For years the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) had an excellent arrangement for Lake Tahoe Architects that allowed us to work directly with Washoe County on all the permitting processes through one individual in their office in Reno, NV.

During that timeframe, Borelli Architecture offered its clients a streamlined process through one main contact at the County office that helped us to move forward with our permit plans and construction in a timely manner.

Not so anymore.

At the end of last year, our representative at the Washoe County Building Department retired – and there are no plans right now to replace him.  We all hope there will be a new representative soon.

In the meantime, we are now required to present all the elements involved in designing and securing permits for home building projects in Lake Tahoe to two separate organizations which happen to be hours from each other.

And, although Washoe County is expeditious in their review, TRPA takes longer to review and process the materials – due to the load of permits that they officially must handle before any building is approved in the Basin.

Long story short: What used to take me a month, now requires a wait time of up to three months.

If you are even thinking about building a home, or diving into an extensive remodel of your home in Tahoe, contact me sooner than later.

For over 30 years, I have hand carried hundreds of blueprints and all the necessary paperwork to the local constituents to secure a permit, and I am still ready to do so for you.

TRPA Permitting, Feasibility Studies, All Part of our Services at Borelli Architecture.

As a Lake Tahoe architect, we enjoy working with our clients on the design of their dream home. In addition to these creative services, we also offer a turn-key operation that provides many additional services that are necessary when building or remodeling a home in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The list includes yet is not limited to:

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

Don’t wait. Let my team at Borelli Architecture in Truckee and Lake Tahoe expedite the design and permitting process in Lake Tahoe so we can get started on construction sooner than later.

Got questions? Contact me anytime.


James P. Borelli
Borelli Architecture
Truckee / Lake Tahoe


With the start of the spring season, it’s often a time to commence on the annual spring clean-up.  In my business, it’s also when the phone starts to ring from clients seeking my opinion as to whether remodeling a home can be a good investment. With that in mind, I thought I would use this blog to provide some of my personal insight, and few good reasons for you to ponder, about the subject at hand.

1) Remolding a home is an adventure that can be very rewarding. 

Be it big or small, investing in a remodel of your home in Truckee or Lake Tahoe, or just a few rooms, can not only improve the value of your residence yet can result in many benefits that you will enjoy for years to come.  Always wanted a bigger kitchen?  How about a great room?  Or maybe the kids have flown the coop, and it’s time for a real Master Bedroom – complete with spa and lots of closets.  These are the first things you will want to think about long before you start the remodeling process.

2) Creature comforts can add value – and security – especially to older homes.

Here in the Lake Tahoe region, there are many homes that were built over 30 years ago.  Many still have single pane windows, drafty sliding doors, small rooms and dark walls.  No matter what the size of the remodel, we always suggest installing windows and doors that are not only up to code, yet are energy efficient, sturdier, and larger to let in the light and open up to welcome in that fresh, crisp, High Sierra air.

3)  “Face Lifts” for the exterior are always suggested. And your neighbors will appreciate your efforts.

There’s no question that your home is a direct reflection of you and your family.  Certainly,a paint job could be in order, and a new roof is common in our mountain region…yet we advise our clients to look deeper into the future.  Does your home fit the neighborhood? Does it have a ‘welcoming’ appeal?  At some point you probably are going to sell your home so take the time to do your research as to the best options for an exterior home remodel.  With our architectural consultation services in Lake Tahoe and Truckee, we always suggest switching to low maintenance exterior products as part of the process.

 4) Make it fit YOUR lifestyle. 

An “ideal” home should fit your lifestyle – and if you have owned your home for a while, that may have changed.  Here in the High Sierra, some of the most popular items that we include in our architectural designs of mountain homes in Truckee and Lake Tahoe are mud rooms, great rooms, spa and fitness centers, expanded patios complete with outdoor kitchens, and expansive windows that open into the great outdoors.

5) Expand your home’s footprint, if you can.

