Art gallery opens in historic Truckee home
January 31, 2007
The paint is still drying at Elizabeth and Olof Carmel’s new art gallery in downtown Truckee.
Tucked behind the Truckee Hotel on Church Street, Carmel Gallery opened on Monday after the couple completed months of renovation work on the historic building in order to transform the quaint blue house into a showroom gallery.
The fine art photographers bought the house in September 2006 and have been working with the Town of Truckee to turn the building into a mixed-use project that fits into the downtown landscape, said Elizabeth Carmel.
Church Street has a mix of residential and commercial units, something that attracted the couple to the location, Carmel said. Carmel Gallery is considered a mixed-use project since a young couple currently rents the upper portion of the house, she said.
“It takes a certain type of person to restore a house with a little bit more work,” said Denyelle Nishimori, associate town planner.
Revitalizing historic Truckee buildings preserves the town’s history and adds balance to new development, Nishimori said. The building owners across the street from Carmel Gallery, next to Casa Baeza, are also taking on the task of restoring the building to its original state, she said.
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Carmel said she admits her husband, Olof, completed most of the work on the house, which includes refinishing the gallery’s gleaming hardwood floors. While working on the house the couple found old deeds, dating the building back to the 1890s, she said. In renovating the exterior of the house, the couple intends to re-create “the gingerbread trim” that once adorned the roofline and windows.
“The gallery has had a really good response and we’ve sold some pieces,” Carmel said regarding the first week of business, and despite the lesser amount of foot traffic compared to that of Commercial Row.
Well-known for photographing scenic landscape shots of Lake Tahoe, Carmel said she hasn’t been working much lately since there hasn’t been any snow, but the dry spell has given her a chance to focus her attention on the gallery.
Carmel’s photography book released in 2006, “Brilliant Waters: Portraits of Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and the High Sierra,” received added attention with a forward written by actor Robert Redford. The book helped introduce Carmel’s art to a wider audience, she said.
Both Carmel and her husband have had their artwork shown in galleries in the Tahoe region and on display in art shows, but this is the first time they’ve had a gallery all to themselves, Carmel said.
“We think there’s a lot of character in downtown Truckee,” Carmel said. “We’ll probably have a grand opening in the summer. Maybe we could have a block party.”