One of Sacramento’s most sought-after visual thinkers, Curtis Popp expresses his design prowess in his Lake Tahoe A-frame retreat.
With an impressive collection of mod décor, this cozy Lake Tahoe cabin blends thoughtful updates with a largely unchanged exterior.
From the time he was a small boy up to his late 20s,
Curtis Popp’s family had enjoyed a lakefront cabin in Homewood, on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. He dreamed of buying a home himself in that idyllic area of California, but the push to finally act was bittersweet. In 2011, his mother was terminally ill, and she directed Curtis to buy a cabin after she passed, ensuring her grandchildren would share in the lakeside experience. Five months after her death, Curtis owned a 1969-built A-frame in Homewood.
It was in fine condition but a bit tired. “The kitchen, window coverings and cabinetry were all very Holly Hobby,” explains Curtis, who lives in Sacramento with his wife, Susan, and their two teenage children. A third-generation Sacramentan, Curtis is the head of full-service design firm CPOPP Workshop and a well-established creative who works in a variety of fields. He transformed the once fussy A-frame into a minimalist, yet still cozy, retreat filled with an enviable collection of Modernist furniture.
GOOD THINGS IN SMALL PACKAGES
After the major redesign, the cabin’s exterior remains largely unchanged, but the interior has been refreshed entirely, creating a welcoming space for the family on the weekends. The flooring was updated, and the kitchen and both bathrooms were completely redone. The kitchen has new appliances that are compact but still befit a 1,100-square-foot vacation home; the refrigerator is a fully integrated 24 inches, the range is 24 inches and the dishwasher is 18 inches.
Curtis used the dark umber of the beams and the caramel of the cedar walls and carried the colors throughout the home. “Distilling a space, especially a small one, down to a few elements is critical,” he says. His style gravitates toward minimal and early 20th-century European Modernism, so he turned to black leather furniture by Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier to offset the warmth of the rustic wood. His favorite room? “The living room, where all the jokes and stories are told.”
He transformed the once fussy A-frame into a minimalist, yet still cozy, retreat, filled with an enviable collection of Modernist furniture.
THIS DINING AREA BECKONS WITH A TABLE FROM HERMAN MILLER BY CHARLES AND RAY EAMES AND A LIGHTING FIXTURE FROM ROLL & HILL.
For Curtis, an A-frame is architecturally significant. “It represents for me utter simplicity of form; I don’t think architecture can be pared down more than an A-frame. Our house was actually a kit house, which says a lot about how lo-fi they actually are, but I don’t think the simplicity takes away from its elegance.” If you have a vintage A-frame you are remodeling, Curtis advises, “Embrace the existing architecture and keep editing. The beauty of the vernacular is its simplicity.”