One of Park City’s biggest draws is its wild spaces. But with the housing boom, Utah faces a challenge: preserving that natural beauty and sense of wide-open space while accommodating a growing population. One option for residents vying for a bit of elbow room is the Preserve. The luxury 1,700-acre mountain community, located just north of historic Bitner Ranch, was founded on the principle of protecting open spaces and embracing the area’s wildlife and natural beauty.
That pristine environment was exactly what a couple of urban transplants wanted. “When we moved from New York City, we did a total 180 from city life,” the homeowner explains. So, the family built a contemporary home on an 11-acre site in the midst of the Preserve’s undulating fields, surrounded by striking views of the Uinta and Wasatch Mountain Ranges.
An open floor plan with expansive windows frames those panoramic views, providing glimpses of the seasonally changing landscape. “Natural light is important, so we wanted as many windows as possible,” she says. This 6,900-square-foot house features six and a half bathrooms and six bedrooms; the main rooms all have windows facing the views. Befitting Park City’s active lifestyle and residents’ enthusiasm for the outdoors, the home also has a swimming pool, heated deck, and gym.
“Originally, I wanted a very modern home, essentially a box with a flat roof,” she says. But the Preserve has very strict architectural rules. That’s where architect Costantino Grandjacquet had to get creative. “The clients wanted as contemporary a house as possible,” he says. “Our challenge was trying to bridge the gap between a contemporary home and the homeowner association’s guidelines. We did that by using the allowed roof forms (gables and sheds) in conjunction with live green roofs.” The result is an L-shape house. “Tino was clever,” says the homeowner. “The first-level roof is flat, and the second level features a green roof with native grasses that wraps around the top of the house.”
The Preserve’s homesites average 10 acres. That buffer coupled with building envelopes and fencing limitations—as well as 450 acres of designated open space—ensure that more than 90 percent of space surrounding the homes inside the community remains natural to protect the large deer, elk, and moose populations. Eleven miles of trails, including the popular Flying Dog, also meander through the landscape. “The open space to the south of the house is a migration path for herds of elk,” says Grandjacquet. “In order to clearly define the built environment from the undisturbed landscape, we deliberately created an exterior stone retaining wall that runs the length of the house. This plinth also helped define the outdoor areas, such as the firepit and pool patios.”
In addition, he designed an office suspended in air on four columns. “It’s like a room on stilts or a box sitting up in the air,” explains builder Chad Flinders. “It floats off the front of the house, at the second-floor level with a suspended glass hallway and floor lights.”
Building materials helped spin the exterior of the home to a more contemporary vernacular. “We used clear, vertical-grain cedar along with metal and stone,” says Grandjacquet. “In addition, we used a dark stucco to achieve a look similar to concrete, which is not allowed in the guidelines.”
We wanted a design that related to the natural slope of the site while maximizing the pristine views of the Park City mountain range.
— Architect Costantino Grandjacquet
Inside, the homeowner designed spaces with a crisp, clean palette. “I kept all the walls white and added soothing gray fabrics as accents,” she says. “Modern white walls are the perfect backdrop to showcase art with vibrant pops of color.” Midcentury modern furniture, stunning light fixtures, and an array of modern art—most collected from New York City auctions and galleries—give the home flair.
Inside and out, this home pushes the limits of architectural creativity—working in harmony with the environment while playing within the bounds of the Preserve’s guidelines. As a result, this home pays homage to its unspoiled, natural setting with a decidedly contemporary nod toward the future.
Costantino Grandjacquet Architects
Chad Flinders Construction
Note: Tom Olsen was also a contractor on this project.
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