Developed in the 1920s, Lake Arrowhead in California’s San Bernardino Mountains was conceived as a “French Norman” mountain resort. Over time, steered by architectural covenants, the prevailing style morphed into a kind of “Swiss Chalet” or “Alpine” mountain lodge aesthetic, says architect Edward Ogosta, AIA, whose clients hired him to design a getaway house there on a steep “remainder” lot.  

Luckily for Ed, architect Rudolph Schindler had already busted through the covenant stranglehold with the first modern A-frame house, which he designed at the lake in the late 1930s. So the creative challenge for Ed was to design a new house that met his clients’ desires while also reinterpreting the resort’s motley architectural antecedents in a fresh way. His response is a “Batman” version of an A-frame—a dark chalet enshrouded in dreamlike mystery. 

“The clients loved that idea, because the husband’s nickname for himself is Batman,” says Ed. “He’s a well-known muralist who derives inspiration from stargazing.” To that end, along with the small budget-driven program, the husband requested a roof deck for viewing the night sky. Those elements dictated the linear plan and the unusual roof shapes, as Ed notched the small deck between the two roof pitches.

Like an all-roof A-frame, Ed wrapped the building in a single material—black corrugated metal—to blend into the forest setting. Sliding doors open the interior to an expansive deck and views of cedar trees and wildlife. Flanking the great room are the master suite and a guest bedroom and office. It’s a tight plan, but large enough for the couple to retire to in a few years, if they choose—and far more livable than a true A-frame.

Additional Plans and Drawings


Project Credits

SkyValley House

Lake Arrowhead, California

Architect: Ed Ogosta, AIA, principal, Edward Ogosta Architecture, Los Angeles

General contractor: Joseph McCormick, Lake Arrowhead, Calif.

Project size: 1,450 square feet

Site size: 15,810 square feet

Renderings: Edward Ogosta Architecture