Ah, the ol’ ‘impervious coverage’ question.  Development at Lake Tahoe includes a very sophisticated review by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.  Within their rules and regulations, there is always an evaluation of how much coverage your property is allowed – which is determined either through a TRPA Site Assessment or an Individual Parcel Evaluation System score (IPES).  Not sure about your coverage allowance?  Let us help you out.  Borelli Architecture offers a variety of other planning and permitting services outside of our design capabilities that include the following:

  • Site Planning
  • Space Planning
  • Permit Processing Assistance
  • TRPA Feasibility Studies
  • Contractor Selection
  • Bidding Assistance

BONUS POINT:  Act now, not later.

With all the important regulation that comes with building and remodeling homes in our environmentally-sensitive region, there is a tremendous amount of planning and permitting that needs to be addressed long before we embark on a remodel of your home.

Now is the time to take action.  And we’d be happy to help you sort out the best options for you and your family.  Want to see some examples of remodeled homes in Tahoe? Take a look at my website and then feel free to contact me sooner than later  as remodeling a home can be both enjoyable and fruitful when it’s all said and done.


James P. Borelli

Borelli Architecture
Truckee / Lake Tahoe
775 831 3060


Why Top Architects Use BIM “Building Information Modeling” Videos

It seems like every time I turn around I am learning about the latest technology – in almost every industry.  It certainly is no longer the “wave of the future,”  yet is indeed what one needs to pay attention to if they are going to succeed in today’s ever-changing world.

Today I am going to showcase a dynamic new tool and a tremendous asset to my architectural business in Lake Tahoe and Truckee.

In short, it’s called “BIM.”  The longer explanation is “Building Information Modeling” – or Video Models that is used not only in my world, yet it has become a ‘must-have’ for engineers, construction firms, and other industries that appreciate the ability to ‘see the future’ before their own eyes.

See Two Good Examples of Video Modeling

On my Borelli Architecture website, you can see two specific examples of Video Modeling that I have offered and successfully used to help my clients have a much clearer picture of what their investment in my architectural services in Truckee and Lake Tahoe have to offer.

The visual benefit is a given.  Other great assets that one receives when you can foresee the final product- albeit in a model format –  include increased understanding of the overall design, increased quality control, and productivity, and even cost control and overall predictions for time-management and final construction deadlines.

What the Experts Say …

AutoDesk is of the most reputable software companies in the technology busienss.  On their website, they nailed it when they presented their opinion about the power of BIM:

“Technology is transforming the way that buildings and infrastructure are designed, constructed, and operated. And it’s helping to improve decision making and performance across the building and infrastructure lifecycle.”

Want to See Your Home in a Video Model?

I am so comfortable and confident that is tool is worth the time and expertise to produce that I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about its numerous benefits… not to mention that it’s just plain cool to be able to see one’s home spining around in various shapes and sizes!

I must say that we’ve come a long way since Lincoln Logs yet I sure wish I had kept my set!

Never hesitate to call me for advice or insight.  I love what I do and would be honored to share my insight with you.


James P. Borelli

Borelli Architecture
Truckee / Lake Tahoe
775 831 3060



Over the past few months I have shared information about the numerous awards that the Truckee / Tahoe region is receiving for its overall appeal.  Within those award assessments, the organizations evaluated the benefits that one receives when living in a small town community that overflows with the arts, culture, and outdoor adventure that comes naturally to those who have mountain homes in Truckee, and the Lake Tahoe region.

Although all of the accolades are worthy, some believe the national acclaim may be too much, or not.

Just one look at the recent (and plentiful) articles about the THREE, yes THREE, grocery store franchises that have their eyes on Truckee and one needs to ask. “Just how many grocery  markets does one need to survive in the mountains?” And how do they appropriately “fit in” to the charm that has led to all of the recent awards.

The Sacramento-based Raley’s food chain just released their plans to build at “Soaring Ranch” – near the Truckee Tahoe Airport, that includes a ‘quintesential mountain design’ that may in fact be appropriate for the approved location.

According to a recent article ,”Raley’s is planning their Truckee endeavor to become their flagship store for the entire corporation throughout the country.”  It further noted that the archictural design and overall project is slated to be “an authentic local center where people can live, work, and shop with a variety of different stores, restaurants, and public art.”

