To Remodel or Not? What’s the Best Investment?

Architect firms at Lake Tahoe

Architect firms at Lake Tahoe

For over 30 years, our architect firm in Lake Tahoe and Truckee has shared our advice about whether one should invest in remodeling their homes, or not.  Be it a full-time residence or a vacation home, the answer lies within the owner’s vision of the property’s future.  If one has plans to continue to enjoy the endless playground that comes with living and working in the Sierra, then a remodel may be the perfect next step to upgrading the home for future generations to enjoy.

If one is thinking about selling the home, we like to do a thorough walk-through to define what rooms make sense to remodel to ensure the owners get a good return on their investment.

At Borelli Architecture in Incline Village and throughout Washoe County, we have provided our clients with many options for remodeling their homes at the Lake.

To give you some ideas as to what our capabilities may be for your home, take a look at these recent remodeling projects:

733 Dee Court
Incline Village, Nevada

The scope of this interior remodel project included opening up the kitchen area to the living area by removing the existing walls between the kitchen and living area and between the kitchen and dining area and also by removing the existing freestanding fireplace. The dining area was converted to a bar area, and the result is an open great room/kitchen area with much-improved flow and a feeling of spaciousness. The completely remodeled kitchen now has plenty of space, all new appliances and finishes, and two large islands. A new fireplace was relocated to a large entertainment wall, and new built-in cabinets were added to both sides.

Crystal Shores West #52
Incline Village, Nevada

This 1,810 square-foot Incline Village lakefront condominium was completely remodeled, adding a lower floor bathroom and reconfiguring the master bathroom and guest bathroom. The kitchen was expanded and completely remodeled, and the living area received a new stone fireplace. Adding storage space was critical, and every inch was maximized to the greatest degree possible.

If you are interested in learning more about remodeling your home, and what the best options should be, I welcome the opportunity to share our professional advice with you.  Contact us at any time.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Top Tips to Stage Your Home to Entice a Winter Sale

How to stage your home during the holidays

How to stage your home during the holidays

Do pumpkin decor and the scent of maple candles enhance the opportunity for a quicker home sale during the holidays? Adding some holiday ambiance wouldn’t hurt according to those who know how to stage a home for a top sale during the winter months.

Although our architectural firm in Lake Tahoe does not specialize in advice on real estate, our clients reach out to us for lots of advice as it relates to their investment. And the subject at hand is actually fairly common.

So what helps to sell a home during the typically slower season for real estate sales?  According to the pros, added ambiance.

We asked our peers in the business to provide some top tips to stage a home for a successful sale in the wintertime, and here is what they said:

1) Place a wreath on the front door. The more natural it looks, the more inviting it will be.  Garland around the door is recommended as well to frame the entrance and set a welcoming visual.  The more ‘generic’ the better.  Stay away from glitz and glamour and too much color.

2) At the entry, if you have a small table available, fresh flowers are always a plus.  A seasonal dried arrangement works, too.

3) Keep the mountain theme as one enters your home.  Think: pinecones in a basket, dried seasonal leaves and pine boughs, and candles to light the way.

4) Open all the curtains to showcase your home’s natural setting (and be sure the windows are sparkling clean).

5) If you have rugs throughout the home, the cozier, the better for this time of the year.

6) We mentioned candles before, and we’ll mention them again.  With winter weather underway, anything you can do to accentuate a warm and welcoming environment will be a bonus.  From the mantels to the hallways and bathrooms as well.

7) Set the table as if your family was arriving for a holiday dinner.  Consider a centerpiece of natural greenery that brings the outdoors in.

8) Don’t limit your decor to the dining room table.  If you have a buffet, table near the couch, or end tables that bring the living room all together, a little holiday decor would do well to set the tone of a  cozy and comfortable home sweet home.

If you are interested in learning more tips on how to stage a home for a successful sale, my wife, Kelly is the founder of Kelly Borelli Interiors and she and I welcome the opportunity to share our seasoned advice with you.  Contact us at any time.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Incline Village Curbside Chipping, Pine Needle Pickup, Deadlines Approaching

Tree Chipping Services in Lake Tahoe

Tree Chipping Services in Lake Tahoe

During the year, our team at Borelli Architecture in Incline Village likes to provide information about living in the mountains and tips to keep your home safe in your natural surroundings. During the fall season, Kelly and I make it a point to clean up our yard and prepare for the winter months to come.

Another bonus of living in the high-elevation wrapped within a forest setting is the free services we receive from various local agencies and organizations.

