(Image courtesy of

With summer just around the corner, real estate offices throughout the Truckee and Lake Tahoe region are gearing up for what may be one of the busiest summer sales seasons in a long time.  And as an architect who designs and remodels homes in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee area, that’s good news for us as well.

 Home Values Soar on Tahoe’s North Shore/Nevada

Just this past month, we received a recap of the Q1 reports and the results were impressive.  No matter what side of the lake one seeks to buy or sell a home, the market continues show great promise for a good real estate sales year ahead.

Most impressive are the results noted about Lake Tahoe’s Nevada side where sales volume increased by 45%( year-to-year) and the median price increased by 25%.  Authorities in the business attribute the state’s tax-friendly offerings and note that a significant number of new residents are flocking from California to enjoy Nevada’s many benefits.

Key Highlights from Lake Tahoe Real Estate Q1 Report

  • Luxury home sales account for 33% of all sales in 2018
  • Sales of luxury homes are up 40% over last year
  • Total dollar volume is up 18% over 2017
  • Homes are selling 7% faster than in past years

Complete Q1 Report Available Right Here

To keep you posted on all the recent real estate trends, we’ve included this link to the Tahoe Sierra Board of REALTORS.

Remodeling or Designing a New Home in Tahoe Requires Local Insight

If you have any interest in knowing more about the market, especially if you are looking into investing in a property that needs a significant remodel (which are often the best values) feel free to reach out to our architecture firm in Incline Village, NV. 

We have been advising clients about the numerous Washoe County building regulations, TRPA permits, and the mandatory “Best Management Practices”  (BMP’s) that are all an integral part of designing and remodeling homes in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Got questions? Contact me anytime.


James P. Borelli
Borelli Architecture
Truckee / Lake Tahoe





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



They did it, again.  And with good reason.

For those of you who follow my Blog you have seen a variety of articles about  great places to live in and around the mountain region in which I work and play.  Well my friends, Truckee, CA  (and new to the list- Reno, NV) have recently received more top accolades – and this time it’s from the prestigious SUNSET magazine.

In a recent issue, they explored the West to find their picks on “game-changing” communities; defining that title as a place where innovation is hot, education is a top priority, and getting back to nature is second nature in these communities.  They concluded the characterization with an explanation that their top picks offered environments where one can “start all over again with a pioneering determination … these are the communities the exemplify ‘Western Can-Do”.

As an architect who has had the opportunity to design an exceptional variety of homes for folks who do ‘seek the good life”, I’ll have to concur with SUNSET.  The personalities that make up our community, and the assets that come with living in and around the High Sierra, are ‘game changers’ in every sense of the definition.

SUNSET said it best:

“As gateway to Tahoe’s north shore, Truckee needs no introduction to skiers, hikers, bikers, or paddlers. But with maker spaces offering workshops in textiles, weaving, and painting, it’s also gaining some cultural cred.

With its small town feel (the population was recently recorded at 16,391) and big awards piling up every year, it’s no wonder why residents from all over the West are choosing Truckee, CA as their new “home sweet home.”

Thinking about moving to Truckee? I just completed a mountain home design in Northstar (you can see it here) and would be happy to share my insight about the process that comes with building homes in the sensitive environment of the High Sierra.


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


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


With the holiday season upon us, I have been thinking about what lovely wine I will be bringing to the neighbors this year.  And with wine on my mind, I happended to  come  across an article about a family who wanted to incorporate a wine cellar into their new four-story vacation home in Truckee, CA.

Leave it to those who live a good life to continue the quest for the best!

As one who has invested my whole career in designing estates and mountain homes in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee regions, the story mirrors many of my own clients’ quests to have the best of all worlds.  And why shouldn’t they?  As the classic ad slogan of Smith Barney once noted “They EARNED it.”

There are many factors to take into consideration before one can creatively start to think about incorporating this fine asset into any home.  Among the list is overall size, capacity, climate, access, location, and for those who sip only the finest of the vine:  security.

This particular wine cellar had its challenges: according to the story “…  it took more than a month for the excavation crew to dig down below the home’s foundation walls in order to make the space tall enough to stand in. Crews carried out dirt and rock by hand, in buckets, up 82 steps to the road above where it could be hauled off.”

The story finished with a visual that is just as important as the overall design … “the wine cellar incorporates exposed beams, natural wood shelving, and soft lighting to highlight the couple’s extensive wine collection.”

If you have ever dreamed of incorporating a wine cellar into your existing home, or have plans to build a new home in Truckee or the Lake Tahoe region, I’d be happy to swap ideas about cool designs for wine cellars, and my favorite blends, at any time.

Cheers to a festive Christmas season ahead!

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

A Perfect Treehouse for Kids This Christmas Season

During this time of the year our family at Borelli Architecture looks forward to the magic that comes with the season of frosty white snowfalls, Christmas carols, and warm and wonderful holiday memories.  And it is also times like this that we make a special effort to share the season with those less fortunate.

While researching ways to donate to non-profits this year, we found an organization called Treehouse” based in Washington state that collects donations to “Make Holidays Brighter” for children and youth in foster care.

Intrigued by the idea, we researched closer to home for ways that all of us can make a difference this Christmas season for children and youth in our own communities in North Lake Tahoe, Truckee and the Reno/Carson City regions.

We hope you take a few moments to review this list – and then find a little time this season and join us in making the holidays brighter.

Toys for Tots,  El Dorado County / Tahoe Truckee Region 

Toys for Tots, Eastern Placer County / Tahoe Truckee Region

Toys for Tots ~ Carson City, NV

Toys for Tots ~ Reno, NV and Greater Washoe County

On behalf of the entire team at Borelli Architecture, we thank you for sharing the magic of the season with those who need it most!


Jim and Kelly 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