words and images by: Scot Zimmerman

The cost of new construction keeps rising; it’s now common in Park City to see construction costs ranging from $700 to $1,000 per square foot. Given these costs, it makes sense that more of us are now or soon will be living smaller in apartments, condominiums, townhomes, and cozy bungalows or cottages.

There’s an art to living well in smaller spaces. This week I am featuring a Park City condominium renovation by designer Kristin Rocke, owner of the Glass House in Salt Lake City.

The floor plan is a long rectangle with windows at the far end from the front entry (and along a short span by the living area) and stairs to two upstairs bedrooms and baths. It is a floor plan that I have seen in many other new buildings in Salt Lake. The challenges are breaking up the space without cluttering or becoming to confining, to make all the space usable to the homeowners’ lifestyle, to keep the lighting balanced and even, and on top of that to create something interesting, unique, and enjoyable. 

The first of two seating areas as you enter is a living room creates a strong presence with charcoal, black, and red uniting the space. The colors contrast against the white walls and ceiling and light wooden plank floors, an approach to make the space appear larger.

A ceiling support beam and partial wall separate the living area from the second seating area with more the flavor of a family room with a television, paired leather chairs, and sofa. You can just glimpse the edge of a desk positioned behind the sofa. I thought that works well for how many of us like to live: to have a laptop or notebook handy for getting on line and for taking care of paperwork while watching TV. The patio is just out the sliding glass doors.

Just opposite the sofa and desk is a spacious dining spot that is large enough for a good-sized dinner party or a holiday meal with the rear banquette providing seating for five or six while not taking up much space in the floor plan. The kitchen has informal seating at the island, plenty of counter space, and a separate pantry.

The ceiling beam again separates space: this time between the kitchen and dining. The spaces feel distinct, but the traffic flow is easy and doesn’t cross into the seating areas for when the homeowners host a big group.

The ceiling of the master bedroom is open to the rafters, and the blond wood of the ceiling adds to the openness. The window coverings are similar to the lower level for continuity and cover the glass sliders to the balcony.

The challenge for photographing the home was to make the space feel in the photos as it does in person. Too wide or too long a lens can change that sense. Also, lighting is key to the design, and I worked to augment with my lights as minimally as possible.

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