A new Park City home connects with its mountain setting through dynamic architecture and clean lined, comfort-forward interiors.
By Natalie Taylor, Photos by Scot Zimmerman
If God had a ski-in, ski-out home, this would be it,” says architect Michael Upwall, who designed this remarkable modern mountain home located in The Colony at White Pine Canyon. Razor sharp geometric lines, breezeways formed by leaning glass walls, and expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that capture stunning mountain views create drama inside and out.
“The owner selected this six-acre property because it features a meadow surrounded by trees,” says Upwall, founder and owner of Upwall Design. “The home is like a winding origami. Instead of building the home right in the middle of the meadow, each room is tucked into open spaces along the tree line, essentially surrounding and embracing the meadow, and the volume of each room is defined by those spaces.” These architecturally unique areas are separated by two breezeways that connect either side of the home, creating the sense that each structure is placed by itself in the forest.
The reaching roofline mimics the angles of the mountain peak. “I designed the home to stretch up and pay homage to the setting and to invite the view into the space,” Upwall says. Every aspect of the home embraces nature, breaking down barriers between the interior and exterior. Designed around the meadow, the driveway follows a path through the forest and then crosses a stream before arriving at an entry built around a 50-foot fir tree.
To mirror the spectacular mountain setting, Upwall shaped the dynamic architecture with sharp angles. “Using leaning walls and glass windows makes it seem like you’ve captured a moment,” he says. “It’s as if you caught something mid-flight.” The breezeway from the main house to the master suite, encased in glass to provide expansive views of the forested landscape, serves as a dynamic natural bridge rather than a static transitional space.
A second breezeway located on the opposite end of the home leads from the garage to a ski room. “This creates a unique architectural element and a feeling of separation from the main area of the home,” explains designer Rion Locke with LMK Interior Design. “It’s similar to the pod design of the mid-century modern era. When paired with the right furnishings, it accomplishes a nod to the ‘60s without being overpowering.”
“The architecture is so progressive,” says Mark Kizerian, also with LMK Interior Design. “This house really pushes the edge of mountain modern design, there’s nothing else like it in Park City.” At the center of the home is a breathtaking staircase made of solid walnut treads that cantilever off a central tube steel I-beam spine and appear to float in front of a window wall. “The glass allows you to see through the treads to maximize the experience of the great room below,” Upwall says. “It celebrates the ascension of life.”
To make the large house—totaling 9,000 square feet with nine bathrooms and six bedrooms—feel cozy, Upwall created sunk-in, multi-level living spaces including the family room which is connected to the great room by a two-sided fireplace, built on an angle. Transitioning materials used on the exterior, like the indigenous stone on the fireplace, into the interior creates a cohesive design that thrives through carefully edited finishes.
The LMK design team, for example, masterfully paired dark woods with light, textured fabrics. “We used a neutral color palette and then created drama with contrast,” says Kizerian. “Gray and beige or ‘greige,’ is accented with dark espresso, bronze or rust colors that relate to the flooring and add warmth and richness.”
A modern aesthetic thrives room-to-room, including in the kitchen where the cabinets’ quarter-sawn walnut, cut on the horizontal, foster the keen, contemporary design prevalent throughout. “The warm color and texture in the natural wood grain balances the clean architectural lines but also makes sense in a mountain environment,” explains designer Richard Miller, of LMK Interior Design.
In the end, the talented team’s goal was realized. Dynamic architecture and brilliantly executed interiors create a home that not only embraces its spectacular mountain setting, but also becomes part of it.