Trends in Ski-In/Ski-Out Home Design

Trends in Ski-In/Ski-Out Home Design

Borelli Architecture Ski-In/Ski-Out Homes Northstar Martis Camp Truckee Tahoe

Just one short, scenic, drive through Martis Camp and Northstar California and one will immediately notice the popularity in ski-in/ski out homes.  And as such, home buyers within our resort communities are asking architects throughout the Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas to design ski-in/ski-out homes that seamlessly blend function with family fun on and off the slopes and links.

With this topic hot, I thought it might be interesting to highlight some of the trends and features that Borelli Architecture in Incline Village, Nevada, suggests for the design of your ski-in/ski-out home in California or Nevada – which will certainly include what we used to simply call a “Mud Room” which is now referred to as a “Ski Room”.

We have a ski-in/ski-out home on North Summit Place at Northstar under construction right now.  When all is said and done, our clients will live the dream to be able to click into their ski boots or jump on their mountain bike for a great day of skiing or biking – right from their back door.

It’s interesting to see the trends in mountain homes design develop over the years; the focus on the functionality of the back of the home is just as important as the home’s front entry, and the Ski Room in particular, that sits on the edge of the great outdoors.

Before we start to design any Ski Room we take all the seasons into consideration – be it winter, spring, summer, or fall.  And most often the design ends up with recommendations that are far from the typical Mud Room or Foyer of yesteryear.


Most of the clients that we work with lead a very active lifestyle.  And with that in mind, the Ski Rooms we design reflect the owner’s passions – and include all of the necessary space and features to elegantly and efficiently store all of their play toys.  Here are some highlights:

Heated Floors:  These function both as warming surfaces for stocking feet and a drying capacity for the lingering water that comes with the onslaught of ski gear in the winter and muddy shoes and such in the wrap-around seasons.

A Drop Zone:  From low level kid cubbies to higher shelving for the adults, we always recommend plenty of these easy to reach locations for things that need to stay off the floor and easily stored.

Cabinets that Hide the Goods:  There are many features that are essential to a Ski Room, but that doesn’t mean that this room has to look like a Utility Room.  At Borelli Architecture and Kelly Borelli Interiors, we always remind our clients of the importance of tying the significance of the room into the image of the home; be it elegant doors and hardware or other tasteful accents, we tie it all together to blend seamlessly into the overall style.

Long, Comfortable, Benches.  No fabric needed or perhaps even wanted for these ‘must haves’ that have a tendency to be used by those who have had a long wet ski day and can’t wait to take off the boots or muddy sneakers.  We like to build in long benches and always suggest a warm durable wood to add to the home’s own mountain charm.

Ski, Golf, and Fishing Reel Racks:  Here in the High Sierra there are endless ways to enjoy a full lifestyle right out one’s backdoor.  In addition to the basics, we also like to design sport-specific racks for skis, golf bags and shoes, fishing rods and reels, bike helmets, and more.

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

Whether you plan to build or remodel a home in the mountains, or are seek a sandy sea-side retreat, call us at Borelli Architecture first.  We welcome every opportunity to spend some quality time with you to design a home that is as personal as it is practical for generations to come.


Tips to protect home from fire


Ideal Products for Homes in Fire-Sensitive Areas

As a seasoned architect of custom homes in the Truckee, California and Reno/ Lake Tahoe area, I have become keenly aware of my responsibility to develop designs that respect the region in which my clients live.  Every day, and in the summer and fall seasons in particular, we have to worry about wildfires primarily due to human error or Mother Nature herself.

With the drought that is impacting the west, there’s no question there is a higher need for architects to evaluate the ideal products and structures for mountain homes in the popular Northstar, Martis Camp, Truckee, Lake Tahoe communities and then some.

Whether my clients choose to build or remodel their home in the High Sierra, the fire danger and drought situation poses a direct threat to those living in and along the wildland-urban interface (WUI).

Past catastrophic losses due to wildfires impacting the WUI and the growing number of people living in these areas indicate that the problem is only getting worse.

What Fire Protection Products Are Best to Use When Building A Home in A Wild Land Area?

