architecture

Inside Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom's Lake Tahoe home

Updated 8th October 2019
Kevin and Nicole Systrom's Lake Tahoe house is a new build designed with vintage characteristics.
Credit: Douglas Friedman/Architectural Digest
Inside Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom's Lake Tahoe home
Written by Emily Dixon, CNN
As you might expect from the co-founder of Instagram, every inch of Kevin Systrom's Lake Tahoe house would look perfectly at home on an influencer's feed.
In the November issue of Architectural Digest, Systrom and interior designer Ken Fulk reveal the sense of nostalgia that inspired the California getaway, with influences ranging from the Wild West to the Rat Pack.
"As a kid, I went to my grandparents' home in the New Hampshire woods," Systrom told the magazine. "I remember what an impression that had on me. We wanted to make sure that our family's next generation had the same opportunity, a place to visit every summer."
Much of the furniture in the "great room" was custom designed for the space.
Much of the furniture in the "great room" was custom designed for the space. Credit: Douglas Friedman/Architectural Digest
A new-build with considerable vintage flavor -- including timber beams and hand-scraped flooring -- the home, on the lake's north shore, still required intensive renovations to fulfill Systrom's vision: a home that "felt intriguingly timeworn, as though it had been there for generations," as Fulk put it.
While the designer sought out vintage pieces, from "retro mid-century lighting" to preowned rattan chairs, much of the furniture was custom designed. For the high-ceilinged "great room," this meant enormous sofas bordered by embossed bronze bookcases; for the fully operational pub beneath the guesthouse, this meant a paneled redwood bar and red patent banquette seating.
The study features a large game table, complete with vintage rattan barrel chairs.
The study features a large game table, complete with vintage rattan barrel chairs. Credit: Douglas Friedman/Architectural Digest
As an added detail, the redwood paneling was charred with fire in accordance with "yakisugi," a traditional Japanese technique for preserving wood.
"Designing the pub was the most fun part of the project," said Systrom, who shares the home with his wife, Nicole. "I wanted a secret room, where we could play loud music and share a great Belgian beer after a day of skiing."
Kevin proposed to Nicole on the dock of their lakeside getaway.
Kevin proposed to Nicole on the dock of their lakeside getaway. Credit: Douglas Friedman/Architectural Digest
Designed with guests in mind, each of the bedrooms draws on one of the Systroms' favorite writers. The "Ian Fleming suite," for instance, features 1970s decor with Fornasetti cloud wallpaper a reference to the well-traveled James Bond, while other rooms take inspiration from Ernest Hemingway and Dorothy Parker.
The Systroms wanted a house to fill with memories -- and they've already created one in the newly named "Loomis Lodge."
"I proposed to Nicole on our dock," Systrom told the magazine. "Our first real date was a ski-trip weekend in college to Lake Tahoe, so it seemed fitting that I'd propose there as well. We feel lucky to wake up in the morning and look out on the place where we got engaged."