Mountain Modern Home

Mountain Modern Home

Contemporary Project | Lake Tahoe, California
Explore a mountain modern home with architecture that blurs the lines of interior living spaces and the wilderness it sits amongst. With careful planning between the architect and homeowners, they were able to precisely place Kolbe’s Ultra Series windows and doors to capture the views without compromising comfort or performance.

On a wooded lot in the mountains near Lake Tahoe, Jeff and Melody Collins found the perfect spot to build their family dream home. With two school-age children, the family shared a passion for skiing, snowmobiling and a wide range of outdoor activities. Erasing the boundary between interior and exterior living spaces, they wanted their house to visually and physically blend with the natural landscape without compromising on comfort.

In addition to running a household and building a home together, the couple also work together at Glennwood Custom Builders, where Jeff is the owner and CEO. Experienced in designing and constructing luxury residences for other homeowners, they had a strong sense of what they wanted in their own home.

It was our vision to create a really amazing Mountain Modern home that made it feel like we were outdoors even when we were inside.

Based on the positioning of these rooms and their window views, Jeff and Melody organized the rest of the home’s layout. Jeff added, “We knew the spaces we wanted and roughly where we wanted them to go. We knew we needed a larger garage to hold all our gear and didn’t want it to diminish the overall house.”

They turned to architect Ryan Marsden, LEED AP, NCARB, to add his local expertise, enthusiasm and hands-on attention. “He is extremely creative with the Mountain Modern architectural style,” complimented Jeff. Formerly with Kelly & Stone Architects, Marsden now serves as principal architect and president of his own firm, Marsden Architects. “We had worked with Jeff and his team at Glennwood on several previous projects leading up to him deciding to design and build his dream mountain home. We understood what worked and what we could perfect,” shared Marsden.
He continued, “It is such a collaborative process working with Jeff and Melody – we start to speak the same language and we know what they look for so we can design to suit their specific needs at the first concept. They know what they want and they always bring new ideas to the table. This design is the culmination of all those great ideas and experiences together.”


The home’s bold, yet simple, material and color palette references the ski resort setting and surrounding Northern Sierra environment. Gray rough-sawn Cedar siding, brown and cream flecked natural stone, and charcoal gray, square corrugated, metal complemented by matte black, aluminum panels clad the opaque exterior surfaces’ separate full-height, through-home transparent window views. The staggered roof lines add purposeful articulation to each room.
“We walked our lot many times with Ryan to determine where to put each window to give us killer views,” Jeff reminisced. Marsden and Glennwood Custom Builders developed a topographic map, to ensure precise placement of each window and door. Based on years of experience at Glennwood, Jeff already knew he wanted “extra large” Kolbe® windows and doors to frame his home’s views and match the Mountain Modern aesthetic. He selected Kolbe’s Ultra Series for its versatile styling and durable performance.

“It’s all about the glass and the views!” emphasized Marsden. “The harsh mountain climate makes the performance of the window systems of utmost importance. Kolbe knocked it out of the park to provide the performance we needed.” The extruded aluminum exterior withstands demanding climates and the warm wood interior can be finished to match nearly any décor. On Jeff and Melody’s home, the windows’ framing members and sills were finished in black to convey a crisp, modern appearance and an overall harmonious structure.

The harsh mountain climate makes the performance of the window systems of utmost importance. Kolbe knocked it out of the park to provide the performance we needed.

During the winter, we wanted to maintain our connection to the outdoors while keeping it comfortable, warm and cozy inside,” Jeff elaborated. “In the summer, we wanted to be able to open up more than our windows. We added a massive Kolbe lift & slide door so we could open almost the whole wall of our great room and dining hall onto the deck. We found we could open them in every season because we hardly have any bugs and it doesn’t get really cold.

We added a massive Kolbe lift & slide door so we could open almost the whole wall of our great room and dining hall onto the deck.

Providing a nearly seamless indoor-outdoor transition, the Glennwood teamed with long-time window and door partner, Old Mission Windows. Jeff said, “We’ve worked with Marc Cesario and his group at Old Mission for more than 20 years. When we have a complicated window and door package, we turn to Marc.”

With the same dedication as it would bring to any of Glennwood’s projects, Old Mission helped customize the Kolbe window and door sizes and configurations to meet the exact specifications for Jeff and Melody’s home. “They did a great job on a complex build. They drilled down for days and engineered it all,” praised Jeff. “In a modern home, you can see every little flaw. They helped perfect every detail.”


As an example, Jeff highlighted the recessed sills beneath the expansive lift & slide door. This threshold solution allows for a clear, even plane between the exterior decking and the interior flooring. From the meticulously detailed to the extremely complex, Jeff also recognized Old Mission’s efforts in engineering the steel bracing between the massive windows that were mulled together. To support the weighty architectural building components on the home, Marsden designed the steel superstructure and artfully concealed it beneath wood and other warm materials and welcoming finishes.
Construction took approximately 18 months from excavation to move-in. Between 10 to 40 people per day worked through winter months, averaging more than 6 feet of snow each week. “Other than the snow, the project went as smooth as possible,” said Jeff. “It takes extreme coordination with the architect, builders, suppliers and manufacturers to create such an amazing project in such a short timeframe.”