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A Rustic Home with Contemporary Design

This mountain escape proves rustic homes can still be airy, bright, and completely contemporary.

Written by Suzanna Logan

Photos Courtesy of Linthicum


It’s a comment we hear all the time: “Wood homes feel dark and outdated.” Sure, that may have been true once upon a time, but many of today’s wood homes feel quite the opposite, boasting bright, fresh and modern appeal. For proof, look no further than builder Eric Linthicum’s most recent project in the private, luxury community of Martis Camp.

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just a short distance from Lake Tahoe, this rustic-meets-modern residence is anything but dark and stuffy. Natural light streams through windows at every turn, casting light onto contemporary interiors. Throughout, clean lines and a muted palette lend an organic ambiance. Even the timber framework, though impressive in size and design, has an intentionally quiet feel.

“There is really nothing over the top in the home, which creates this wonderful, simple elegance,” says Eric, owner of the custom construction firm Linthicum with offices in Arizona, Hawaii and California.

The entire 7,850-square-foot home is a study in tasteful restraint. In the shared living spaces — an area that includes the great room, kitchen and dining room — organic textures abound. A 27-foot vaulted timber ceiling, mesquite hardwood floors, and Douglas Fir and Redwood trim combine with the stone fireplace to give a back-to-nature feel to the space. Steel hardware and a collection of hand-forged iron chandeliers lend an urban edge. “There is a hint of industrial influence in the space,” Eric says, “but because of the warm woods, it doesn’t feel cold.” 

While the house is decidedly contemporary inside, the exterior design is an intentional nod to the forest setting and traditional mountain-style architecture. “The way we connected the two styles was to make sure the materials on the outside carried into the inside, so you didn’t have this disconnect when you entered the home,” Eric says.

Inside, the natural finishes whisper; outside, they create a majestic, lodge look. Native basalt and cedar ship-lap planking cover the exterior, while metal accents add structural support and complete the rustic facade.

Like the interiors, the 4,000 square feet of terraced outdoor living spaces are a study in good design. Multiple areas carved out for cooking, dining, hot tubbing or relaxing around the fire pit are unified by stone tile floors. Low-slung stacked-stone walls give the airy rooms a sense of permanence, while streamlined patio furniture and minimal accessories echo the modern vibe of the interiors.

Beyond the property, dotted with large boulders and native landscaping, a stunning forested golf course offers up impressive, panoramic views. Still, if you ask Eric, the best vantage points on the property may be within the residence itself. “The home brings in all of the beauty of the surrounding areas,” Eric says. “It really is a fabulous space.”


Home Details:

Square footage: 7,850

Architect; interior decorator: Ryan Group Architects, ryangrouparchitects.com

Builder: Linthicum, linthicumcorp.com

Timber provider: Idaho Pacific Lumber, idapac.com 


A Chat with Builder Eric Linthicum

This house comes with an impressive square footage. How do the wood features in this house complement the size and the overall design?

Because the house has very large volumes, the wood elements had to be sized appropriately so they didn’t get lost in the space. The beams in the great room are 24 inches, which was necessary for them to look and feel right. Appropriate scaling is critical in any project.  


Why do you think people are drawn to wood homes?

Number one, a wood home is the appropriate solution for a mountain environment. It feels warm and welcoming. Also, wood is a flexible material. It doesn’t have to be dark and heavy. It can be as light and clean and contemporary as you want to take it. Lastly, there is that human element. We all relate to wood being comforting in a certain way. 


What is your favorite part of this home?

It would have to be the kitchen. It’s very bright. It’s open on both sides, and from the kitchen window you look out into a small grove of aspen trees.  


What is a fundamental rule of design that you consider in every project?

Regardless of where you are building, always pay attention to the sun and how it tracks across the sky. It will influence how you feel in a space. When you look at plans on paper, you don’t necessarily see how it is going to feel with natural light, but natural light is so critical in making wood homes come to life.  


What advice would you give to potential homeowners to help them achieve their best custom wood home?

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid to look at unconventional ways of using traditional materials. 


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