Sunset Idea House showcases Lake Tahoe |

Sunset Idea House showcases Lake Tahoe

Overlooking the Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing, the Sunset Lake Tahoe Idea House is meant to stand as a beacon of architectural innovation in the Truckee community.

The Sunset House is scheduled to open Aug. 24.

So what is an Idea House?

“Sunset Magazine has a series of what they call idea houses,” said Senior Director of Marketing Sue Hyde at Tahoe Mountain Resorts, a partner with Sunset Magazine in the project. “The idea behind them is for people to come through and get great ideas in the latest in technology and design.”

Out of Sunset’s 12 idea homes, Truckee’s is the first with a “high country” theme.

“We wanted to do a house in the area. High-country living has a huge readership,” said Home Programs Manager Shannon Thompson of Sunset Magazine.

Sunset Magazine, the glossy, high-end publication that caters to readers in 13 western states, builds two demonstration homes a year. This year Sunset is building homes in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.

“In Truckee, the goal was to have a lot of green building features in this project,” Thompson said. “We wanted to show a year-round house, a house that is a summer home and a winter home.”

The house is built in a style dubbed “rustic contemporary.” The interior of the house was designed using a Sierra-based palette, meaning the colors of the Sierra Nevada.

“They’re using rammed earth on the exterior of the house, which is the natural color of the earth, and that will be carried on in some of the inside walls,” said Cathy Nason, the principal owner and designer of Spirit Interior Design, which designed the interior. “Sunset [Magazine] likes to be bright. It was a combination of sunset colors and colors of the Sierra. Sunset wanted Tahoe blue to be used, green of grasses, the natural clay ” looking-out-your-window colors.”

“The house really celebrates Lake Tahoe architecture and combines it with all the new creative design features that are out today in the market,” said Tahoe Mountain’s Hyde. “It’s really designed to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors.”

Besides the obvious beauty of the area, Sunset Magazine chose Truckee for its continually changing atmosphere and its people.

“A lot of it has to do with the right partners coming together,” said Thompson. “When we started talking to East West Partners, their developments and their consciousness in green building was important to us. They had a lot of the same values relating to green building and sustainability.”

Thompson believes the Lake Tahoe Idea House will attract visitors to the area and stimulate the local economy.

“This could benefit lots of different business in the community; 40,000 people typically go through these [idea] houses, and we can distribute pamphlets to them to promote Truckee,” said Lynn Saunders of the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, the contemporary mountain home could benefit the community as a demonstration of environment friendly building techniques.

The green building features include solar panels, a water-based heating system, water cisterns for on-site irrigation and low-maintenance landscaping. According to Thompson, everything from the wooden beams to the cabinetry was made from lumber reclaimed from old buildings.

The House is scheduled to open for tours beginning Aug. 24, and will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 28. After that, the house will be put on sale by Tahoe Mountain Resorts.

Sunset Magazine chose the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund as its charity partner and will train docents to help give tours.

The Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund will receive a $25,000 donation from the magazine, according to Martha Simon of the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation.

For more information about Sunset Idea House Lake Tahoe visit

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