Site size: 17,500 sf Project size: 3,330 sf

Program: The owners, a retired couple in their 70s, commissioned Mork-Ulnes Architects to design a vacation house for them, their children, and grandchildren: three ski-loving generations whose older members have been skiing in the area since the 1940s.

Location: Sugar Bowl, Norden, California

Solution: Inspired by the idea of a tree house that is suspended between treetops, the Troll Hus is tucked away in the mountains. The design responds to the owners’ desire for a modernist, secluded refuge with constant visual reference to nature. Rather than expansive vistas, the house offers filtered views of the surrounding landscape.

Construction and materials: The exterior is clad in 2-by-4 solid timber coated in black tar, which helps protect the wood from the weather and insects—a traditional Norwegian technique dating back to medieval stave churches. Warm wood wraps the interiors, extending to the floors, ceilings, and furniture—including the the dining table, bench, and bar stools that Lexie Mork-Ulnes designed specifically for the project.

Completion date: January 2016

Additional Information
Total project cost: Withheld
Client: Withheld



Mork-Ulnes Architects
602 Minnesota Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
phone: (415) 282-1437


Project design team:

Greg Ladigin, Anatoly Starr, Lexie Mork-Ulnes, Casper Mork-Ulnes, Kyle Anderson


Interior designer: 

Lexie Mork-Ulnes



Structural engineer: Gabbart & Woods Structural Engineers
Civil engineer: Ferrell Civil Engineering


General contractor: 

Barth Construction



Bruce Damonte



Structural System

Wood framing over concrete slab and walls at ground level


Exterior Cladding

Exterior cladding: Douglas fir
Exterior wall treatment: Tar



Tyrolean dining chairs: Imported from Europe and refinished with Lye (in the dining room & kitchen)

One Austrian-inspired Bench: Custom designed by Lexie Mork-Ulnes AND built by Yvonne Mouser (in the dining room & kitchen)

Four Austrian-inspired barstools: Custom designed (by Lexie Mork-Ulnes) built by Yvonne Mouser (in the dining room & kitchen)

Two Bensen U-Turn Chairs in light grey maharam divina melange (in the living room)

Antique Draw Leaf Table: Family owned, french country draw leaf. Sleuth Antiques (owner’s former antique business) (in the dining room & kitchen)

Brent Comber shattered coffee table in douglas fir (in the living room)
One antique cricket table refinished in lye (in the living room)

Upholstery: B&B Italia Tufty Too Sofa by Patricia Urquiola in dark grey cashmere (in the living room)