IT WAS ONLY NATURAL that Erik Christoffersen would build a thoroughly modern vacation home in Martis Camp, the private luxury development outside of Truckee. Not only did he develop a passion for clean, spare design as a child growing up in Hollin Hills, the celebrated midcentury-modern neighborhood in Northern Virginia; Christoffersen is also a devoted skier whose two children, ages 10 and 12, ski competitively and shuttle between San Francisco and Squaw Valley 22 weekends a year for training and races.
Christoffersen enlisted Blaze Makoid Architecture in Bridgehampton, N.Y., to design a resortlike residence where he and his wife, Alissa Lee, could spend race weekends with their children and comfortably entertain friends and family. The five-bedroom, 5,923-square-foot home is laid out “like an accordion in terms of how it functions,” explains Christoffersen. “It’s designed so it can feel cozy for a family of four but also expand easily to accommodate two other families or a cocktail party.”
Architect Blaze Makoid sited the home to hug the mountainside rather than sit atop it. “It’s nestled into the landscape,” says Makoid. “We wanted to have the house come up from the land as a simple form with abstract, crystalline elements.”
The structure’s stained cedar siding, substantial black metal trim work and dark metal roof help it disappear into its alpine surroundings.
Inside, the unadorned architecture is juxtaposed with materials and furnishings that exude hominess: walnut cabinetry, oak floors, faux-fur throws, linen sofas, textured area rugs, a farmhouse dining table. Interior designer John Giacomazzi, who serves as vice president of merchandizing and design for Comcast and has known the homeowners for years, opted for a restrained palette and avoided polished surfaces. “With the abundant glazing and all the reflection off the glass, I went with a matte, neutral finish for most surfaces with pops of color through the accessories,” he explains.
Lighting plays a major role in achieving the home’s warm atmosphere. “I think lighting makes or breaks a space. I spent a lot of time watching the lighting in the rooms throughout the day,” says Giacomazzi. “The client loves dimming the lights, lighting candles, creating an immersive experience. Because of the lighting, it’s not a static environment.” During the golden hour at sunrise and sunset, the main rooms radiate with an orange glow as sunlight streams through the massive windows.
Practicality reigns throughout the residence, especially in spaces like the mudroom, where wall-mounted panels affixed with storage pockets and bins make for easy stashing of outdoor gear in winter and summer alike. In the children’s quarters, custom-made bunk beds are built with drawers beneath, and each bed has its own wall niche with a dimmable light and USB port to power electronic devices.
There are little surprises within, too. Like the powder room near the main entry with its geometric wallpaper and ice crystal-like pendant lights. “When you open the door, you feel a little sense of delight there,” says Giacomazzi. Or the so-called “Harry Potter room” that is tucked beneath a staircase and entered from a swinging-bookcase portal in the game room.
“These are the kinds of details that make the space unique, and I’m grateful to the architect and designer for making them happen,” says Christoffersen. “It really is a special place.”