’t do anything in the winter,” de la Cruz says.

The family, which includes two parents who work in the tech industry and their two grammar-school-age children, is “very unpretentious,” shares the designer. “They live in these houses, and they use them. They need to work, and they just so happen to let me make it stylish.” While the foursome is what de la Cruz calls “a ski family,” they also wanted to make the most of the property in the summer. Despite the region’s wintry reputation, the designer aimed at an aesthetic that would weather all temperatures and avoid feeling overly thematic. “I wanted to not fall into the trap of making it feel like a winter lodge, but also keep it all-season.”

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Benjamin Moore’s Philipsburg Blue on the kitchen cabinetry mimics the blue of Lake Tahoe. The handmade-tile backsplash was selected to provide “texture, but also make it not all period-correct,” de la Cruz says. “This is not a museum.” The designer implemented reclaimed teak floors from IndoTeak and created the custom dining table to complement the dining chairs, which are original to the house but were restored and reupholstered in Moore & Giles leather and Schumacher’s Fauna in Carbon. The dining area is set against a backdrop of the home’s original knotty pine walls.

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