Armed with a vision and an A-list team of pros, Phil and Mauri Hansen create a Holladay home designed for entertaining in chic style and absolute comfort.
By Brad Mee, Photos by Russell Chandler Ford
When Phil and Mauri Hansen decided to build their new home in Salt Lake, they committed to a concept: Create a house centered around entertaining.
Phil’s position as CEO of Salt Lake-based Clearlink requires the couple to host parties and meetings for clients and associates, and their new home would have to accommodate gatherings with style and ease. This goal, and Mauri’s innate aesthetic sense, drove the project’s design. “Phil knew how the home would work, and I knew how it would look,” she says.
The Hansens enlisted an A-list team to create the entertaining-centric home. Phil first signed on friend Brandon LeRoy, a principal of Jackson LeRoy, a premier builder based in Salt Lake City. LeRoy in turn brought on architect John Shirley of Think Architecture and interior designers Elizabeth Wixom and Kimberly Rasmussen of Elizabeth Kimberly Design to the project.
Landscape pro Jayson King of Landform Design Group rounded out the highly collaborative line-up. “The team was very creative and had amazing synergy,” LeRoy says.
Much of this group’s success can be credited to members seeing eye-to-eye on key objectives: The home must fit the owners’ lives, reflect Mauri’s sophisticated yet natural style and suit the home’s established Holladay-area neighborhood. “We wanted to create a more contemporary home, but not cliche modern ‘box-on-box’ forms with sliding glass doors,” Shirley explains.
Outwardly, a unique mix of pitched, hipped and flat roofs help give the house a look that’s contemporary yet complements the neighbors’ traditional homes. While its outward appearance is dynamic, the home’s inwardly focused design makes it truly unique.
Many houses look out onto views, but this one looks into its own environment, says Shirley, who designed the 8,000-square-foot home and a separate guesthouse around an enclosed plaza-like patio anchored by a large pool. “This is the primary focal point for every single space in the home,” Shirley says.
The dwelling’s largest and most commanding space, the living room, not only flows into the open kitchen and dining areas, but also onto the broad patio luxuriously furnished with dining and lounge areas. It’s an ideal set-up for entertaining, whether for a small group or a cocktail party of dozens of guests as well as, often, a band. This seamless indoor-outdoor connection captivates from the moment guests enter the house.
Once through the pivoting walnut glass front door, visitors step into a conservatory-like entry with glass walls that visually expand the space. A back wall of saw-cut limestone finished with a scraped surface—one of the most striking materials featured indoors and out—grounds the room with raw, natural texture. “It adds a level of uniqueness to the home,” Shirley says. Stepping from this entry into the home’s grand living area presents the interior’s most memorable moment.
“It’s the money shot,” says Wixom, describing the view through the living room into the open kitchen where the eye is drawn to a centered range hood and back wall visually framed and balanced with two doors leading outside. The aligned design adds comforting symmetry to the home’s more asymmetric architecture, Rasmussen explains.
For ease of movement throughout the open space, the designers maintained generous pathways around large, floating furniture groupings and the kitchen’s two islands. For dramatic effect, Wixom and Rasmussen anchored the living room’s grand volume with a fireplace wall of natural walnut that travels upward and across the soaring ceiling. Here and elsewhere in the home, overhead treatments trump those underfoot.
“This house is about the ceilings, not the floors,” Wixom says. The walnut references exterior cedar surfaces and complements the room’s naturally finished marble, white oak floors and gold-toned hardware. “Fine-tuning the finishes was like a dance,” Rasmussen recalls. “We worked with countless matte finishes to get the raw and natural look we wanted.”
This same attention to detail continues in the home’s private quarters. In the luxurious master suite, for example, a unique panel treatment dresses the headboard wall and forms a suspended ceiling above.
An identical element crowns the adjoining sitting area where views of the patio and King’s beautifully designed landscape infuse the intimate space with serenity and light.
The secluded master bathroom—detailed with “clouds” of sheetrock and marble slab hanging overhead—features a glass-enclosed shower and freestanding tub that overlook private garden vistas and are washed in tranquil, natural light.
From the spectacular landscaping to large, open entertaining spaces and the intimate rooms designed as private retreats, this is truly a home that is meant to be shared, lived in and enjoyed. “We love to create and this was such a rewarding experience,” says Mauri, who worked hand-in-hand with the team from start to finish. “We couldn’t be happier.”
Interior designers Kimberly Rasmussen and Elizabeth Wixom
Interior Design: Elizabeth Kimberly Design
Architect: THINK Architecture
Builder: Jackson & Leroy
Landscaping: Landform Design Group
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Extraordinary for Utah…dreadful anywhere else.