A designer creates the perfecct winter getaway for a very special client.
by Marybeth Bizjak
photography by David Duncan Livingston
For the past five years, interior designer Jill Dudensing has worked for only one client, designing his primary residence, his downtown office in the Ice Blocks development and a home in Truckee's Martis Camp. Who is this exclusive client? It's her brother, Sacramento attorney Ed Dudensing.
Ed, says Jill, is a dream to work for. "He understands the art of it, and he lets me be," she explains. Ed told his sister to "do whatever you want" with the Martis Camp house, a vacation property that he shares with his wife, physician Katie Newell, and their two children. A couple of family members are avid skiers, and the house gets a lot of use in the winter. So Jill set out to create a cozy, modern ski cabin where the family could gather in comfort when the weather outside is cold and snowy.
Her first goal was to let Mother Nature provide what she calls "the show." The house is flooded in light from floor-to-ceiling windows, and she wanted to make sure that views of the surrounding hills and trees remained unobstructed. The only window treatments are remote-controlled blinds, found on a few (not all) of the windows. The open-plan great room, which includes the kitchen, dining space and living room, provides unimpeded sightlines. "It's all about feeling like you're outside," she says.
She also wanted the design to reference 1970s Tahoe. Growing up in Sacramento, Jill and her siblings (she has a twin sister) spent a lot of time in Tahoe, and she wanted to bring a bit of their childhood to life. To give the house a camp feel, she used sofas upholstered in vintage military canvas. And in a nod to cabin aesthetic, she selected an antler chandelier--made of ceramic, not real antlers--to hang over the dining table.
Finally, she aimed to use as many California-made products as possible. (Jill says she managed to source 95 percent of the home's goods in-state.) Many of the furnishings are custom pieces made by blankblank, a design firm based in nearby Courtland. With input from Jill, blankblank created the dining table as well as bed frames, headboards and bedside tables.*
Jill chose every single thing for the project, right down to the ceramic dishware from Heath. Now, the house serves as a gathering spot for extended family, hosting Christmas last year, Thanksgiving the year before. Best of all, Jill says, she gets to use the house, too. "It's a nice perk," she says.