In Deer Valley, Dennis and Elke Levine conjure a modern vision of mountain style, captivating with clean lines, bold architecture and stunning views.
By Natalie Taylor, Photos by Scot Zimmerman
Call it love at first sight. When homeowners Dennis and Elke Levine initially visited the Deer Valley lot, they were instantly smitten and started envisioning their new home there. “We have a 270-degree view,” says Dennis of the house they built upon the land. “From our kitchen we can see Deer Valley, Park City, The Canyons and Red Stone. And because the home borders permanent open space, our view corridor cannot be blocked.”
The generous views inspired the home’s bold architecture: a dramatic roofline, pop-up windows wrapped in steel and leaning walls merge to shape the dynamic dwelling. The 5,000-square-foot home, designed by architect Jack Thomas, boasts a series of rectangular forms joined at sharp geometric angles.
“The site and the vistas around the property imply two axis in the house—one rotated from the other to maximize views,” Thomas says. “The architecture unfolds the views by working with the sun angles, weather patterns and adjacent properties.”
Inside the home, geometric angles are clearly delineated with wide paths that facilitate movement and flow throughout. “These paths are the heart of the home,” Thomas says. A floating staircase framed with a sky-reaching window that extends the length of the staircase accentuates the home’s openness.
“The floating staircase is part of the paths, and the large three story window has a way of dramatizing the circulation and knitting the levels of the house together,” he says. Throughout, floor-to-ceiling window walls capture the vast mountain vistas and help shape the home’s modern design as do clean lines and keenly edited architectural elements including tall, beveled baseboards, stringers that support the staircase and cantilevered walls that fascinate.
“The leaning walls are a measure of form,” Thomas says. “They let the roof fold over the house, which breaks the elements in the façade to create interest.”
Throughout the interior, Elke directed design. “I chose a clean, simple, monochromatic color palette based on gray, white and black,” she says. She layered texture-rich reclaimed wood beams, 10-inch white oak plank flooring and pioneer sandstone to add visual intrigue while incorporating fabrics including felt, linen and wool to warm the modern spaces.
Her minimalist approach is the foundation for both aesthetics and function. “There’s no clutter, it’s just calm and livable,” she says. Custom-designed and imported furniture from Italy accentuate the clean architectural lines. “I am passionate about Italian design,” Elke says. “They are so far ahead in terms of fabrics, textures— everything.” She selected Poliform cabinets, for example, to furnish the kitchen, bathroom and media room, adding quality, rich finishes and modular design.
Dennis and Elke enlisted local artisans to create one-of- a-kind elements. “This area has great craftsman,” Elke says. “They get so excited about doing new things and are so proud of the finished product.” For example, RC Ornamental crafted the cold-rolled steel around the fireplaces as well as the metal work on the main fireplace that features a custom-designed steel door that hides the television when it is not in use. The Levines’ collaborative, creative vision for modern features brought harmony to the home, indoors and out.
“We love the Rocky Mountains, but we wanted to design our home with something eduring,” explains Elke of their decision to go modern. “Europeans do contemporary because it is always in style.” Elke’s attraction to modern European design comes naturally. Born and raised in Germany, she lived in London before moving, at age 19, to Venice Beach where she met Dennis who worked in the photography industry. They married, had children and lived on the East Coast before moving to Park City nearly a decade ago.
“Park City is a year-round place,” Elke says. “Skiing, hiking, biking—there are just a couple months of bad weather, but the rest of the time it’s just perfect.” Now retired, Dennis teaches skiing to children at Park City Mountain Resort and volunteers at the National Ability Center. Meanwhile, Elke create raku pottery in her home studio. There, like elsewhere in the house, every square inch is utilized and enjoyed.
“We wanted rooms we could use on a daily basis—no excess,” explains Dennis. “We use every room, every day.” It’s a modern approach to living that, appropriately enough, the couple passionately practices in a very modern home.