Texans Valerie and Darryl Burman don’t ski. And they don’t care much for cold weather, either. But they love the mountains. “I’d rather hike up the mountains in the summer than ski down them,” Valerie Burman confesses. “Utah was never on our radar screen,” she says, until one of their sons attended school here and “opened our world.” They fell in love with Park City and with the easy commute back home and decided to build a summer retreat here, instead of the typical winter home. “It was the first time we ever built a house and in an environment we didn’t know at all,” Burman says.
One of the locations they scouted was Promontory, a neighborhood community made up of wide-open spaces and plenty of golf, trails, and tennis—the couple’s shared passions. “As soon as we drove through the gate, we knew it was right,” Burman says. They were impressed by a contemporary home they saw, designed by Chris Price and built by his uncle Matt Price, and knew they had found their team. “They wanted a house that fit in but stood out,” Chris says. “The wedge started the whole thing,” he remembers, referring to the home’s 34-foot-tall stacked Mt. Moriah Ledge- stone centerpiece, a powerful architectural anchor on the outside of the home and, by how it slices indoors as the fireplace, a dominant interior design element as well. “It started as a diagram on how to capture both the southerly views and also the southwesterly views. This led to a ‘kinked’ design that created this leftover triangular geometry. We took the negative space for the fireplace and reflected it in the other two fireplaces.”
Fractured rooflines with protective overhangs slope away from the center of the house. “This allows the more public areas to have higher, more vaulted ceilings, while the ends of the house are lower overhead, making for a more intimate and cozy feel,” explains Price. “We love to play with ceiling heights to give spaces individuality.” His efficient, organic plan for the 4,800-square-foot house, with spacious terraces that extend living to the outdoors, appears to be much larger than it is.
Landscape architect Dean Anesi was right at home working with Promontory’s distinctive sweeping terrain, having been raised on Wyoming’s high mountain prairies. He used a small palette of native plants, creating texture and color and “gradually deconstructed back to nature,” Anesi says. “It’s designed to make the house look like it has grown in place,” he explains. He softened a ledgestone rock wall placed next to the entry by surrounding it with a planter made from gunmetal architectural concrete. The walkway beckons visitors with a wide procession of capped steps leading asymmetrically up to the sheltered entry.
Known as a perfectionist with an eye for detail, interior designer Marilyn Lewis complemented the home’s distinctive architecture with highly functional and beautifully curated finishes and furnishings. “The house speaks to the designer as to how to finish it,” she says. “I started with the stone. The palette can be so neutral with it, and you can create interest and drama with texture and dark to light. The house reflects the Burmans' sophisticated taste and a more minimalist way of living in the mountains.”
The interior’s subtly stylish tone is set at the split-level foyer, where visitors are greeted by a floating hickory staircase with slender stainless steel railings. “It’s very sexy,” Lewis comments. Overhead, an enormous orb of stainless steel ribbons made in the Netherlands twinkles with tiny lights, one of many spectacular light fixtures that Lewis says “give lots of character to the house.” Burman agrees. “The lighting is the jewelry,” she says.
At the top of the stairs is a breathtaking view through the living area to the golf course beyond. Views of the Wasatch Mountains are framed by windows on the opposite side of the room, giving the space an airy, borderless ambience. A light porcelain tile floor dramatically contrasts with dark, cedar planks set on the diagonal in the soaring ceiling overhead. “Since we didn’t have a wooden floor, we had a wooden ceiling,” Lewis smiles. In the main living room’s two conversation areas, one facing each view, streamlined neutral furnishings sit on striking patterned area rugs from Nepal and Tibet. A thick Caesarstone hearth floats the length of the fireplace, and two white leather arm chairs provide crisp contrast to a softly upholstered sofa strewn with inviting faux fur- and velour-covered pillows. Vibrant modern artwork, mostly by Utah artists, enriches the interiors here and elsewhere in the home.
Nearby in the main floor’s sleek kitchen, light floods in from elevated windows, and clutter-free white quartz countertops contrast with matte gray glass tile walls and dark stained mahogany cabinets. All tones combine in the boldly patterned White Springs granite island. Enormous hand-blown glass cylinder fixtures hang above. The adjoining dining area opens to a covered terrace surrounded by a parapet wall for privacy. With mountain vistas for miles and a fireplace to warm things up,
the terrace has become the Burmans’ favorite place to enjoy summer evenings.
Venturing farther into the main floor is the serene master suite. Awash in the cool blue grays of the mountains in the distance, this sanctuary-like room includes a silver travertine fireplace, plush sculptural carpet, and a private terrace. Lewis designed the quirky side tables and found fabric echoing the silhouette of the mountains to cover the bed’s bolster pillows. In the adjoining dressing room and luxurious bath, windows surround the sunken tub, and huge metal urns sit on Caesarstone countertops against a chiseled stone backsplash.
Downstairs is all fun and games with a pool table, a screening area, a casual dining and card table, and a mini kitchen with foil-clad cabinets set against stainless steel tile. Vivid artwork and the deep textures of a shag rug and lush fur throws add to the vibe. An unusual Italian light fixture looks like hanging sculpture. The guest suites on either side include bathrooms with Lewis’s wow factor, one with a wall of pebbles behind the mirror and the other featuring glass and stone mosaic tile in shades of cobalt. One suite includes a compact office with a translucent divider hung on sliding barn door hardware.
The Burmans’ mountain summer retreat has exceeded all of their expectations. They’ve enjoyed it so much, in fact, that last winter they broke tradition and spent a week there in January. But no, they’ve not taken up skiing. Their off-season visit coincided with Park City’s other big midwinter draw: the Sundance Film Festival.
Check out the slideshow below for more pictures of the Burman home.