For years, I have wanted to photograph a book that shows there is a distinctive Park City home style. As Park City has grown up as a four-season destination, the home design and building community has evolved to capture the area’s unique place and lifestyle. If I ever go forward with my book concept, I would definitely include the home I am featuring today.
Photos by Scot Zimmerman
The home’s location is a valley accessed by Old Ranch Road. It is still being farmed, reminding me and other early arrivals of the land when we first arrived. The active outdoor lifestyle is evident: cyclists, runners, and dogs going by on the network of trails, and the views reach up to the now famous ski runs. The family selected a Park City team with deep local roots to design and build their home: Otto-Walker Architects; Aerie Construction (Mike Mercer); and King Design Group (Michele King).
Park City has its adage about how people come for the winters but end up staying for the summers. This home anticipates summer enjoyment. Each of the living areas has its own access to the patio. The patios are designed like an interior open plan where each area is individually defined and furnished, but the patios connect as a whole. The deep overhangs protect the windows from the summer glare while still allowing for winter solar gain.
Starting from the entry, I will walk you through the home. The entry introduces the material palette of stone, wood, metal, and glass. Care for managing snow load and placing wood where it won’t be easily damaged can be observed. The pivot door swings open for a dramatic entry. Looking through the glass in the pivot door and the adjacent panel, you can see to the backyard and mountains. This transparency from the entry to the opposite views is a signature of Otto-Walker Architects, something they do to maintain and reinforce the sense of place.
Passing through the front door, you are met with this view of the living area. The roof pitch and ceiling wood in the entry carry through to the living area, uniting the spaces and in doing so, uniting the indoors and outdoors. The concrete fireplace and long linear hearth and mantle bring a timeless contemporary aspect to the design. Note how Michele King’s furniture selections carefully follow the horizontal lines set in the room by the hearth and the window mullions, furthering the clean lines of timeless contemporary design.
Returning to the entry, the wall to the left as you enter has a rectangular cut-out with a deep bench through which you can view the dining room and staircase, orienting the arriving guest to the layout of the home. The flawless woodwork is so sculptural, I found myself not tempted to sit down on the bench.
So you can feel more oriented to the home’s layout, this photo looks at the dining room from the opposite side, toward the opening to the entry. You can catch a view of the living area and its fireplace. On the opposite side of the wall by the console table with a lamp is the kitchen.
There are so many things to like about this kitchen, but the split in the kitchen island impressed me with its practicality. Both homeowners cook, and this allows each of them their own workspace and sinks with easy access to the cooktop, ovens and refrigerator. Additionally, the split in the island works well for flow by halving the distance around the island and creating an easy path to the door to the patio. It also provides more accessible storage from the sides.
I’ll show you just a few more spaces that I think you will find interesting. The casual recreation space and bar are located on the main floor adjacent to the kitchen. (On sloped lots, this area is most often found on the lower level.) An advantage to the main level is easy access to the pool, spa, and outdoor patio space. Note how little the views are obstructed.
Off the upstairs hallway is a bonus space, an area enclosed in construction not anticipated in the earlier drawings. The window seat and surrounding shelves make it both a children’s reading area and a music room. The colors make it especially inviting.
The guest bunkroom has two innovations I really like. One is the configuration of the stairway, which allows entry to the far side of the bed, away from the edge. Second, the drapes on each bunk allow for privacy and shutting off lights for those who might have a different sleeping schedule than their bunkhouse mates.
There is a sense of joy in living and celebrating life in this home that I associate with the lead architect, Mark Walker. Mark passed away unexpectedly this past weekend. Otto-Walker was one of my first clients when I returned in 1990 from working out of state. Life, family, friends, celebrations, and connections were the heart of my friendship with Mark, and I always see it in his architecture.
To his wife Stacey and family, his Otto-Walker family, and his many friends, I am so sorry for your loss. So many of us will miss him. I especially will miss his uplifting enthusiasm and the joy he found in life.
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