Light - be it bouncing off feature vintage mirrors, showering down from custom made chandeliers or reflecting into the home off the spectral waters of Lake Tahoe that lays just the other side of its windows - was always intended to be a key element to this stunningly thought through landmark dwelling.
Los Angeles-based designer Jeff Andrews, working for a family of five from San Francisco who had desired a home that could just as easily be a Winter hideaway as a Summer lake house, says he knew light would be integral to the design of the first ever project he’d worked on at the lake.
Internationally celebrated, Andrews creates sophisticated and, perhaps more importantly, livable interiors for both families and an increasing number of US celebrities. Such an approach to interiors has put him in high demand, and his client list is impressive.
Those who have called upon Andrews’ design skills include actors; Ryan Seacrest and Michael C. Hall, Kris and Kylie Jenner, as well as various members of the Kardashian family. All of these big names are drawn to his work because of the pure livability of the results, he believes. Yet ‘home’ remains a key word for him - evidenced in the Lake Tahoe project, with its comfort and fun throughout.
In this case, according to the family who live at Lake Tahoe, design rules needed to be broken - or at least bent. Andrews was understandably happy to comply.
Nestling in the enclaves of Hurricane Bay, the home’s design is awash with both natural light and specially commissioned and hand chosen artefacts that take it far and above the usual lakeside retreat, easily matching the family’s desire to create a space that was a touch ‘rustic chic’.
Andrews says he has in fact always pushed at creative boundaries, all the while respecting traditional design aesthetics. The Lake Tahoe home is testament to this, with detailing throughout that is grounded in the at-first recognisable stylistic signs, but with on closer inspection actually subvert and even poke fun at any ideas that have become too familiar.
Working on an already impressive blank canvas of the work of architect Nicolas J. Kromydas, the six-bedroom timber and glass house provided the ideal starting point for Andrews and his team. They set about finding precisely the right design scheme that would mirror both the perfection of the home’s surroundings and the quirkiness and requests of its owners.
From the moment you step into the entrance hall, you’re aware that light - and lighting - is key. The molded glass chandelier, decked with bronze, was made by Michael McEwen, and a further two hang in the double height great room just beyond.
If you’re lucky enough to have a view of Lake Tahoe, it figures you need something special in the way of seating from which to truly appreciate it. With this in mind, Andrews sourced two expansive Mimi London sofas, covered in Edelman Leather and Designers Guild fabric. In front of these, as sculptural as they are functional, sit a pair of Paul Evans tables. There is also
ample space to appreciate the view from a pair of 1960s’ Guillerme and Chambron Grand Repos chairs, which were found through Melissa Edelman Antiquaire and covered in stylish grey fabrics from Raoul Textiles. Completing the seating in the room is a captain’s chair with a sumptuous throw, designed by Brazilian modernist furniture maker and entrepreneur, Jean Gillon.
Tying the room together with its waved strands of greys and ragged edges is a rug designed especially by Andrews. Acting as a nod to the shoreline just metres from it, it captures the spirit of the lake. Th ree large scale mirrors towards the ceiling reflect the ‘art’ of the room’s design back down, bowing slightly for theatrical effect.
Leaving the great room, the dining room pans off to one side, with its dining table - actually hewn from part of a bridge (from Big Daddy’s Antiques in Los Angeles) - catching the eye first. Eight of designer A.Rudin’s famed 716 dining chairs surround it, while at each end, Andrews has placed Daley wing chairs sourced from Lucca Antiques, also in LA.
He says he is continually inspired by his Southern California upbringing, and his team regularly create both the interior and the exterior spaces with assistance of artefacts from local suppliers.
Perhaps most strikingly, Andrews re-purposed French streetlights to hang over the table here. Freed from the poles that once bound them to Parisian streets, these take on a new, almost otherworldly life in the dining room, adding a little humour and bending the rules once more. Andrews and his team visited the Marchés aux Puces markets of Paris, scouring the stalls there for vintage and industrial pieces like this, waiting for the perfect setting for them to be re-imagined in. Within this dining room, the streetlights fit the bill perfectly.
Also re-purposed, the kitchen offers a home to are claimed barn door which Andrews had sourced, and this allowed the designer to bring continuity to the whole house as a result. So the rugged and worn wood - a request of the family - was used not only for the island in the kitchen but also in the games room upstairs.
Texture was important, Andrews believes. Be it the soft lilt of the wave-like feel in the great room, the rough stone of the building’s architecture or in the lush fabrics strung around the seats in a carefree way, at every turn you’re aware this house is a tactile one - and in all seasons, harking back to the family’s initial request.
The games room also benefi ts from throw pillows covered in Katie Leede fabrics from Holland & Sherry, along with stools from the Thomas Hayes Gallery on Santa Monica Boulevard. The five cow skulls hung on the stone wall act as both a cheeky homage to perhaps stereotypical interior design, but also as a nod to the five members of the home’s young family.
The feeling of continuous flow was vital for Andrews, he says. He wanted to create a unified feeling throughout the home. In addition to his considered work mirroring the textures from the kitchen in the games room, there is a further pendant streetlight up in one of the bathrooms.
The master bedroom was designed to feel like a further extension of the house too. Of course, there is the rock wall behind the bed, echoing the statement architecture, but there is also a Rêverie chandelier by French designer Jean de Merry, further wood in the form of the desk this time, another custom designed rug and mirrors from Mexican design team, Casamidy. Again, a streetlamp features. Everything ties up beautifully.
But ultimately it is the light - and illusion of light - whether inside of the home or out, that marks this lakeside retreat as something special. At night, these qualities are boosted further still, especially when viewed from the water, Andrews believes. Stepping outside to the water’s edge, looking back at the house, lights blazing in the dusk, it’s clear that this is a home which achieved all of its goals - and brilliantly.