Traveling Organizers: Lake Tahoe Vacation Home

The last few weeks of 2017 were packed with traveling organizing adventures including a trip to Lake Tahoe to unpack and organize a beautiful Truckee vacation home in Schaffer Mills, just down the street from the 2014 HGTV Dream Home.  This project was originally slated for the summer/fall but due to construction delays the organizing couldn’t begin until the week before Christmas.  It was worth the wait through because we had the chance to partner up with Alice Lane Home Interior Design  out of Salt Lake City and it was amazing!

My plan was to shop for products before the trip based on the design decks and architecture drawings provided by Alice Lane.  After going over the goals for how the home would be used (large events, family parties, holidays, etc) I created a shopping list and processed as many orders as possible at The Container Store, West Elm, and Target.  I wanted our Ford Transit van to be totally PACKED driving up there knowing we would have limited shopping options once arriving in Truckee.

Ford Transit full of organizing gold! Kuzak's Closet goes to Tahoe!

This was just the organizing products, we added kitchen boxes, Christmas gifts, household items, and TVs to the mix after I took this photo.  Let’s just say, if we got stranded in a snow storm we would’ve survived for months.

I picked up Taylor at 6am and we hit the road, only making one stop in Auburn at New Dawn Bakery.  Taylor is gluten, dairy, and soy free so it was like a candy shop for her! I would highly recommend the muffins and the almond bars! We grabbed a hot cup of coffee and switched drivers so Taylor could tackle the hills.  I’m a terrible driver in Tahoe, the elevation and turns kill me and my driving kills everyone on the road around me.

Taylor also drives like she stole the car so we made it in great time, arriving just before 10:30am.  Not too shabby!

We were welcomed by Suzanne from Alice Lane when we arrived and given the grand tour.  And by grand, I mean GRAND! This home is totally spectacular with great floor plan, lots of living space, and beautiful views of the mountains and Schaffer Mills golf course. Suzanne and her team arrived on Monday so they had three long days of install before we arrived on Thursday morning and they took advantage of every minute.  The furniture was placed, art was hung, the beds were made, it was the perfect time for us to come and get the kitchen, pantry, laundry room, playroom, and bathrooms ready for the following week of holiday entertaining.

This was scene once the tour was over…

We unloaded the van and brought in boxes to unpack, created piles of boxes that had already arrived to be unpacked, and started on the kitchen.  Most of the kitchen items were brand new so stickers needed to be removed, dishes and glassware needed to be washed, cabinets needed to be wiped out.  This is a typical vacation home task list for us.  It seems straight forward but it’s actually complex to develop a plan for the layout of all of the items that are being unpacked.  Vacation homes have many of the items from a regular home, some categories less and other categories more. The organization needed to be as straightforward and logical as possible but also feel like home and since we’ve worked with this Los Altos client for a few years we have a good idea of their preferences.

I’m showing this photo because this is what the typical “office” looks like for a professional organizer…

We only had to make a run to the a store once so that’s not bad.  We needed to pick up velcro and dishwashing soap so we could finish the kitchen install.  There is an ACE Hardware in Truckee that is totally worth your while if you are in the area.  I mean, check out this shovel selection…

And the home decor section…

Okay, back to work. The dishwasher ran several loads of glassware and throughout the day and the dishes were hand washed. We removed all packaging, stickers, and rinsed the cooking tools and gadgets.

After several layout attempts I settled on a plan that I think makes sense for now and the long run.  There is plenty of room to keep adding to areas and I put things in a logical place and also in a similar place to where items are located in their Los Altos home.  Habits are habits!

By 10:30pm we had clear countertops, an organized storage plan and execution, and a punch list of to-dos for the next day.  Our clients were arriving for the reveal just after 11pm and we wanted to clear out so they could have the tour and really soak up the amazingness with Suzanne.

Suzanne had rented a cottage for her team for the week and with a few of them leaving on Thursday there was room for Taylor and I.  We didn’t get to enjoy it much but what we did see was cozy and cute, wish we could’ve stayed long enough to watch a chick flick and make a fire!  We arrived in at 11pm and then were up and running by 7am the next morning.

Since we didn’t have time to have lunch or dinner on Thursday I wanted to make time to go out to a fun breakfast and after a quick online search Taylor decided that Jax on the Tracks would be the perfect spot.  She was right! As seen on Drivers, Diners, and Dives! Suzanne joined us and we enjoyed chatting about our businesses, our families, and our love of food (even though the three of us are often too busy to eat).  Suzanne and Taylor each had the “all day addiction”, the house speciality and it was amazing, you will need to order it on your next trip!

After breakfast we were back to work! Our day started with a meeting and tour with our clients who arrived late the night before and then Taylor and I divided up between all of the closets, bathrooms, and playrooms.  This is the view from the upstairs playroom, talk about relaxing!

So, the rest of the day was spent running around making sure all of the bins and baskets were installed, the drawer organizers were in place, the trash and packing materials were broken down, 6 load of towels were washed and put away, and so much more! When I say 6 loads of towel I am not being over the top.  They are the nice luxe towels from Costco and they are extra fluffy so by the time I was done I could’ve made an extra towel out of the lint from the dryer vent, ha!

I love these bins from Target and I’m glad you get to catch a glimpse of the subway tile and fixtures in the background. Here are some after shots for you to enjoy…

The kitchen is rustic and open to the living room, perfect for Lake Tahoe living and entertaining.  The counters are styled with useful tools that add to the decor and vibe of the room.  The pantry is where the small appliances and large platters will live.

Hot chocolate bar? CHECK! This bank of cabinets is next to the fridge, just off the island.  It’s a category that could’ve made it into the walk-in pantry but I thought with 4 small children and lots of family and friends it would be best to have it front and center.

We set up a kid-friendly drawer in the kitchen so melamine plates, utensils, and cups could be in the reach of tiny hands.

We were planning to have the cabinet maker cut custom inserts but there were some issues with the cabinets and they may need to be reworked once this year’s ski season is over.  Until then we set up custom drawer organizers for all of the utensils, gadgets, and tools.  The cabinet maker will be able to use our layout to cut the inserts this spring and until then this kitchen will stay organized.

Trend alert! Copper is all the rage and I’m loving it! The pots and pans were originally slated to go in smaller drawers on either side of the range but I switched it up and put them in the pull out shelves just to the left.  Everything is in one place and it will be easier to meal prep that way.

I love the floating shelves with the rock wall behind, perfection!

We put baskets, bins and drawer organizers in the bathrooms.  Some have things to contain already and others are placeholders for future visits.  I told my client to bring what she would normally use on a daily basis on each trip up to the house and stock it slowly overtime with each visit.  It’s easy to have an “idea” of what you are using but the you won’t know the reality until you start using a vacation property.  

Alice Lane will be doing a photo shoot this spring so I don’t want to spoil it but I will leave you with this amazing sneak peak at the hallway going from the playroom and bunk room over to the guest rooms upstairs.  They totally knocked it out of the park!

Taylor and I drove back to Silicon Valley full of inspiration and the realization that we need to get out more! Tahoe is beautiful! We made one stop in Davis on the way home, Dutch Bros, a classic!

I’ll be sharing details from the adventure we tackled just after this one…Seattle…very soon! Kuzak’s Closet is on the move!

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