When her clients, Australia-based Chris and Bronwen Gleeson, decided to build on a rare vacant lot in Park City’s Old Town residential district, Sheri Russell was presented with a challenge: creating a multigenerational-friendly, amenity-heavy design within a relatively small 4,000 square feet. But Russell, who has a genius for integrating functional elements into architecture, used every trick in her arsenal to create an original, industrial-inspired gathering space that lives much larger than its actual size. “I’m a big proponent of making every inch count,” Russell declares. “Space constraints are a typical part of Old Town living.”
The foyer’s blackened steel–inlaid concrete floor sets the home’s tone and style as soon as guests set foot in the street-level entry. “Metal is one of my favorite mediums, from structure to even the smallest design details,” Russell explains. “It’s both durable and timeless and adds drama with the juxtaposition of dark against white or gray surfaces.” Shots of poppy red in the area rug and wall-mounted flower vases cheerfully punctuate the space and draw visitors to the home’s centerpiece: a soaring staircase constructed of pale Indiana limestone walls, floating Belgium smoked-oak plank steps, and sleek glass-and-steel railings. Light, pouring down through side windows, illuminates the striking passageway from here through its terminus on the fourth floor. “The journey is as important as the destination,” Russell says.
Elsewhere on the ground level, custom cabinets conceal a convenient laundry and sink, storage, and a dumbwaiter that zooms groceries up from the garage to the kitchen. Frosted glass doors on both the mechanical room and bath belie their functions and add light. In the bath, grass cloth walls and a petrified wood basin lend an organic contrast to the steel vanity surround. The compact screening room is outfitted with one of the home’s many sliding barn doors, cleanly hiding the state-of-the-art AV equipment while delivering an uncompromised theater-quality experience.
Russell’s penchant for detail and exquisite finishes is showcased in the second-floor great room’s intimate living, dining, and kitchen areas. A grid of steel-wrapped beams creates a coffered ceiling, dotted with a pattern of black metal lighting wraps. Ebonized walnut cabinets on one side of the living area provide beautiful display space and storage. “One of my design signatures is the use of built-ins, which I think is the key to seamlessness,” Russell says. Floor-to-ceiling windows, divided by steel-beam casings, occupy the opposite wall. And the fireplace, surrounded by hand-chiseled limestone from St. Petersburg and more black steel beams, is located opposite the kitchen. Broken black lines are repeated in the area rug, centered with a custom steel-and-glass coffee table. Blues from a stunning snow-scene painting and in throw pillows scattered on a creamy, low-profile sectional sofa soften the room’s black and white architectural elements.
A wall of mosaic tiles in dappled grays anchors the sleek kitchen. The cabinetry—including the dumbwaiter door—is faced with frosted glass “to keep a lightness,” Russell says. Unusual counter-level windows allow in both fresh air and light. The facing island is a sweep of quartzite capped with black steel. A spectacular, three-tiered, crystal teardrop chandelier from London hangs over the circular dining table, refracting light from the bay windows.
Located adjacent to the great room, the second-floor den is a sophisticated yet casual combination of black and grays, heightened with bold red pillows and accessories. “Adding one color enables you to get a dramatic effect that is changeable,” Russell says. An antique factory cart serves as a coffee table, lending a modern warehouse vibe. “Since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by all things industrial,” Russell claims. “It’s a major design element in nearly every project I work on. Reconstituting old products gives spaces a sense of history and, in Old Town, historical significance.”
Thoughtful details on the third-floor landing offer a sense of arrival. A large abstract painting hangs on a rolling track to cleverly hide a second laundry, and a trio of circular Edison bulb chandeliers illuminates upholstered steel benches. In the office, floor-to-ceiling steel-clad windows wrap around the built-in desk, creating a crisp, light-filled workspace. “When the architectural details are interesting, there is less need for cluttering spaces with decorations,” Russell notes. The master bedroom’s symmetrical canopy ceiling, characterized by beams and up-lights, lends an airy spaciousness to the room.
A natural Belgium linen upholstered wall serves as a soothing headboard for a bed dressed with tone-on-tone textures. In the master bath, night-lights dot the riff-sawn oak cabinet mouldings, and mirrors hung on a sliding track cover—or reveal—a window. The steam shower room, which includes a soaking tub and tiny “framed view” window, is tiled in pale shades of variegated limestone.
Finally, on the fourth floor, a mountain-facing bunkroom/playroom is the perfect private lookout for grandchildren. The room’s dusty blue walls contrast with the black and metallic steel bunk beds, adorned with quilted bedding reminiscent of movers’ blankets. In the adjoining bath—located behind yet another sliding barn door—Russell’s signature symphony of textures and custom finishes includes glazed and bleached walnut paneling, stained glass tile, French limestone floors, and honed quartzite counters. A pullout platform that appears to be a drawer boosts little ones at the sink.
An unexpected variety of artwork—ranging from photography and paintings to sculpture and glasswork—further introduces color throughout the home. Russell mixed pieces discovered by the Gleesons on their travels with art sourced from local galleries. “We take the pulse of the client,” says Russell, “and try to create a story.”
All things considered, this charming industrial-inspired Old Town abode checks all the boxes (and then some): multiple rooms for gathering, amenity-heavy private spaces, proximity to both the slopes and Old Town, and an original, user-friendly layout. All on a lot measuring a mere 37.5 feet wide and 75 feet deep.
“I think you are really surprised by the details of the house when you step through the door,” says owner Bronwen Gleeson. “It’s a great contrast of the old and the new, and I love the textures of the stonework, tile, and steel. We wanted the house to be large enough yet still have a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, where everyone feels at home. I think we were able to capture this with Sheri’s help.”