Jenny and Richard Emerson aren't just architecture buffs, they’re devotees. So three years ago when they approached Truckee-based architect Greg Faulkner about building a ski home in nearby Sugar Bowl, Faulkner admits he was a little intimidated.
Officially, Richard is in investment banking and Jenny is a small-business owner. But Jenny is on the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (her area of study at Columbia University), and Richard is an avid scholar of Frank Lloyd Wright. Both are currently involved in restoring Wright homes in Los Angeles.
The house in Sugar Bowl “is about our fifth architectural project,” Jenny says. Among them, renovations of past homes in L.A., San Francisco and Sonoma. But they’d never built anything from scratch before, and Sugar Bowl, with its heavy snow loads and tight building restrictions, was not the easiest place to start. Still, thanks to Faulkner, “this was, by far, the smoothest project we’ve ever done,” Jenny says. “It was nice to have somebody who had such a vision. We loved every decision he made.”
Sugar Bowl is steeped in a proud history. It was founded in 1938 by a group of skiers that included Walt Disney, and it has cultivated several alpine greats, including Daron Rahlves. It was the home of California’s first chairlift, and is still beloved for its intimate charm, snow-bound chalets and, above all, the sense of tradition that lingers here. Most houses get passed down through generations. Only recently did a few lots open up for buyers such as the Emersons.