A new home for a young family takes its place in a secret enclave east of downtown Salt Lake.
There is always another amazing neighborhood to discover in Salt Lake City, and my most recent discovery is a network of narrow alleyways and small, charming century-old homes in an area south of South Temple. It was explained to me that they were originally the homes for people who staffed the nearby mansions. It has evolved to be an unpretentious, close-knit, low-key, friendly neighborhood. The front-facing closely clustered residences reminded me of the community designs in Ross Chapin’s Pocket Neighborhood book, a neighborhood design I find very appealing because it encourages people to interact and to look out for one another.
A couple came to Salt Lake’s Renovation Design Group (Annie Vernon Schwemmer & Ann Bennion Robinson) to remodel a home they had found in this neighborhood; a find made more significant because of the other family members who live on the street. Annie Schwemmer recounts that upon assessment, the home was not sufficiently structurally sound and recommended not moving forward with the renovation. Instead, the couple demolished it and commissioned Renovation Design Group to design a new home. As you can see from the opening photo and the one above, there were design challenges with the short setback from the narrow street that must provide parking, the narrow width, and creating a design that would fit into an established neighborhood, much like introducing a new person to an established group of friends. The new design maintains the roof pitch of the surrounding homes and introduces a subtle modern sensibility marked by simplicity and subtraction of materials and elements so that the design doesn’t overwhelm. The slate blue of the exterior and red door were careful selections.
At the entry, one meets the crisp modern lines of the interior. To the right is the stairway to the second level and a seating level above behind the blackened steel rails. On the main level, an open plan unfolds. Bluebird Renovations of Salt Lake (Zac Hicks) constructed the home. Susan Taggert Design of Salt Lake was the interior designer, and she consistently seems to be able to instill a lively backdrop for living that is very specific for each client.
The ample windows and glass doors brighten the entry with light, patterns, and shadows.
Adjacent to the front door is a steel-framed glass enclosure initially planned for a home office. The custom designed and fabricated glass wall folds back similar to doors opening to patio spaces. With the arrival of children, the use shifted from an office to a toddler play area.
Custom cobalt blue sectionals frame the living area around a fireplace with charcoal hexagonal and star tiles. A bench to the left of the fireplace adds additional seating. One of the considerations for creating social spaces to accommodate so many is that family members live in three nearby small homes on the street, and this home is the natural gathering spot for them to all get together.
The dining area is adjacent to the kitchen. The white cabinets and appliances set off the vivid cobalt blue kitchen island. With the holidays approaching, one can see how flexible with space is for adding more tables and accommodating quite a houseful. Additionally, doors open to connect with the side patio and more seating for warm weather entertaining. With a family member next door, the patio area is shared in the side yards.
The large windows of the mudroom bring light into the rear of the home.
The powder room on the main level deserves a special mention. The walls and floors are completely tiled, including rounded corners. The floor has a drain for the shower head, reminding me of the practical bathrooms on trains and ferries.
Upstairs, in addition to the primary bedroom and bath, are two bedrooms and a bath. Glass doors from the primary bedroom lead out to a private balcony.
The primary bath features more unique tilework, plenty of storage, a shower, and a Japanese soaking tub.
There is also a lower floor that I didn’t photograph with a guest apartment.
From the rear you can see some of the features I mentioned earlier. A patio is to the side, connected by disappearing doors. It benefits from the side yard space of the adjacent family member’s home. The balcony off the second-level bedroom is wide. Despite the compactness of the neighborhood, the yard is sufficiently large for a grassy play space.
There are so many choices in how we can live. This neighborhood appeals to me because of its connections, and at the same time there’s separateness and privacy, as you can see in the photo of the rear yard. It is a great combination in an urban area that is walkable and bikeable in all directions.
See more Photo Friday galleries from Scot Zimmerman here.