This Park City Home Was Built to Rigorous Standards
A sleek home, designed to sit lightly on the land, receives LEED Gold certification
Derek Israelsen Photography
Karen and Julie Chahine had been residents of Park City, Utah, for more than a decade when they decided to build a new house on a dramatic site overlooking the historic town. They were familiar with the area’s vagaries of weather and topography, and they knew what they wanted in terms of floor plan (a streamlined 4-bedroom, 2-office home) and aesthetic (modern). The fact that Julie has her own interior design business made the process all the more seamless.
The Chahines had developed their ideas over many years; once they located the site, the next step was selecting Sparano + Mooney Architecture. “Modern architecture is their specialty,” says Julie. “I wanted someone who knew green building, who would get the details right and who would allow me to be part of the process. It was a great collaborative effort.”
As architect Anne Mooney explains, “They thought we’d be a good fit with their vision of producing a modern home in a mountain setting, which is not typical for this area.” She recalls, “They had a beautiful site with a lot of topographic change and wonderful southern orientation. Sometimes we have to make decisions about working with sun exposure or views. We didn’t have to make that hard decision, because both the views and southern exposure aligned.”
This was especially serendipitous because the Chahines wanted not just a modern house but an energy-efficient—ideally LEED-certified—house. In this pursuit, passive solar would be crucial, and the southern orientation would be a key component of that strategy.
The 5,500-square-foot wood, glass and concrete pavilion is a study in transparency and minimalism that makes the most of the site’s sweeping views. The team strived to make the floor plan as efficient as the house itself, creating spaces that work well for empty nesters but can expand to accommodate a crowd, and shunning unnecessary or redundant rooms such as a media room or oversized bedrooms. They employed a consistent material palette for serenity—cedar, glass, black trim and board-formed concrete—in a seamless interior exterior transition. They worked to keep the rooms uncluttered, furnishing sparingly in a mixture of Midcentury Modern pieces and a few family antiques, warming the bedrooms with walnut flooring, and designing a floating staircase with open risers. They made the most of outdoor spaces: The primary terrace is accessed by huge 14-foot-high sliders from the living/kitchen/dining area and has sectional seating, a dining area and a fire pit. The master bedroom and Ken’s office both have private patios. Overall, the residence, designed to work with rather than dominate its site, simultaneously offers respite in its tranquility and drama in its openness to nature.
“One of the things I love about this project is that the architecture and interiors are speaking the same language,” says Mooney. “This was a great collaboration, even down to details, color schemes and artwork—all worked so perfectly with the architecture. Julie’s palette came from nature, and our materiality did too.”
“In a lot of modernist architecture, it’s all in what you don’t see; everything is minimalist,” explains Julie. “It’s a philosophy. Every year my husband and I figure out new ways to live with less. The house has actually perpetuated within us the need for less. We live well (we still have all our New Year’s decorations!), but we got rid of all the junk. Some of my walls could be a little more full, but I’m okay with that. It’s been an interesting experiment.”
Concrete, glass and cedar create a seamless indoor-outdoor experience.
The kitchen’s “cloud” brings task lighting down to a working level in a room with 14-foot-high ceilings. Rift white oak cabinetry is from Calls Design; glass tiles are by Daltile Color Wave; the chandelier is by Moooi Raimond Suspension Fixtures.
An open staircase promotes transparency and light. The fixture is Arteriors’ Imogene.
A neutral wool, jute and hemp rug and Eames womb chair and ottoman in brown leather keep the focus on the view from the private patio.
White oak built-ins and Yukon Blanco Silestone counters contrast dramatically with grass wallpaper in deep navy.