Read on to see the details about Incline Village Waste Management’s Yard Waste pick-up service and the North Lake Tahoe Protection District’s curbside chipping services.

Next, get your yard and piles in order.

  • Clean up all the fallen leaves and perhaps limbs or tree debris accumulated over the summer months.
  • Pine needles and clean yard waste should be placed in large trash bags; place your Waste Management stickers on each load and put them on the curb for pick-up (now through October 28). If you did not get your stickers from Waste Management, or have more questions, see all the details about Incline’s Yard Waste Management Program right here. 

Next, take advantage of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District FREE curbside chipping service if you have branches too big for your regular trash containers. Sign up on this form to make a request.

Then, prepare your curbside piles:

  • All branches The branch diameter cannot exceed 6 inches.
  • The pile must not contain stumps, roots, garbage, nails, lumber, or pine cones.
  • The pile must not exceed 30 feet in length, 6 feet in height, and 6 feet in width.

Repurpose the chips:

Once the chipping has been completed, they will be left right where you left your pile and are ideal for erosion control or natural landscaping. Do note that WHERE you place the clipping is essential as well. The NLTFPD suggests that you keep the chippings AT LEAST five feet away from your home or any structure.

Information on their website also noted that if you spread the chips within 30 feet of a structure, you should be sure they are separated by ‘noncombustible’ areas like rock, pathways, driveways, or dirt.

After you do all the hard work, take time to enjoy the fall season. It will be snowing before you know it!

We hope this information helps you and your family prepare and plan for the winter months. For more tips, visit the blog we posted last fall about Home Winter Preparation Tips. And, if you ever need more insight into what it is like to live in the mountains or need a professional architect in Lake Tahoe to help build your mountain, lakefront, or golf resort home at Lake Tahoe, feel free to reach out at any time.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

What is a Site Plan and Why Do You Need One?

Lakefront Home Designs

When you live in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, you have an innate ability to appreciate your surroundings and protect them as best as you can.  When working with our clients, we offer professional Site Plan services that enhance your property’s setting while abiding by the strict environmental regulations set by the counties around the Lake and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency – for all the right reasons.

We employ a proactive approach regarding communications with both regulatory officials and interested stakeholders in order to build consensus surrounding a project’s design and objectives. Applying our collective talents and experience, Borelli Architecture in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, is here to design your dream home while ensuring we protect the environment that surrounds your investment.

When you work with the team at Borelli Architecture in Lake Tahoe and Carson City, Nevada, you will receive a visual presentation of your property that includes:

  • location of your home
  • location of other buildings (guest house, garden sheds)
  • terraces
  • extended features (outdoor kitchen, firepit)
  • playground

When completed, you will have a much better visual of the size and scale of your home as it relates to its orientation on your property.

Your site plan may be presented in different formats.

2D Site Plan  This is usually a simple overview that may be black and white or color coded.  It’s usually the first step in your home design which gives you an initial understanding of the layout of your home.

3D Site Plan  This option is more elaborate and includes a more defined full-color understanding of the structure of your home and its materials and colors, as well as some outdoor features (potential trees, etc.)

 3D Video Our team prefers this option and uses this technology to give our clients a much clearer understanding of your site plan, house plan, and environment in which it will be built.

For example, take a tour through our Borelli Architecture Video Models now.

If you have any questions at any time about our services to help you visualize your next home, please reach out at any time.

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

How to Secure Permits to Build a Home in Lake Tahoe? (Part One)

TRPA Permit

 

If you have recently purchased land or a home in the Lake Tahoe basin and have plans to either build a home or do an extensive remodel, our team at Borelli Architecture based in Incline Village Lake Tahoe is here to help you move forward in planning for your future.  Throughout the last 30 years, we have been working closely with the agencies and counties that fall within the Lake Tahoe Basin area and have strict policies that must be followed.

As a full-service architectural design firm, we certainly can assist in designing the home of your dreams.  In addition, we have solid relationships with the individuals who review and approve the many permits that it takes to finalize a home in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and outlying Carson City and Truckee regions as well.

Below you will find a list from the TRPA website that will provide you with an overview of the various applications and forms that may be required to complete, submit, and receive approval before and during the permitting, home building and renovation processes.

Take a look at this list below.

Then, check back into our News section at Borelli Architecture at the end of this month to learn more about the permitting process to build or remodel a home within the High Sierra.

