Tour a Dreamy Lake Tahoe Cabin Where Modern Comforts Meet Vintage Style

De la Cruz set about making improvements to the kitchen and upgrading all bathrooms, while winsome decorative features dating back to the home’s circa-1950 origins (like the living room’s imposing rock fireplace and original wood-paneling-clad walls) served as reminders to remain authentic to the home’s early days. “When taken with the task of furnishing, I wanted to embrace all those things, lean into them, and highlight them,” he explains. The colors, for instance, he says, are intentionally bold. “Because it’s their second home—they’re not there every day—I leaned into color. Most people want a nice, clean white kitchen. We got the opportunity to play with color and texture,” he says, citing custom-made plates by California company Jered’s Pottery in a “wishing-well blue” ombré as an example. It’s a hue de la Cruz plucked, seemingly, right from the family’s own view of the lake. He also scoured nearby shops on sourcing expeditions in the name of decorative veracity, finding, on one of those trips, a wry squirrel portrait that now presides over the powder room: “When I do local houses like this for clients, I like to go to the local thrift stores to make sure it has that flavor.”

One lake-facing bedroom sings with different layers, a facet that the homeowners appreciate “now that they see it together, and how we found a plaid that really worked with the floral,” says de la Cruz, who initially shared the concept—floral-themed Gaia wall covering by House of Hackney juxtaposed with a plaid curtain from Kravet—via a Powerpoint deck over Zoom that, he felt, didn’t at first convince the owners. “But it magically works, even though you wouldn’t normally think on paper that it would.” And the old stick furniture, which came part and parcel with the house purchase and which the homeowners expected him to toss, evokes the thought for visitors: “Yeah, I’m in Lake Tahoe—that’s exactly where I am.”

The approach of bolstering the home’s surviving midcentury spirit is one that worked, from the seemingly incongruent but ultimately chic pattern play in the guest room to a tiny, enchanting powder room under the staircase—walls clad with William Morris Blackthorne by House of Hackney wall covering—that calls to mind Harry Potter. “I wanted it to look like it had been remodeled over time, not that we just came in and swept in and did it all at once,” de la Cruz says of the cabin. “It’s like a snapshot of the evolution of Tahoe.”

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