The Stellar Collection: Setting A New Design Tone For A New Generation

The Millennial impact has been felt almost everywhere, and strongly in the new architectural designs of resort homes. Instead of complex designs, the trend is now toward simplicity, eco-sensitivity, and community.

One of the most popular resort destinations in Northern California is Northstar at Lake Tahoe, where great hotels — The Ritz Carlton among others, share the space with exceptionally high-end ski chalets and estates. So, it was a revelation that a new project, to be completed in Winter 2015/2016, was the work of the iconic BCJ Architects. They created the Stellar Collection, residences and townhomes that look like nothing else in the area.

BCJ Architects is the lead architectural agency for Apple stores, including the renowned one on 5th Avenue in NY. They were asked, and did, re-imagine the Lake Tahoe mountain home concept  that would appeal to a newer generation whose needs and wants differed from those who preceded them. And they did.

Stellar Collection Residence Exterior

Stellar Collection Residence Exterior

The Stellar Collection is a stellar collection of alpine modern, eco-sensitive smart homes, on a treed landscape with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering a maximum of open space. Instead of incorporating decorative flourishes, that included heavy, exposed timber, with odd, often antlered taxidermy animals on walls, the home designs were distilled to a quieter essence, setting a new tone for a new generation.

The six Stellar Residences offer 3400 square feet of living space, and provide direct slopeside access to the ski runs and hiking trails of Northstar. Each four bedroom home includes a master suite and guest-master, 3.5 baths, ski room, two-car garage, media room and incorporates a main-level great room with a fireplace, living, dining and kitchen space.

Stellar Collection Townhome Living Room

Stellar Collection Townhome Living Room

The eleven Stellar Townhomes have 2,100 sq. ft. of space with three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and working rooms built along the spine of the home, leaving more space for the main floor great room. With both up- and down-slope views, the townhomes feature an indoor fireplace in the great room, outdoor living space, loft space and a ski room for gear.

Built to achieve LEED-certification, the residences and townhomes are solar- ready and Tesla-ready, with energy-efficient lighting and healthy finishes for indoor air quality, including low or non-VOC paint, stain, and adhesives, as well as 100% wool carpeting throughout.

Ron Barnes is the Senior Partner at Mountainside Partners, who is the chief strategist leading all aspects of master planning, development, sales and marketing of Stellar. The Pursuitist recently interviewed him, as she wanted to know more about the new, and very different design of this project.

Stellar Collection Townhomes Winter

Stellar Collection Townhomes Winter

Pursuitist: In a recent press release, it was said that buyers didn’t want a duplicate of their father’s Mountain Chalet — they wanted a mountain experience, but also wanted something that defines the needs and wants of their generation. That is an interesting idea— could you discuss further on what that means in terms of exterior architectural style and interior design?

Mr. Barnes: We have learned that there are certain buyers who want a much more contemporary design, even modern.  We’ve been able to set the tone by not only bringing in top architects who are experts in fusing contemporary design with mountain style, but also introducing energy efficiency, smart design, and green initiatives.

Pursuitist: From the images, the residences and the townhomes look quite different from others at Northstar. What was the process by which you decided to create something different?

Mr. Barnes:  Speaking with buyers!  There is a strong desire for mountain contemporary, and when we started looking at the concept, we found this was a great direction for our community – these modern designs use a lot of glass to expose the outdoors, and we have stunning, giant views – the two mesh perfectly together of course, and the end result is really bringing the outside in, embracing grand views, while maintaining all the comforts of a mountain home.

Drone View, Stellar Collection Townhome Site

Drone View, Stellar Collection Townhome Site

Pursuitist: What are the price ranges and timelines for this project? When do you foresee these being completed?

Mr. Barnes: Townhomes will start around $2m, and residences will come in around $4m.  We are looking at a Winter 2015/2016 completion.

Pursuitist:  Stellar has been called a progressive mountain retreat. Please explain what is meant by progressive. 

Mr. Barnes: There is a new movement, in fact several. The first is toward smart design.  Call it efficient if you will, but there are owners who are looking to place a smaller footprint on the planet, figuratively and literally. The Stellar Townhomes were designed to lead that movement.  They aren’t small by any means – 2,300 sq. ft., but they are an incredibly efficient use of space. We have been able to slip bunk beds where you wouldn’t have thought they’d go, kids’ media centers placed in unique locations, etc. We have owners who like the idea of bringing their family closer – physically, while pursuing their outdoor adventures.  The second movement is toward green, and while we strive for LEED certification, we are making moves to prepare for the future. Our homes are prewired for solar and charging stations, in addition to using low VOC materials, and being built with high energy efficiency in mind.

Close Exterior, Stellar Townhome

Close Exterior, Stellar Townhome

Pursuitist: As the Millennials define luxury in terms of greater eco-sensitivity, more positive, memorable experience, how do the Stellar residences and townhomes fit into more of a Millennial than a Boomer or GenX-Y definition?

Mr. Barnes: I think regardless of what demographic group one is in, the appeal of the Stellar designs are universal.  It’s more a question of how families interact and whether that use of space works for them in their family stage of development.  Our residences, and our townhomes appeal to Millennials, and others who are interested in “no-nonsense convenience,” basically, the lock and leave type living. There are many who want this now, without the old complexities that come from owning and managing a large estate property. The Stellar designs are fresh, and we think, also define a positive future.


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