Single Family Dwelling Application @

Single Family Dwelling Findings

BMP Retrofit Permit Application @

BMP Small Retrofit Plan@

Driveway/Parking Area Paving Application @

Grading Project Application @

Land Coverage Exemptions for Residential Improvements

Backup Generator Installation Guide 

Multi-Family Dwelling Application @

Multi-Family Dwelling Project Findings

Qualified Exempt Declaration @

Scenic Protection Information

Wood Heater Retrofit Statement Form @

Construction Schedule Extension @

Historic Resource Determination @

If you have any questions, at any time about building, designing, or securing permits for your new home, please reach out at any time.

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

The Value of Skilled Trade Workers

Trade Skills

Trade Skills

Over the past two years, the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region have experienced tremendous growth.  Whether the increase in population has evolved over all the new resort developments or second homeowners choosing to make their vacation house a prominent home, the end result has impacted the construction business dramatically.

At our architecture firm in Lake Tahoe and Truckee, we are seeing lots of new trends; some are good, some not so good.

The good news is that there is more revenue streaming into our local business.  Our hardware stores, lumber yards and concrete operations are running full steam ahead to keep pace with the demand.  On the flip side, the lack of skilled trade workers is slowing down the pace, dramatically.

Thus the theme of our blog today ~ “The Value of Skilled Trade Worker”

Throughout the Reno/Lake Tahoe region, there are several colleges that offer an impressive list of classes and degrees for skilled trade. For those seeking a first-time career, or looking for a change of pace, maybe it’s time to register for some summer or fall classes now.

You can make a great living, and fulfill a huge need right here in the Tahoe basin and surrounding Reno and Carson City regions.  The list is as impressive as the money that one makes when he or she is educated and certified in any of the trade skills noted below.

  • Electricians
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters
  • Backhoe and other construction equipment operators
  • Electrical repairmen
  • Riggers
  • Machinists
  • Tool and die makers
  • Welders
  • Carpenters
  • Forklift handlers, including large capacity forklifts
  • Tile and marble setters
  • Cement masons and finishers
  • Painters
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Structural iron and steelworkers
  • Plasterers
  • Crane and tower operators
  • Dump truck operators

The closest campus (which offers virtual classes, too) is Western Nevada College.  Within their Class Schedule, you can find a wide variety of trade-oriented classes.  In addition, if you prefer to work on your own, their list of business and marketing courses can complement your skills and services as a freelance trade specialist.

If you have more of a creative mindset, be sure to check out their classes in Drafting, Architecture, and Design.  All of which are ideal if you would rather design a home than building one from the ground, up.

Our entire team at Borelli Architecture firm in Nevada encourages you to take a good look at the value of a trade skill.  You can take it anywhere and put some money away to build your own home, too!

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Below the Blue Keeps Tahoe Clean … for You!

Lake Tahoe North Shore

Lake Tahoe North Shore

Throughout the great Lake Tahoe Basin, there are endless ways to enjoy the pristine waters that make our lake so famous.  But what about the Lake bottom?

Thanks to the efforts of “Below the Blue” the debris that flys off boats or are tossed into the lake does not exist like it used to.

This past week there was an excellent press release from the Tahoe Regional Planning agencies about “Below the Blue’s” efforts to clean up the lake, from its lakebed.  Here are some highlights that we thought you would enjoy reading today as posted on CarsonNow.com.

Monique Rydel-Fortner and Seth Jones have seen more of what lies underwater at Lake Tahoe than most. Unfortunately, that includes trash and lots of it — from drones, car batteries and sunken boats, to plate glass windows and enormous sheets of metal siding.

For more than a decade, the SCUBA divers and co-founders of the Tahoe-based nonprofit Below the Blue have removed more than 100,000 pounds of foreign objects from the Lake. Over countless dives, one source of submarine trash stands out as persistent but preventable — debris from shoreline building projects.

In cooperation with the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the underwater environmentalists are working to stop the illicit practice of using Lake Tahoe as a construction site dumpster.

As noted by the co-founder of Below the Blue, Seth Jones said: “Out of sight is not out of mind.”

And our architect firm in Lake Tahoe completely agrees.

Sure, we have probably dropped our sunglasses off a pier yet to see the junk that they collect on an annual basis is just makes you think: “What were they thinking?”

Unloaded any unwanted items into the Lake is not only ‘not right,” it’s illegal.  Steve Sweet, who is the Compliance Code Program Manager at TRPA said it best:

“Discarding material of any kind in Lake Tahoe is illegal and violates the high standard of environmental stewardship in this community. Strengthening the requirements for shoreline construction permits will eliminate these careless and environmentally harmful practices to better protect Lake Tahoe.”