Raley’s “Soaring Ranch’ Project Highlights: 

  • 40,000 sf grocery store with attached 12,000 sf of co-anchor retail and a 7,000 sf freestanding retail building (note that subsequent phases are contemplated with 65,000 sf of retail in four buildings); as part of the application, the developer is proposed to name the project “Soaring Ranch.”
  • 224 parking spaces
  • Infrastructure improvements include widening the Highway 267/Brockway Road/Soaring Way intersection to include right and left turn lanes, landscaping, sidewalks and construction of multi-use paved trails (Class I):
    • Connecting SR 267 along the entire property frontage (Soaring Way to Hampton Inn) with a connection to the Soaring Way/Joerger Drive intersection.
    • Connecting Soaring Way to the Riverview Sports Park on Joerger Drive (note that any future development within the “Soaring Ranch” development on the east side of SR 267 would be required to build Class I trails along both sides of Brockway Road [connecting SR 267 to the Martis Valley Road intersection] and a Class I trail connection to the Martis Valley Trail parallel to Hope Court and west of SR 267).

We all know that  there are many benefits that come with expansion and development – when done right. For now, the jury is out.  You can follow this story, and other business news as to what is underway in Truckee, CA through this link.  

Or, you can just give me a call or send me an email.  I’m in the process of reviewing architecural home designs in Northstar and Martis Camp and always hear about what’s new and forthcoming in a town that is certainly on the radar of many distinguished developers… and with good reason.

James P. Borelli

Borelli Architecture
Truckee / Lake Tahoe
775 831 3060






I know, my blogs are usually focused on architectural designs for homes in Lake Tahoe and Truckee, yet it’s America – where we have freedom of speech, so here we go.

Today we are half-way through the Winter Olympics, and if I have it right, we have seen every ‘clothing’ design that was destined to be profiled on the Podium, or not, during the Winter Games.

With my innate creative mind-set, I just had to know more about all the Stars and Stripes that seem to be designed in a wide variety of angles and colors this year for our Olympic athletes.  Through investigation on our world-wide-web, I found out that the company behind the uniform branding for Team USA is the famed Polo Ralph Loren.

According to David Loren, Ralph’s son and chief innovation officer:

“The uniform celebrates the American spirit, with iconic pieces updated with modern details and technical fabrications.”

But wait, there’s more!  Did you know that the parka and classically-designed “bomber” jackets are complete with battery-powered heating systems that will keep our heroes happy and warm in sub-zero temps for up to 11 hours?  Where were they when I was digging out my home in Incline Village, NV during Snowmaggeden of 2017?

Sure could have used one of those last year!  Although I do love to ski as much as I can, don’t expect to see me in an Olympics uniform anytime soon.

However, I will continue to root for Team USA as they continue to push the limits of their life on behalf of all of us in America.

Enjoy what is left of the games!  And if you need any assistance with mountain or lakefront home design in Truckee or Lake Tahoe I’d be happy to be your hero. You can see some of my own designs, right here.

See you on the slopes!

James P. Borelli
Call 775 831 3060 


As a company that assists our clients with a variety of design and building services in Lake Tahoe and Truckee, we’re always watching for changes and updates to the very complicated permitting process that comes with building or remodeling a home in Tahoe or Truckee. 

With that said, we thought we’d dedicate this blog to some important news that was just announced by the Tahoe Regional Planning AgencyThey announced some changes within its plan review and permitting process.  Here’s a short synopsis from our favorite regional newspaper MOONSHINE INK:

Washoe County, TRPA Permitting Process Changes

Washoe County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) announced a change in the permitting process for projects in the Washoe County portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin on Dec. 15. Previously, Washoe County accepted and reviewed permit applications on behalf of TRPA.

Now, projects in Washoe County must be submitted to TRPA planners. The TRPA will have a planner available one day a week at Washoe County’s Incline Community Center to accept and review project applications.

