A picture from the lawn looking up to the house's waterfront elevation. A tall USA flag is placed in the center of the lawn in front of the house.
Through our residential work at Sugar Bowl Resort, we have seen the growth in interest from prospective homeowners in communities that provide activity, connection and a sense of place throughout the year. On a recent visit to the growing Clear Creek residential community, we explored how master planned developments are finding new ways to respond to prospective homeowners.
Clear Creek is located on the eastern slope of the Carson Range and a short drive south from Carson City, Nevada. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Sierra, the site sits on land that was once part of the historic Clear Creek ranch. Roughly 850 acres of the 2,100-acre site have been placed into a permanent conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy.
Clear Creek provides an array of amenities, including a Coore and Crenshaw-designed golf course, and an adjacent clubhouse designed by Hart Howerton. Summit Camp, which includes swimming pools, fire pits and bocce courts, is perfectly tailored to families, while skiing, hiking and adventures on the lake are all nearby. The site balances carefully landscaped areas without seeking to exert too much control of the natural characteristics that make this a truly remarkable environment. This is seen in the preservation of meadows and thoughtful land planning that provides generous space between homesites.
An advertisement based on a 3D map showing the location of Clear Creek. The tagline is Miles from everyone, minutes to everything. This ad shows that lake Tahoe is 10 minutes way, incline village is 20, and heavenly is also 20.
A simple map of the Lake Tahoe Region with the mountain peaks marked.
Like Sugar Bowl, Clear Creek incorporates a building of historic significance as an integral part of its community. The development established an intelligent link to Lake Tahoe through the purchase and renovation of the Twin Pines House, designed by Julia Morgan. The house is one of two that Morgan designed on the lake, the other being the dramatic Schilling House, completed in 1939 and inspired by Tyrolian hunting lodges.
Two pictures of the house from opposing end elevations. It is a wooden cabin structure with a steep gable roof, surrounded by lawns and coniferous trees. A glimpse of lake Tahoe is offered in the distance.
Twin Pines is disarming in its simplicity. It is an expression of the architect’s beaux arts training – the visitor from shore most likely originally arrived on axis and was greeted by the courtyard and grand outdoor fireplace. Flanking the fireplace are windows that look through the house to the sapphire blue of the lake. Visitors enter on either side of the two-story living room, which has a fireplace on the east wall that backs up to the outdoor fireplace. This is the view at night, but by day, one is compelled to move west and focus on the lake beyond.
A view from inside the house looking out at lake Tahoe. There is a cushioned bench built into the bay window provides the opportunity to sit and enjoy the view. There is a grassy field that leads down to a beach by the lake.
A picture of a living room in the house. The floor and walls are lightly stained pine with exposed rafters above. The vertically oriented wall boards have visible, dark knots dotted throughout the wood. Against the back wall is a set of stairs leading up to the second floor.
The double-height, wood-paneled living room is given added drama by the staircases at either end, which lead to second floor sleeping spaces above the north and south wings. The south wing contains the kitchen at its center and an adjacent dining room overlooking the lake. The north holds the master bedroom, while additional bedrooms and a garage fill out the wings.
Like the courtyard entry, lake access is not directly through the west wall; rather, it is out either the north or south, forcing one to wind through the house. The lakefront side is perhaps the most surprising moment of Twin Pines, because here visitors find themselves under a loggia made of logs, enclosed by a stone wall. This is a classical space that is both of the house and designed to appreciate its setting, constructed of tree columns that connect to the Twin Pines that frame the view of the lake.
A look at one of the house from a dock on the lake. The cabin overlooks the lake but is set back from the shore within a grassy lawn with coniferous trees dotted around and the forest covered mountains in the background.. A small beach with a low stone wall separates the lake from the property. To the right there is another dock.
The transition from lawn to beach is established by a simple stair on the centerline of the house – the first transition on center that one can occupy since stepping up into the courtyard on the east.
The house has one aspect that is at once strangely arbitrary, but also fitting. Set on a wondrous natural setting, it also acknowledges that it is just on the California side of the California-Nevada line – so in a sense, the north door leads toward Nevada and the south toward California. It is currently decorated with the respective state flags above each door. One can only wonder whether Morgan’s door placement took this into account.