At the foot of Mount Olympus, classic style meets comfort in Luke and Holley Burbank’s new family home in Salt Lake City.

At first, Luke and Holley Burbank just wanted to dip their toes in the pool. When the couple moved to Salt Lake’s Olympus Cove neighborhood, they weren’t ready to dive in and build a new home for their large family. They needed to test the waters. The nomadic clan had previously lived downtown, in Sandy and twice in the Harvard-Yale area, so the Burbanks purchased a 1952 rambler-style house in “The Cove” to try the enclave on for size. If the area wasn’t a good fit, the couple would sell the property and move on. Or, if they loved the neighborhood (which they did), they’d tear the old rambler down and build new on the site. “We quickly realized that this is where we wanted to put down roots,” Luke explains.

Enter Tom and Cara Fox. As principals of The Fox Group, they had designed and built a beautiful house for some friends of Luke and Holley, so when the Burbanks decided to create their own forever home in the Olympus Cove neighborhood, they turned to the Foxes. 

“Luke and Holley wanted a home that would be large enough to easily accommodate their family of nine, yet still be cozy and relaxing for everyday living,” Cara says. Luke says simply, “We really wanted a comfortable place where we could gather and be together.” 

In response, Tom and Cara fashioned a stately, two-story brick house with breathtaking views of Mount Olympus and Neffs Canyon in back and a sweeping lawn and lovely gardens in front. “They wanted the exterior to feel classic and understated,” says Tom, so he and his team graced the architecture with harmonious symmetry and subtle, well-thought-out details. A welcoming portico boasts simply trimmed columns, while two front-facing gabled forms feature intricate-yet-restrained brickwork and window-framing pop-outs crowned with dentil molding. There are no ornate flourishes, no decorative wainscoting and no showy copper rooflines. “It’s simple and timeless,” Cara says.

The same no-fuss aesthetic continues inside, where Cara focused on filling the large spaces with comfort and character without introducing excess or pretense. “Holley wanted a cozy yet minimalist look,” she explains. To that end, Cara and Tom began by adding their signature millwork and trim details to create interest and intrigue without visual clutter. In the slightly formal entry, for example, classic raised panels add depth and pattern to the two-story walls. Tongue-and-groove planking wraps the sky-blue primary bedroom, while in the off-the-entry music room, similar planking teams with raised panels and moody dark paint to help deliver an unexpected shot of drama to the space’s walls. “They’re really a work of art,” Cara says. 

To ensure comfort flows from room to room, the Foxes threaded natural materials throughout. White oak appears in planked floors, masterfully detailed ceilings, hand-crafted cabinets and select furnishings. “We chose a natural, matte finish that allows the wood’s warmth and beauty to shine,” Cara says. Natural stone recurs as well. In the kitchen, countertops and an expansive range wall boast beautifully veined Carrara marble, as do the primary and guest bathrooms. In the enormous great room, Utah Jericho limestone clads a towering, two-story fireplace that anchors the large space with its mass and unique shape. “Pulling in local materials makes a home extraordinarily special,” Cara explains.

For furnishings, Cara countered the great room’s colossal volume with a wealth of generously sized, ultra-comfy seating pieces—one of Luke’s must-haves. Extra-deep, back-to-back sofas face both the open kitchen and family room areas. A third roomy sofa and two oversized bobbin chairs face off over a six-foot-square coffee table. “We needed large furnishing to make the huge space feel cozy,” the designer says. Everyone’s go-to seat is a large, custom daybed that cozies up to the fireplace. “Holley and the kids love to pile up together on it in front of the fire,” Luke explains. 

Expansive windows also topped the homeowners’ want list, and Tom delivered with abundant, oversized panes throughout the house. The most memorable is inarguably a two-story wall of glass doors and windows that floods the great room with natural light and a spectacular vista of Mount Olympus. “There’s not a day that goes by when we don’t stand at the windows and admire the views,” Luke says. 

Today, the Burbanks are thrilled that they took the plunge and built their family’s dream home in Olympus Cove. Luke credits the Foxes for a gratifying experience and extraordinary outcome. “It was a very collaborative process, and they made it extremely easy for us,” he explains. “Tom and Cara are incredible at what they do.”  

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Brad Mee is the Editor-in-Chief of Utah Style & Design Magazine.