When design brainstorming began for the latest Ritz-Carlton resort property in Lake Tahoe, the luxury hotel owners had one designer they knew they could trust to rise to the challenge. “We knew the design of the model penthouses must align with the stately allure of this exceptional resort, perched mid-mountain at Northstar. Given his modern style and exquisitely curated designs, Jay Jeffers immediately came to mind for the task,” said Stuart Cramer, president of KW Residential Investment Group. Recently we got the chance to sit down with Jay, pick his brain about the project and get a sneak peek of the exclusive rooms!
L: Tell us about your partnership with the Ritz-Carlton’s Residences Tahoe. How did the opportunity come about?
JJ: Over the past few years we’ve designed several vacation homes in Tahoe; the new owners of the RCR saw our work and approached us about the collaboration. It was thrilling to have the opportunity to bring my sensibility to the Ritz-Carlton—a revered luxury brand that embodies great style and elegant living the world over. Design-wise, we were also completely on the same page—the owners have a true appreciation for individualized design, and encouraged me to create very singular, personal spaces.
L: Explain how you achieved a balance between a rustic mountain retreat and a more modern urbane aesthetic.
JJ: We wanted to continue to give owners the luxury that the Ritz name embodies, but with a modern take on mountain style. I call the look we devised “California Mountain,” it’s a balance of the urbane and the rustic, conceptualized with Tahoe’s young, affluent, design-conscious clientele in mind.
L: What was your biggest fear when tackling this project?
JJ: We had a momentary concern about paint colors—the light is very bright and clear in the mountains. Ultimately we chose taupe and a charcoal grey to bind the rooms together, and selected complementary colors based on summers in Tahoe—shades of blue, green and persimmon. It all worked out beautifully—its smart and crisp in the daytime and very sexy at night.
L: Which aspects of California living did you hope to include into these mountain retreats?
JJ: “California Mountain” is all about bringing a bit of the city to the slopes—a look that’s very cosmopolitan, but still livable. The spaces feature a cool gray palette as the backdrop for furnishings that marry industrial and natural materials: a white-oak bed with metal detailing, graphic faux-boix wallpaper and a reclaimed-wood club chair, for example, are all fresh takes on mountain vernacular.
L: Can you describe the vibe found in each of the three penthouses. Are they all different? How are they similar?
JJ: There is a shared sensibility and palette, but each penthouse definitely has its own creative, bespoke details and an element of the unexpected. We always want a space to look as though it was collected over time, so that it has soul and history. The pieces in each space are very individualized.
L: Share some of the go-to sources you used in designing these spaces.
JJ: I’ve been designing for over 15 years and have developed a wealth of resources all over the country, and all over the world. Tapping into them is I think one of the things that makes our work unique. One of the biggest compliments I get is when someone asks where I got something because they have never seen it before. I started my store, Cavalier, last year, to showcase many of the artists and designers we love and collaborate with, and brought many of their furnishings and accessories to the Ritz-Carlton interiors. We also worked with the very talented Apparatus studio on the incredible chandeliers, and featured art from one of our favorite galleries, Dolby Chadwick in San Francisco.
L: How did you keep a residential feel throughout the space while maintaining the pristine standards of hotel living?
JJ: The owners recognized the need for exceptional design and quality, and the models feature nothing but the best in furniture, draperies and details. We also carefully tailored it to the Tahoe ski in-ski out lifestyle, so everything is cool, comfortable, and never high-maintenance.
L: Do you have a favorite penthouse?
JJ: I can never play favorites with my children! ;)
L: Quick! Rustic vs. Modern. Why?
JJ: Both! Our design vision was to bring together the best elements of town and country.
We thank Jay Jeffers for sitting down with us. Now we're busy planning our trip to Lake Tahoe!