High above the turquoise blue waters of Lake Tahoe’s Zephyr Cove is a commanding castle.
Vistas take in the lake, the cove and the M.S. Dixie paddlewheeler. Views of the Sierra Nevada range stretch from the slopes of Mount Tallac in the south to Mount Rose in the north.
The Nevada estate home sits on three-quarters of an acre and takes up most of the highest tip of Glenbrook’s Zephyr Heights neighborhood. The road it’s on, appropriately called Lookout, retains a historic fire tower.
The original land owner was in the lumber business and worked with the Nevada Division of Forestry in building an access road and the fire lookout tower, which was manned starting in the mid-1950s. The castle itself took shape some four decades later when a buyer with a contractor’s license and a bent for architecture took a 1970s 2,000-square-foot single-story and set about to create a 9,307-square-foot six-story home with a rooftop veranda and swim spa.
Inspired by travels to tour castles in France and Italy, the builder took his design inspiration from Castello di Miramare in Northern Italy, where his family originated. His use of limestone, slate and brick—inside and out—underscores the castle ambiance.
The turret-topped edifice is awash in details. Beyond the heavy wooden front door is a foyer with a grand spiral staircase. The two-story-tall great room uses brick from a tequila distillery in Mexico. The limestone is from Texas. Thick beams line the high ceiling.
Roman and gothic arch-topped windows and scrolled metal chandeliers grace one side of the great room, which has two fireplaces. On the other side, a breakfast bar opens to the main kitchen, which has an original Chihuly glass ceiling installation. There are also two other kitchens.
In addition to the great room fireplaces, seven others are spread throughout the house. Balconies and open-air decks off many rooms create outdoor living space. One functions as an outdoor dining room with a fireplace.
The primary bedroom suite contains a workout room, office, bar area and a large closet with built-in washer and dryer.
An elevator provides access to each of the six floors, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms. An interior glass catwalk bridge was repurposed from a Las Vegas casino. Other living spaces include a library with a window seat, another bar, game room and wine cellar.
“Prices for nice Tahoe lakefronts can be as much as $4,000 per foot,” he says. “This property is not lakefront but, with the views and size, it is well priced at about $950 per foot.”
Lookout Castle, at 671 Lookout Road, is priced at US $7.25 million. It’s about five minutes to the beach, 10 to restaurants, shops and nightlife and 15 to the slopes at Heavenly Mountain Resort.