With Earth Day around the corner, we encourage you all to get involved in the variety of initiatives underway to keep Tahoe blue this year, and in years to come.   Click into South Tahoe Earth Day to learn more about where and when you can chip in to help in a small or significant way.

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

New TRPA Forestry Efforts Give Hope to Healthier Habitats to Come

Hiking in Lake Tahoe

Hiking in Lake Tahoe

With memories of a summer filled with smokey skies and raging fires, residents throughout Lake Tahoe are fully-focused on efforts to keep summers like last year in the past and never to return.

Recently, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPS) Governing Board approved new policies to expedite forest revitalization programs throughout the High Sierra.  In a recent press release, they announced their plans – with the most aggressive change focusing on the change in policies about ‘ground-based’ mechanical equipment (bulldozers, etc.).  As the story noted:

The decision expands the areas where ground-based mechanical equipment can be used on steep slopes. The new policy will promote forest and ecosystem resilience to disturbances such as climate change, the agency said today.

Steep terrain can be more difficult and resource-intensive for land managers to reduce hazardous forest fuels. Prior to the update, Lake Tahoe agencies could use ground-based mechanical equipment on slopes up to a 30 percent gradient, while work on steeper slopes was limited to hand crews, pile burning, and aerial logging to protect water quality from potential erosion.

TRPA Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta said, “The Caldor Fire and the surge of megafires in the region are clear directives for us to improve our forest health policies to better protect communities and the environment from wildfire. TRPA is committed to advancing science-based practices that protect the lake and bolster our resilience to ever-growing wildfire threats, especially given the need for fuels reduction work in untreated areas narrowly missed by the Caldor Fire.”

In previous years, in fact in decards, machinery was not allowed on ANY slope over 30%.  This long-standing directive dates back to our own experience here in Incline Village when the former Ski Incline transformed its resort and doubled its terrain back in 1987.  During that year, the expansion (now known as Diamond Peak) was literally built by hand.  And for those of you who have skied the upper mountain, you can only imagine how the crews had to dig the holes for the lift towers, remove vegetation, and build structures at the top of the Peak.

The story adds another visual to the challenge at hand:

The policy change will facilitate additional forest health projects on steeper slopes. Approximately 61,000 acres in the Tahoe Basin have slopes from 30 to 50 percent, and nearly half of that area is in wildland-urban interface defense and threat zones near communities where hand crews continue to work. Additionally, post-fire assessments of the Caldor Fire show that steeper slopes tended to burn at higher severity than other areas.

“This is a game-changer for fuels reduction in the basin,” Chief Scott Lindgren of Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District said. “Hilly terrain is a significant portion of the Tahoe Basin and with the right kind of equipment, we can do quality fuel reduction work and protect the environment at the same time.”

Our team at Borelli Architecture applauds the TRPA and all who are focused on a healthier, safer, future for the entire region.  If you are interested in learning more about their year-round efforts to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, contact Jeff Cowen, Public Information Officer, at (775) 589-5278 or jcowen@trpa.gov.

If you would like a personal insight about the TRPA, securing building permits in Tahoe, and other key initiatives that are key to starting to build a home in the Tahoe basin Feel free to reach out to our architect firm in Lake Tahoe, Carson City, and Reno region.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

 

How To Shovel Snow From Your Roof?

How to shovel snow from a roof?

With record snowfall breaking all the records for December in Lake Tahoe, our architect firm in Truckee and Lake Tahoe is getting calls about snow removal … from the roof.  Although we certainly know all about designing mountain homes that meet the structural requirements for significant snowfall like we are experienceing today, when it come to the question about how to remove snow from the rooftops, we refer our clients to professionals who know how to safely get the job done.

To help you start your own research on the subject, we found an excellent article posted on State Farm Insurance’s website.

Here are the highlights of the story posed by the question “How do you know if you have too much snow on the roof?”

One cubic foot of fluffy, dry snow weighs about three pounds. The same amount of dense, wet snow can weigh as much as 21 pounds. While most roofs are built to withstand more than that, your roof may be under too much pressure if you see these signs:

  • Visible sagging along the roofline
  • Cracks in the ceiling or on the walls
  • Popping or creaking noises
  • Difficult-to-open doors and windows

As it melts excess snow can also lead to ice dams — melting snow refreezes and can damage your home’s interior under the eave line.

