Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe has a majestic setting rivaled only by its history of famous denizens. Howard Hughes owned a home here; Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., vacationed on its shores; and Marilyn Monroe allegedly spent her last weekend at the Cal Neva Lodge before her death in 1962. Today, it is a second- (or third-) home mecca for billionaires like Steve Wynn and Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, as well as wealthy Bay Area residents.
Palmer Weiss, a South Carolina–born transplant to San Francisco, has devoted her career to translating a Southern-driven, lived-in-chic aesthetic for the latter group, as in her design for this vacation retreat in Martis Camp, a 2,177-acre gated community on Tahoe’s California side.“People who didn’t grow up with antiques have this misconception that things need to be pristine and perfect to be pretty,” says Weiss, who has built a loyal clientele of prominent West Coast families. She embraces the mores of Northern California culture: “There are very few rules here, and formality and pretense aren’t really valued.” Weiss worked with architect David Horan from the ground up on this cedar-shingle home. The owners, a financier and his wife with their brood of kids and dogs, wanted an old-meets-new-world vibe.
Weiss obliged, mi antique furniture picked up in North Carolina with seersucker, paisley, and ikat fabrics to help the house look more mature than its years. A guest bedroom has black bobbin beds and a verdant Bob Collins & Sons wallpaper; a tableau in the vestibule features an assemblage of mounted antlers and a painting from the Alameda Point Antiques Faire; and the dining room is grounded by an Alex Katz floral artwork and an antique French chandelier. “My worst nightmare,” Weiss says, “is for someone to walk into one of my projects and say, ‘Oh this is new! And newly decorated.’ I am trying to evoke an older world.”
The cedar shingle–clad exterior of a vacation home near Lake Tahoe, which was designed by architect David Horan and decorated by Palmer Weiss, mixes the local vernacular with an Adirondack look.
In the husband’s study, the A. Rudin sofa is in a Donghia velvet, the cocktail table is by Made Goods, and the sconces are by Visual Comfort. The 1950s kilim is Turkish, and the artwork is by Sharon Montrose.
The kitchen’s backsplash tile is by Exquisite Surfaces, and the countertop is by Caesarstone. The ceiling beams are reclaimed barnwood, the flooring is stained white oak, and the artwork was painted by the owners’ young daughter.
In the powder room, Weiss says she “took the governor off the design engine and let it rip.” The poppy wallcovering by Trustworth Studios is a reproduction of a 19th-century C.F.A. Voysey Arts and Crafts design. The vanity is by Bradley, the fittings are by Waterworks, the sconces are by the Urban Electric Co., and the towels are by Pottery Barn. The wall trim is Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue.
The living room’s love seat in a Casamance fabric and armchairs in a Katie Leede & Company fabric are by Lee Industries. The custom cocktail table is by Mecox, the Charles Stewart ottoman is in a Claremont velvet, the side table is from Mrs. Howard, and the 1850 spindle-arm chair was purchased at the Antique & Art Exchange in San Francisco. The rug is by Niba Designs, and the artwork is by William Skilling.
In the master bedroom, the hickory-and-cane four-poster bed by Rusticks has a bed skirt in a Pindler fabric and is dressed with Julia B. shams, an RH, Restoration Hardware blanket, and a Nuraxi throw. The pendant is by the Urban Electric Co., the sconces are by Visual Comfort, the window shade is in a Robert Kime fabric, and the wall paneling is painted in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove.
A covered outdoor dining area takes full advantage of Tahoe’s relatively mild winters. The dining table and chairs are by Country Casual Teak, the chair cushions are in a Perennials fabric, the pillows are in a Jasper stripe, and the pendant is by the Urban Electric Co. The ceiling is sheathed in clear cedar, and the columns are wrapped in stained Douglas fir.
The entryway balances old and new design, setting the tone for the entire home. A quirky Noir settee in a graphic floral pattern is paired with plaid pillows; the rug is antique Oushak. The sconce is by Urban Archaeology, the painting is from a flea market, and the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore's White Dove.
The screened in porch functions as a year round extension of the living room. The LaLune Collection custom table has a round cedar plant top and the cocktail table is from Mecox Gardens. The sofa and pillows are by Lee Industries and covered in a Claremont fabric, the lamp is from Toby West Antiques, the area rug is Frontgate Sunbrella Tweed and it is topped with a 1950's oushak rug.
In the mudroom, vintage Razzia posters are from the owners' previous home, and the bench is Mainly Baskets with a custom cushion in Feathered Flax by Pollack. The walls are painted in Benjamin Moore's White Dove in eggshell.
In the second floor guest bedroom, custom Bob Collins wallpaper covers the walls, which contrasts with the black of the spindle beds by Land of Nod, and custom Donghia canopies. Botanical Prints from Gallery on the Green are hung above each bed, and the bolster pillows are custom in Clarke & Clarke.
The first floor guest bedroom has a Jasper paisley wallcovering, which contrasts with the Knotty Cedar boards of the pitched ceiling. The curtains are custom in China Seas with a Samuel & Sons trim, the bedside table is Tritter Feefer, and the lamp is Stephen Gerould. The bedskirt is custom Manual Canovas with Samuel & Sons trim, and the throw is from Pine Cone Hill.
In the dining room, a 19th-century iron chandelier belies the Restoration Hardware dining table, which is surrounded by repurposed Hollywood at Home chairs upholstered in a Rose Cummings Nairobi fabric. The vase is from Zentique and the artwork is Alex Katz.
The design of the stairs was kept simple, letting the architectural impact of the shiplap be the focus. The light fixture is by Remains Lighting, the carpeting is by Stark Carpet, and the artworks are hand-colored engravings by Georgio Bonelli. The sconces are Urban Archaeology, the bamboo settee is from G4 Decor, and the pillows are in Claremont, Indhira in Ambre.