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Stylish Modern Ski Chalet Makes Room for a Family of 15

Further evidence of the power of good design, all seems remarkably calm and ordered

When you hear "ski chalet for a family of fifteen," you probably aren't thinking of a dwelling that looks like this clean-lined, three-story cabin in northern California outside of Lake Tahoe. Designed by architecture studio Mork Ulnes, the Trollhus, as it's known, is home to a retired couple, whose three kids (plus partners) and seven grandchildren make the trek to the home and could take up residence there at any time. With a brood that big, smart design is a must.

Built to withstand the region's winds and heavy snowfall (up to 65 feet!), the three-story timber house echoes in form and color the grove of pines around it. Inside, sun pours in via broad glass windows facing the surrounding forest and through a skylight in the vaulted, Douglas fir-lined ceilings.

As makes sense in a household that sometimes plays host to 15 guests, the interiors are largely open plan and include a spacious kitchen and dining room—with an outdoor terrace, which wraps around two sides of the home, just off this space. Bedrooms, including ones for each of the couple's children, as well as bedrooms for the seven grandkids to share, occupy the second and third floors.

And what of all that ski gear? There's storage on the ground level, in a room dedicated to all of the family's equipment.