Thanks to the millions of dollars of research that has been underway for the past century, there are have been some significant new products developed to better protect homes within the sensitive regions in which we choose to build and live in today.

Back in 1997, through a grant from the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the University of California, Berkeley developed standard test protocols to evaluate the relative performance of exterior construction materials and assemblies.

One of the key results, among many, was the development of a Builder’s Wildfire Mitigation Guide which is available to you as well through this link.

It identifies a wide variety of the designs and products that Borelli Architecture specifies for the homes we design and build throughout the Reno, Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Lahontan communities.

It also includes ideas for those who may want to assess their home and then invest in a remodel that includes these fire-protection features that may include yet not be limited to:

  • Non-combustible roofs
  • Fire safe vents
  • Non-combustible soffits
  • Heavy gauge gutters
  • Aluminum clad  or dual pane tempered windows
  • Fire resistant siding

From top to bottom, our clients can rest assured that our focus is and will continually be on the safety and life of their home. 

If you are interested in knowing more about how to address design concerns in living in a wild land area, I welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge with you through Borelli Architecture in Lake Tahoe.


Who's Hot in the World of Windows, Doors, Fire Pits and More

Lake Tahoe Architect James P. Borelli Shares Favorites For New Home Products.

Multi-slide patio doors or glass pivots? Fire pits with gas or fueled with e-NRG bioethanol? Italian glass, brass or re-purposed Wyoming wood?

Whether one chooses to build a home at Lake Tahoe or remodel a home in Truckee, California, or anywhere else in the world, there are endless decisions that need to be made when it comes to selecting the ‘accessories’ for one’s home.

As such, I’ve dedicated this month’s blog to some personal insight to help my clients at Borelli Architecture sift through some of the incredible new products that got my attention when I attended the very prestigious “Dwell on Design” design event in Los Angeles this past May.

(Note: If you are not familiar with Dwell, it’s an outstanding magazine with a slew of contributors that are champions of great design and pride themselves on indentifying and exploring design concepts that are idea-driven, modern and sensitive to social and physical surroundings.  I recommend this up-scale design publication to all of my clients.)

So what’s new and hot in the world of home windows, doors and more?  Here are some highlights of the companies and products that opened my eyes and that I will recommend to my clients who seek my company’s assistance for architectural design and custom interior design for their mountain or lake home in the near future.

Fleetwood Windows and Doors

Very cool clean, contemporary windows and doors. I especially admired their multi-slide patio doors and interesting glass pivot entry door units. I really liked the option of curved panels which I have made a point of remembering for my next modern home design that I am working on for a client in Incline Village, Nevada. I was impressed with the wide variety of standard colors – most of which will be ideal for a mountain home design.


Many of my clients to request designs that allow for maximum openness to the exterior of their Tahoe mountain home. NanaWall has some nice options that include large sliding and folding window walls with wood or aluminum frames with a very impressive selection of sizes and materials.

Brown and Jordan Ecosmart Fire

It is not uncommon for my clients who seek my advice on luxury vacation home design to request several design features that include outdoor and indoor fire places. From the fire pits and decorative accents to fire tables and build-in models, Brown Jordan Fires are my new favorite as an “eco-smart alternative” to traditional wood burning or gas outdoor fireplaces; they specialize in clean burning e-NRG bioethanol.

Centennial Woods

There’s no question that the subject of re-purposing is one of the hot topics in today’s architectural and design world; and with good reason.  Reclaimed wood can be the ideal pick for those who appreciate its purpose and position in home design.  Centennial Woods got my attention when they displayed a variety of new options for interior and exterior use.  My favorite was the snow fencing wood from Wyoming and the company’s ability to provide FSC Certified products for LEED points on LEED projects.

Raydoor Sliding Walls and Doors

If you like the sliding “barn door” look, I’d recommend Raydoor’s “BarnDoor” product that can offer an all natural or very contemporary look to a home or commercial business design. It’s a great design option for an interior sliding door that provides not only large openings, yet a wonderful design element.

Best Range Hoods

Whether one needs a hood for their personal or commercial range, Best Range Hoods is the place to start to pick and choose what I think are some of the classiest products on the market today.  Be it Italian inspired modern designs, brushed or polished stainless steel, black or white glass, powder coated and baked on color finishes – Best Range took the best prize for range hoods at the Dwell on Design convention.

