When we found this rundown, unloved A-frame cabin nestled in a small community near Lake Tahoe, it hadn't been updated in decades, so it was very dark and fairly unfunctional in its original state. Yet, it had many of the key ingredients we look for with a remodel project: great bones but in need of some serious vision! It was a total eyesore but in a gem of a location. In other words, it had tons of potential and a challenge we couldn’t pass up.
In doing research - typically our first step in the design process - we dug deep for historical, cultural and arhitectural references. We discovered that back in the 1970’s, there was a nearby reservoir called Van Norden, which was a central gathering spot just down the road regularly packed with water skiers, sunbathers and beachgoers. We learned that after a much politicized movement, the reservoir was shut down and the area’s economic growth seriously suffered. We wanted to bring back that feeling of a more bustling time, when people came to the area to relax with family and friends and build lasting memories. Hence, the new name of our cabin: Van Norden.
We wanted the cabin to feel equal parts campy Americana and old school mountain chalet, so that it would easily span both summer and winter seasonal vibes. Therefore, we derived our design ideas from vintage ski gear and 1970's camping thermoses, where duotone and geotmetric patterns were prominent. The cabin’s color palette and material choices are intentionally comfortable and casual, with lots of punchy color throughout for a playful tone. Our goal was for friends and guests to feel “at home” from the first moment they walked through the front door.
Here is a breakdown of the spaces we transformed: