Lake Tahoe new build A-frame
Architect Todd Gordon Mather built this updated A-frame home in Tahoe City, California. Photo by Vance Fox.

The word “retro” can occasionally be translated to “outdated.” But that’s where having a new take on an old design can completely change that perspective. When architect Todd Gordon Mather was asked to build a modern Lake Tahoe A-frame structure to replace a burned down cottage, he knew he’d have to put his own spin on the popular design to make it stand out.

Because the modern A-Frame was built on the ashes of the old structure, they named it Phoenix Rising.

Lake Tahoe new build a-frame
The roof pattern is a simplified bar-code for the client’s favorite ski resort. Photo by Vance Fox.

Challenge Accepted

Mather was hesitant to take on the project initially, as a Lake Tahoe A-frame posed a few design challenges—mainly, the roof. As the dominant feature of this structural design, the roof needed to offer an aesthetically pleasing purpose along with its unique function so it wouldn’t be an eye sore to Lake Tahoe travelers.

exterior Lake Tahoe new build A-frame
Black trim lines the exterior of the home for a bold look that promotes clean lines. Photo by Vance Fox.

To fix this problem, Mather created an electronic barcode for the client’s favorite local ski resort and transformed the code into a pattern that could be displayed on the roof. The result is an eye-catching, prominent home that passersby can enjoy.

Lake Tahoe new build A-frame
The interior was designed to imitate a cabin feel with wood siding and rustic mid mod decor. Photo courtesy of Lake Tahoe Real Estate Photography.

A Sure Thing

When the clients expressed their concerns about the vast ceiling looking unbalanced in the interior, Mather came up with a way to reassure them he had the right idea. He created a 3D model of the home to take the clients on a virtual tour so they could experience a walk-through of the home before it became a reality. Convinced it was the updated cabin-in-the-woods feel they wanted, they agreed to continue with his original plans.

Lake Tahoe new build A-Frame
The wood-burning stone fireplace is a nod to the client’s memories of chopping wood with his father every summer. Photo courtesy of Lake Tahoe Real Estate Photography.

The Perfect Touch

In the 1950s when A-Frame homes were popular, they were generally used as coastal or mountain vacation homes. They were not known for their beauty. Then why did Mather’s clients pick an A-Frame for their Lake Tahoe home?

Nostalgia. The client grew up spending summers in his father’s A-Frame in the woods. To pay homage to their memories, Mather included a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, similar to the one his client remembers from his past. It was the perfect touch for this Lake Tahoe A-Frame.

Lake Tahoe new build A-frame
The wall of windows allows the outdoors to become part of the interior. Majestic trees are in full view from inside the home and act as nature’s backdrop. Photo courtesy of Tahoe Real Estate Photography.

Love the A-frame design? Check out 8 Mid Mod A-Frames We Know You’ll Love.

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