The projects must meet conformance with TRPA regulations that apply to residential additions and modifications, new construction of single-family and multi-family residential structures, commercial projects, and qualified-exempt residential activities.

Building a Home in Tahoe or Truckee in the Near Future?  We’re Here to Help.

For over 30 years, my company has offered a variety of turn-key services to our clients throughout the High Sierra. With all the technicalities that come with building a home or commercial building, we feel it is our responsibility to partner with our clients as their ‘liaison’ to the many agencies that are involved in the process.

Highlights of our services include:

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

If you have any questions about any of the permitting processes in Tahoe, feel free to give me a call. I always enjoy the opportunity to share our knowledge, and shed your stress, at any time.

James P. Borelli
Founder, Borelli Architecture
775 831 3060 or visit our Contact page, right here. 

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? Truckee / Tahoe Real Estate Shows Promising 2018


With a new year just around the corner, it’s always a good thing as a Truckee and Lake Tahoe architect to know what the future holds; not just for our own well-being yet for our clients throughout the West.

This past week, Tahoe Luxury Properties posted a blog about recent Lake Tahoe and Truckee real estate statistics and included the graphic noted above.   I must say that the information is a good way to end a year that started with one of the most significant snowfall records in history which led to a summer filled with endless fun on the lakes and streams, and now ends with stats that show a promising future for real estate in the Truckee and Lake Tahoe region.

All combined, it seems that the world continues to hear about all the benefits that come with living the good life in and around the High Sierra.

Growth in the number of Q4 transactions can be attributed to the strong economy, rising equity markets, and the popularity of Tahoe as a second home destination, highlighted by a strong past winter and a summer of perfect weather.”

It’s always interesting to hear the local’s insight about all the good things that are happening throughout the Reno/Lake Tahoe region.  Got some news of your own about real estate predictions for 2018? I’m all ears …

Just give me a call at 775 831 3060 or visit our Contact page, right here.

Finally, on behalf of the Borelli Architecture family, have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and white and wonderful New Year to come!

James P. Borelli


Last month I posted an article about some of the important features one needs to consider when designing and building a home in mountain environments in and around the Lake Tahoe and Truckee regions.

Today, we are taking a look at what homeowners should do to prepare for the forthcoming season.  With local ski resorts vying for the bragging rights to be the ‘first to open,’ that can only mean that winter is just around the corner.  And as there are indeed inches of snow covering the higher peaks and slopes around the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region, this means we all better take note and get our homes prepared for the colder months ahead.

To help you stay ahead of whatever Mother Nature has in mind, here’s a simple list of “Top 10 Tips to Prepare Your Home For the Winter” to help you get ready for perhaps another Snowmaggeden … or maybe just another average winter.

  1. Have your Furnace Inspected.  There are several reputable HVAC professionals throughout Lake Tahoe and Truckee.  Get on their schedule nowpotentiallyso they have time to inspect your furnace, clean the ducts, and change the filters.
  2. Prepare the Fireplace. If you have a wood burning stove and are comfortable cleaning your chimney from top to bottom by yourself, great; be careful.  If not, hire a professional sooner than later.  Their services should include cleaning the lining of your chimney of creosote build-up, soot, and other potentially hazardous debris.  Some may also check for leaks, broken brick, and such.
  3. Stack Wood. My motto: ‘You can never have enough dry wood and kindling.”  Another rule of thumb: “Never stack your wood right next to your house.”
  4. Protect Your Landscaping Investments. If you have a lawn, give it a good mow for one last time and rake up any larger piles of leaves.  We always wrap our larger bushes with green stretch tape to protect them from heavy snow loads.
  5. Inspect Your Gutters and Downspouts:  Although it’s always a good practice to keep your gutters and downspouts clear of debris, now is the best time to be sure this task is off your ‘to do’ list.  Clean out your gutters and use a hose to spray the downspouts to ensure the pending rain and snowmelt have a clear path to drain off your roof.
  6. Drain The Sprinkler System. Frozen pipes are no fun. Be sure to drain your sprinkler system and drain any hoses and store them out of the winter elements for the winter.
  7. Leave the Heat On. If you plan to be out of town for an extended period of time, we turn our heat to 55 to prevent any pipes freezing in the house; you should too.
  8. Check your home’s foundations and crawlways. When you live in the mountains, you can fully expect to see mice and even raccoons trying to call your home ‘their home’ as the temps drop.  You can prevent intruders with a few simple tasks:  rake away and remove any edible vegetation from around your foundations, seal up any holes or potential entry points and secure your crawlspace entrances.
  9. Recharge your Smoke Detectors. We’ll soon be told to turn our clocks back for the fall and winter months – and with that comes additional media reminders to replace the batteries in our smoke detectors.  If you have a carbon monoxide detector, that should be checked as well.
  10. Prepare an Emergency Kit. Last winter was one great reminder about how important a generator, candles, and extra emergency supplies can be when one of those classic High Sierra storms come to visit.  Find a good, easily accessible spot in your home to have all the supplies you think you may need so you’ll be prepared for the worst – or perhaps if you’re a fan of the great outdoors, prepared for another super snowpack to come.

