In Park City, Scott Jaffa and Kristin Rocke team to create a fresh vision of modern mountain style.

By Brad Mee, Photos by Scot Zimmerman

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Who claims that mountains and modern design don’t mix? Who says that in Park City, bigger and bulkier is best or that white isn’t right. Certainly not architect Scott Jaffa or interior designer Kristine Rocke. These pros teamed to create a hilltop home in the Colony community that is as surprising as it is spectacular.

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Jaffa, principal of Jaffa Group in Park City, used the wooded lot as inspiration for his design of the unique ski-in/ski-out residence. He created a soaring roof that opens to views and used shiplap siding to soften the architecture and establish horizontal lines visually linking the house to the property’s grade.

Jaffa utilized stone, visually eased with lichen and moss, to anchor the dwelling and visually organize its sections. Corrugated metal serves as an aesthetic connector between the garage and main house and sculpture-like wood-framed columns encase metal railings.

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Exterior colors mimic those of the surrounding aspen bark and scrub oak to help nestle the house into its site. “Every element in a house is a design opportunity,” Jaffa says. “You don’t want to leave anything to chance.”  His comprehensive approach to design and building is broadcast loud and clear inside the home as well.

The light-filled entry ousts any thoughts that this may be a typical mountain home. A contemporary composition of untrimmed windows and a single door inset with horizontal glass panes opens to a space performing less as a foyer than as a vantage point where guests catch first sight of the mountain views filling the great room beyond.

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“People stop dead in their tracks the minute they walk into the entry and gape out onto the hill,” Rocke says. To fully capture the million-dollar panorama, Jaffa curved the roof on the back of the house and positioned decks at the home’s ends rather than in the center. “Decks off the middle of the house would have interrupted the views,” he explains.

Common rather than private spaces occupy the majority of the 6,800 square-foot home, which is modest by Colony standards, Jaffa says. He devoted much of the interior to living areas, less for bedrooms and none for space-wasting hallways. “I put the square footage where people use it; we don’t live and entertain in bedrooms and bathrooms.”

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Jaffa integrated expected features in a condensed format. In the wide-open great room, for example, multiple sitting areas boost the living area’s functionality. A wet bar, pantry and working area merge in the nearby kitchen and a curved, single-level island performs double duty as a counter and breakfast bar for the kitchen and the dining areas. “This house lives larger than it is because of the absence of extraneous rooms and the way it flows,” Rocke says.

A narrow palette of materials and colors unifies interior spaces and defines the décor.  “Architecture is all about contrast and balance,” says Jaffa who juxtaposed dark, wire-brushed oak floors with smooth, white walls. He also painted window frames black to replicate steel and clad both fireplaces in stone to connect the interior with its natural surrounding.

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“One of the hardest parts of my job is being an editor,” says Jaffa who admits he errs on the side of simplicity. For this reason, he recruited Rocke to select furnishings, rugs and wall coverings that help soften and shape the interior’s captivating, contemporary design.

“People are unshackling themselves from strict ideas of what mountain style is about,” Rocke says. “Today, they want to live with clean and modern design but in a mountain location.” She responded to this desire in the great room by composing a mix of fabrics and low-profile furnishings that define and delineate the open space without detracting from the views.

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“The clean-lined forms and the contrasting colors make them work together,” says Rocke who fostered Jaffa’s consistent interplay of light and dark with her selections. “The dialogue is compelling and interesting. If this room’s furnishings were beige-on-beige, the effect would be too subtle,” she explains. For dramatic effect, Rocke gave both levels daring shots of bold color, organic materials, sparkling Lucite and spirited wallpaper.

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“All the details reinforce why one home feels better than another home,” Jaffa explains. Rocke agrees. “This house feels fresh and current,” she says. “The look is unexpected.” As for the reaction to the out-of-the box design, Rocke adds, ”People are so excited to know that they can create and live with this kind of style in Utah’s mountains.”