Real Estate

Finding Sanctuary At A $5.2 Million Mountain Retreat Near Lake Tahoe

Months before the pandemic struck, entrepreneur Joe Chura and his wife, Heather, closed on a snug mountain home north of Lake Tahoe. The Naperville, Illinois, couple fell in love with the area while vacationing.

Their timing was impeccable.

As COVID escalated, they isolated with their son and youngest daughter, gazing at starry nights, hiking a vast network of trails, playing golf, skiing, roasting “s’mores, and taking their Formula Bowrider 310 out for a lake spin.

“It was pretty cool–– a tranquil place for us,” says Chura, who is now selling his five-bedroom, five-bathroom mountain home for $5.2 million. The 4,008-square-foot sanctuary is set in Lahontan, a gated golf course community near Truckee, California. His family plans a new build in the Clear Creek golf community near Carson City, Nevada.

The couple bought the one-acre property a month before it finished construction in 2019. Designed by local architect Nicholas Sonder, the cedar-clad home features an expansive 1,400 square foot deck set with a grill and linear fire pit. The sunset view is of Northstar resort’s ski slopes.

Approaching the home down a long wooded driveway, a cluster of modernist boxed shapes appear––a fresh take on a traditional mountain lodge. At the rear, the shapes brace generous deck overhangs built from cedar planks.

The warmth of the exterior cedar wood, accented by stone, is framed by the lot’s stately pines. The woodsy look is furthered inside with rustic white oak used on floors and ceilings.

The glass-rich three-story home has four ensuite bedrooms and a bunk room that the Churas carved out of an existing boat garage. Just past the front door is the garage entrance to the home, as well as a mudroom that includes ski lockers and boot warmers. There’s also an elevator to upper floors, additionally accessed by a modern glass staircase.

Up those stairs are a family room, second primary bedroom and two additional bedrooms. A hall leads to the bunk room. Additional walkout decks are off two bedrooms, including the second primary suite.

The top floor’s main living area––an open kitchen, dining room, and living room with a fireplace and 15-foot vaulted ceiling––”is our favorite space,” Chura says. “It’s what sold the house, along with unobstructed views of the mountains.”

Bathrooms and the bunk room have hydronic heated floors, and the master guest bathroom has a soaking tub and rain shower. The kitchen and bathrooms feature Caesarstone countertops. The kitchen is serviced by Monogram stainless steel appliances. The 2.5-car garage includes a gym; there’s also a small golf cart garage space.

Interior-exterior Lutron lighting and a Sonos sound system are found throughout. The home is being sold with furnishings from Room & Board and Restoration Hardware.

Set in Martis Valley, the 900-acre Lahontan golf community launched in 1998 and now includes a lodge, restaurant, spa, tennis courts, fitness center, and other amenities amid forests, lakes, and meadows. (The land was featured in some episodes of the 1960s-era television series “Bonanza”; its fictional Ponderosa ranch edged Lake Tahoe.)

The acreage is set with two Tom Weiskopf courses, a nine-hole Par 3, and an 18-hole championship course. Weiskopf, a 1970s-era championship player nicknamed “The Towering Inferno” because of his 6’3″ height and temper, died at age 79 on August 20, 2022.

About 60% of the 500 Lahontan home sites are developed.

Recent Lahontan home sales have ranged between $2.5 and $5 million; those on the market span from $2.8 to $6.7 million, according to Tahoe Mountain Realty, which has listed the Churas’ home. To date, this year’s average home site price per sale is $626,000.

In August, Tahoe-Truckee real estate market saw an average price of $1,691 million, “a 3% increase over the same month in 2021 and a massive 40% over 2020,” according to Tahoe Mountain Realty’s monthly market report.

The area has long been treasured as a refuge, something the Churas experienced in spades during the pandemic. “We wanted to get our kids more into nature and get them off their devices,” says Chura of his home purchase.

Born on the east side of Chicago, Chura’s impressive entrepreneurial career path began at a Ford assembly plant where at age 20 he affixed door rubber, seatbelts and scuff plates on 1998 Ford Taurus automobiles. Seventy-two cars came down the line each hour, leaving seconds for Chura to gather materials––but also enough time to read a single paragraph from his college textbooks at his workstation.

One car assembled, one paragraph read. That leveraged time, accumulated over shifts, helped Chura graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business from Chicago’s Saint Xavier University. During his ten years with Ford, the latter five spent in management, he also chatted up higher-ups and learned operation fundamentals.

Chura later founded two disruptor companies that streamlined and furthered car dealerships’ digital market reach. In 2011 he started Launch Digital Marketing with two partners in his basement, and in 2013 Chura founded Dealer Inspire. The online automotive marketplace Inc. acquired both in 2018 for $165 million. Chura is now’s Chief Innovation Officer.

Along with heading motivational podcasts and events, Chura’s current venture launches on October 14, 2022: Go Brewing, a 6,000-square-foot brewery and event space in Naperville, Illinois. The 3,000-5,000 barrels he expects to produce will be low to non-alcoholic beers with substantially lower calories than marketplace leaders.


Tahoe Mountain Realty is an exclusive member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.