On behalf of the entire team at Borelli Architecture, we’re here to help our neighbors enjoy every benefit that comes with living a good life in the mountains.  From architectural tips on mountain home design, to interior design ideas as well, we enjoy every opportunity to share our experience and personal insight.  Feel free to reach out at any time.

Enjoy what is left of the beautiful fall season … it will be snowing before we know it!

James P. Borelli
Call 775 831 3060 or visit our Contact page, right here


They Have Been Named Two of the “Top 10” Mountain Towns in America!

While searching the web for information about one of my favorite mountain towns I found a great article about the community where I have designed numerous homes for year-round residents and vacation home owners.  And to my delight, Truckee, CA, has taken a top prize as one of the Top Mountain Towns in America as rated by Trillist.com.

The article noted that Thrillist goes through quite the process to pick its Top Ten every year.  Here’s what they said:

“It’s about exceptional towns that just happen to be located on or around the hills. And while, sure, narrowing down an endless number of mountain towns in a country with myriad mountain ranges was no easy task, we took into account scenery, activities, mountain “feel,” and the bar/restaurant scene to determine the nine spots that clearly tower above the rest.”

Although the Top 10 included mountain towns that I am very familiar with, I was intrigued by a few of the others that were listed that are now a ‘must visit’ whenever time may allow in the not so distant future:  Homer, AK is at the top!

We’ll send along our congratulations now to all who made the list!  And hey, maybe they need an architect that specializes in designing custom mountain homes  within their own cool town.

  • Taos, NM
  • Homer AK
  • Lake Placid, NY
  • Telluride, CO
  • Bend OR
  • Truckee, CA
  • Coeur d’Alene, ID
  • Eureka Springs, AR
  • Asheville, NC

Got your own favorite mountain town that I should visit?  Let me know!

James P. Borelli
Call 775 831 3060 or visit our Contact page, right here


As I am in the business of designing mountain homes, ski chalets and lakefront estates in and around Truckee and Lake Tahoe, I am always watching the trends for what’s hot and what’s not.

Just this past week, our local paper, SIERRA SUN, had an interesting story about “Tiny Homes” and how they may be the answer to the drastic need for short term ski resort employee housing.  According to the article, SkiCo (of Vail Resorts) is testing the idea of getting into the business of providing Tiny Homes for their seasonal employees “It’s not for everybody. And it’s not for long,” noted project manager Phillip Jefferys who further commented it might be the solution for short term seasonal rentals.

With seasonal housing a continued challenge throughout the High Sierra, and certainly in other key ski resort communities, I think the concept has a good future.

Think I’ll go take a tour to see what my own architectural company in Lake Tahoe and Truckee might want to fabricate for what apparently may be replacing the small little ski chalets of yesteryear.  They were cool in their day, too!

Got your own ideas?  Contact me at any time. I’d love to hear your insight.

James P. Borelli
Call 775 831 3060 or visit our Contact page, right here.