Mountain Retreat, Northern California

High in the mountains of Northern California, 20 miles up a dirt road, lies an incredible property that is way off the grid in the middle of a national wilderness.  Each winter brings a high annual snowfall that makes this site accessible only from June-October. With careful planning we worked over the course of five summers with a visionary client, an outstanding architect and a team of master builders to oversee a massive grading operation in order to create a man-made lake and meadow. Together, they seamlessly integrate the house into the surrounding alpine environment.

The lake is fed by another natural alpine lake higher up on the property and supplies water for domestic use as well as a solar powered irrigation system for the meadow. To create the natural meadow we dynamited out an enormous rock outcropping¬†(50′ wide x 150′ long x 11′ tall) in what was a perfectly executed cut and fill condition.

We built a swimming dock and some natural eddies along the lake that function as swimming holes for little kids. Floodgates were designed and built on-site to lower the level of the lake to take the pressure off of the earthen dam in the event of 50-year rain — which did happen!

The mantra on this project was always to design with nature. After many years of heavy construction, it was so fulfilling to walk around this property with people who had no clue that we ever did anything. Projects like these come only once in a lifetime, and for this experience I am so grateful.

Collaborators:
Architecture: Walker Warner Architects
General Construction: Mark Nolan
Metal Artist: Jefferson Mack Metal
Stone Mason: Edwin Hamilton Stone Works