How to safely clear your roof

Keep the following in mind:

  • Hire a professional. A person who does this work regularly should know the best techniques and likely be insured.
  • Never work alone. Always have someone with you in case you slip or have an emergency.
  • Clear the area. The ladder up to your roof should be positioned on solid ground. Also, make sure the rungs are clear of ice and snow before you climb.
  • Secure yourself. If possible, use a strap or belt to anchor yourself to something strong, like a chimney.
  • Avoid shingle damage. Stay away from picks, hammers, or other sharp tools to clear snow and ice.
  • Use the right tools. If you have a one-story or flat-roofed house, invest in a snow rake. These long-handled tools with plastic blades can help you gently pull snow from the edge of the roof line.

Inasmuch as this is a good recap of how to get the job done, our team at Borelli Architecture suggests you seek professionals to get the job done.  Roofing companies and possibly professional tree removal companies would be a good place to start.  Here’s a link to the Better Business Bureau’s recommendations. 

In the meantime, if you want more details about how to build a structurally sound home in the mountains, feel free to reach out at any time.

Happy New Year!

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Top Tips for the Perfect Workspace and Environment

Trends in workplace design

Trends in workplace design by Borelli Architecture

Throughout the year, we like to keep our clients up to date on business and architectural design trends.  And this news posting is yet another opportunity to share a business story that was recently posted in the Reno Gazette Journal re: American’s could be working from home until spring of 2022.

Above you will see a home that our architecture firm in Lake Tahoe is working on as we speak.  You will see that within this design, we have included some key features to keep the home/work environment light, bright, and efficient as well.

Our favorite part of this particular ‘workspace design’ includes a porch and a large sliding glass door that offers some spectacular lake views. In addition to the desk component, you will see that we have added ‘room to relax,” a good sound system, and plenty of storage to keep the area fresh and tidy.  All of which are assets that came to play within the RGJ story.

I’ll now share some of their insight (see information in italics) about workplace statistics and a few tips on how to keep the ‘art of working at home’ working for you in 2022.

How long will the ‘work from home’ directive last? 

When the coronavirus outbreak first erupted and workers were told to pack up their desks and prepare to do their jobs from home, many companies assumed they’d uphold that arrangement for a handful of weeks. Back then, no one could’ve predicted that 18 months later, a large chunk of the U.S. workforce would still be working remotely.  Earlier this summer, big-name companies started firming up plans to have staff members return to office buildings – some on a partial basis, and some on a full-time basis. But then, the delta variant hit, and since then, those same companies have had to walk back their plans and postpone their reopenings.

Facebook, for example, is delaying its office return until January of 2022. Apple initially postponed its reopening to October but has since moved it back even further to match Facebook’s timeline. And now, it’s looking like remote work easily has the potential to last two solid years.

Tips to  ‘feel right at home’ while working at home

Give yourself a break.  We have found that our team can get so focused on designing mountain homes that we forget to breathe.  As such, ew now set alarms every half hour to remind ourselves to stop and smell the roses – so to speak.  It never ceases to amaze me how a short break can help one’s mind regroup.

Save some ‘body’ time.  Within our architect design firm, we work with several of the region’s finer new communities.  And many times were are on site.  During that time, we make time to get out and take a short walk in between meetings.  Be it on the links at Clear Creek Development in Carson City or throughout the beautiful neighborhood of St. James’ Place in Reno, NV, there’s always an excellent opportunity to stretch the legs and take in the mountain scenery.

Schedule an actual lunch break.  Back in the day, when we worked in our office, there was always someone talking about where they would go for lunch.  Today, it’s a bit different as our kitchen is steps from our interior design firm and architect company in Nevada.

Get comfy, yet not too comfy.  Article after article that we read about tips for the perfect workspace and environment note that wearing sweats and t-shirts may be comfortable, they apparently have a way of making humans too lazy.  One article actually noted that the best thing to wear is pants with a tight waistband. It reminds us to keep away from the tempting snacks and daily pizza routine.

Top tips for an ideal workspace design.

Above you will see a home that our architecture firm in Lake Tahoe is working on as we speak.  You will see that within this design, we have includes some key features to keep the home/work environment light, bright, and efficient as well.

Our favorite part of this particular ‘workspace design’ includes a porch and a large sliding glass door that offers some spectacular lake views. In addition to the desk component, you will see that we have added ‘room to relax,” a good sound system, and plenty of storage to keep the area fresh and tidy.

If you have been working from home and feel like it’s time to remodel your office, or other spaces throughout your home, our team at Borelli Architecture would be happy to share some of the ideas that we have already implemented in properties throughout Incline Village, Truckee, Lake Tahoe, and the greater Reno/Carson City region.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060