In closing, it was a great experience to attend this annual show that is organized by Dwell magazine and the American Institute of Architects – within which I am an active member.  The association overflows with professionals like those on my team at Borelli Architecture and Design who are passionate about design and purposeful in their pursuit of their clients’ dreams.

So there’s my short list.  Happy shopping – and feel free to reach out any time for insight as to what’s hot and what’s not in the world of design for windows, doors, fire pits and more!



Two States Four Counties

Easy Steps to Securing a Building Permit in Lake Tahoe.

First, I must let you know that once you are a settled in to your new or remodeled home in Lake Tahoe, all of the logistics you had to go through to get a building permit at Lake Tahoe are well worth it.

To help you get settled into your own piece of paradise, I have created this list of easy steps to secure your building permit in Nevada or California within the Lake Tahoe region.

The Preparation

As a new land or home owner, you will become very familiar with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA).  This agency is mandated to protect the environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin. As such, they do require the completion of a TRPA site assessment application (that evaluates your existing coverage and verifies your building allowances), project application and eventually a final building permit from your county – to build your home or commercial property.

Before you dive into the permit process, we always recommend a complete review of the property which should include a comprehensive conversation with your Lake Tahoe architect about what your ideas and dreams may be for your new investment.

At Borelli Architecture, we support our clients with assistance in submitting clear and accurate applications to help streamline the critical steps within the permitting process with the TRPA and appropriate county building departments.  These services include:

  • Architectural Design Services
  • Site Planning
  • Space Planning
  • Permit Processing Assistance
  • TRPA Feasibility Studies
  • Contractor Selection and Bidding Assistance
  • Construction Administration Services

Two States. Four Counties.

Although you may not perceive your local county offices or government agencies to be a partner in your new investment, they are, in a way, a key player in the process.

Within the Lake Tahoe region there are two states and four counties – all of which have their own rules and regulations; each of which has additional requirements to secure your actual building permit.

  • Placer County, California
  • El Dorado County, California
  • Washoe County, Nevada
  • Douglas County, Nevada

In general, a property owner or their agent (i.e. architect) must submit a project application with a filing fee and the associated application materials.

This includes a complete set of architectural and structural drawings that include a site plan, floor plan, building elevations and other important drawings.

Once your plans have been reviewed and approved by your county building department, your permits will be issued and you can begin to build your home.

One Partner

For over 30 years, Borelli Architecture has been building our established relationships with key contacts in each county.  As such, we are prepared to help you through the numerous steps that are required within each jurisdiction.

If it seems a little overwhelming, please give us a call or send us an email or text.  In addition to our architectural design services, we are here to help you get ahead of the curve to secure your appropriate permits and build your new home or commercial property sooner rather than later.

Lavish Mountain Home Design or Classic Tahoe-Style Ski Chalet? What’s the Trend?


When one turns back time in mountain home design, one will find that the finer ski escapes of yesteryear were dictated by the availability of local materials, elevation and snowpack, and sheer help. Today is a new day where the design of the classic ski chalet homes are being replaced by some of the finest mountain home architectural designs in the world.

Small windows (to keep heat inside) and steep rooflines (to encourage the snow to slide) have been replaced with eco-friendly LEED design options that continue to test the challenges that come with high-elevation living; pair that with the extraordinary mountain home design elements that have turned the classic ski chalets into award-winning Legacy homes and only time will tell what we will see through this impressive evolution of architectural design.

Here in the bourgeoning Lake Tahoe and Truckee mountain resort region, this market in particular demands more than a home where the family can gather, sit around the fire, and share stories of yester-year. They are seeking an escape from their primary residence and looking for luxuries that make coming to destinations like Lahontan, Martis Camp and other distinguished mountain communities a once in a lifetime experience, every time.

In the next few months, I’ll be sharing various concepts of mountain home design. In the mean time, if you have any questions about how to build a mountain home within the ecologically sensitive region like Lake Tahoe or Truckee, California, feel free to reach out.