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Many renovated Park City homes had humble beginnings.

We’re all curious about the way other people live. Witnessing the ultimate in craftsmanship, design, and technology in local “dream homes” is irresistible. Since Park City is known for some of the largest and most outstanding homes in the state, as well as some of the best examples of historic preservation, our three summer home tours are events not to be missed.

Park City Historical Society’s Historic Homes Tour

June 16, 2012
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tickets are $15 (or $10 for museum members) and can be purchased in advance at the Park City Museum or online. Tour headquarters located at High West Distillery, 705 Park Ave, parkcityhistory.org.

Discover the charm of Park City’s past when the Park City Historical Society and Museum presents its 14th annual Historic Homes Tour. Ten properties will be open for this self-guided walking tour along Park Avenue, with museum members serving as volunteers in each home. Every year the tour focuses on one of the historic neighborhoods surrounding Main Street, part of the city’s Mining Boom Era Residences Thematic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Museum staff members scour newspapers, census entries, obituaries, tax records, and their own archives to piece together the facts that tell the story of each home and its colorful past inhabitants.

Once the grand boulevard where well-to-do merchants and business leaders built some of the town’s largest homes, Park Avenue was also the location of important public buildings like churches and schools that still stand today. The beautifully restored Gregor House at 305 Park Avenue, which will be open for the tour, is an 1896 example of a rare two-story variation on the popular pyramid house, named for the distinctive shape of its roof. The home was once a boardinghouse owned by an Irish saloon keeper and later served as the home of the local dentist’s family of 10. Using early photos of the house, the current owners restored it to its original appearance in 1991.

Fitting modern life and technology into these historic structures can be quite a challenge. These homes, erected on steep 25-foot lots, were built when there were no garages, when bathrooms were outhouses, and when kitchens were often lean-to’s at the back of the structure. The tour homes incorporate innovative design solutions, modern restoration techniques, and creative storage solutions.

Museum Executive Director Sandra Morrison says, “Historic preservation happens at the local level. Opening the doors to these historic houses allows everyone in Park City the opportunity to explore the lives of not only the current residents but those that lived in these homes 100 years ago. As the stories come alive, this personal experience connects us to Park City, creating a real community.”

Park City Realtors’ Luxury Home Tour 

Aug. 11, 2012
8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tickets are $45 in advance, $50 the day of the tour. Parking, registration, and shuttle bus departure in Canyons Resort parking lot.

Expect to be wowed at the 21st annual Luxury Home Tour, when the Park City Board of Realtors opens outrageously spectacular homes to the public. Plan on spending most of the day exploring the six stunning featured homes, all located within the private residential community of The Colony in White Pine Canyon. Guests park once and are shuttled from home to home at their own pace, spending as much time as they’d like experiencing each expansive estate. There is live music in every home and a display of art by local Utah artists. This year, tour-goers will also enjoy a complimentary lunch and entertainment at the picturesque yurt by White Pine Lake.

Since 2000, the tour has benefited Park City’s Peace House, an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and abuse.

Mostly the second homes of entrepreneurs, business moguls, and wealthy philanthropists, these luxurious estates serve as family or corporate retreats. Ranging in value from $4 million to $26 million, they represent architectural styles from rustic stone-and-timber lodges to sleek “mountain contemporary” compounds, all situated to take advantage of the jaw-dropping views. The owners’ personal diversions and entertainment styles are reflected in wine cellars, outdoor kitchens, basketball courts, bowling alleys, poker dens, and home theaters.

Tour chair Sandra Vogt touts the tour’s philosphy. “These are not just expensive homes, but homes with a lot of personality,” she says. “Art collections, artifacts from world travels, rare antique furniture, celebrity photos, and sports memorabilia make for interesting conversation pieces. If you want to see the lifestyles of the rich and famous, this is it.”

Park City Area Home Builders’ Showcase of Homes

Aug. 18, 19, 25, 26, and Sept. 1–3, 2012
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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State-of-the-art kitchens are a highlight of area home tours.

Tickets are $15 at designated homes, $12 if purchased online; pcshowcaseofhomes.com.

“The Showcase of Homes is a hands-on experience,” says Geri Strand, executive officer of the 200-member Park City Area Home Builders Association. Every summer since 1994, her organization has shown off 12 to 15 just-built Summit and Wasatch County homes, some so new the paint is still drying. One ticket allows visitors entry into any of the homes on any of the dates, and in any order, but with only one entry per home. Attendees set their own pace and drive to each of the homes themselves.

The homes on the tour are real homes for real people. “These are not spec homes,” says Strand. “The owners have worked with the builders, explaining their unique dreams and ideas.” The collaboration among architect, owner, designer, and builder is evident in the personality of each home. Highland Group architect Tim Furner says, “The Showcase of Homes is highly influential. The public gets to see, touch, and experience new trends in home building and interior design that they’ll want to copy in their own homes.”

One of the best things about the tour is the opportunity to talk with the homebuilders, architects, and designers who are on site. Garrett Strong, general contractor with Tall Pines Construction, has participated in the tour for seven years. “It’s a good way to get your name out there,” he says. “I get the benefit of talking to people and letting them see my product. It’s exciting to find out what they like.

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