Not all homes are destined for greatness. Quite frankly, the recipe for making the grade can be something of a mystery. That said, attaining residential sublimity always begins with how a residence sites to the land, for no manner of design or material selection can compensate for poorly laid-out placement. There are fantastic properties on underwhelming lots and lesser ones squatting on breathtaking strips of land, and both fail the litmus test.
But, every now and again, an architectural lightning bolt strikes and a Place of Worship is born.
Take, for instance, this Capitol Hill residence. Mother Nature couldn’t have oriented this home to the land any better had she drawn it from the ground herself. Beyond the residence being built in 1953, not much is known about its origins. That told, the board-formed concrete foundation, sturdy steel frames, curtain walls, and ribbon windows speak clearly to a clever mind and skilled hand. Whomever the architect, he or she was assuredly a visionary.
The current owners (see: cinematographers, creatives, sensational people) found this diamond in the rough and saw it for what it could be, what it was meant to be. So they gutted the home and, with the overarching goal of creating a considered space and one complementary to its surroundings, they set to work painting a masterpiece. They opened up rooms, they made space for ample sunlight. They chose materials for flooring like reclaimed rail trestles from a historic causeway over the Great Salt Lake, and then they installed it themselves. For the exterior, they integrated the existing glass, steel, and concrete with natural materials like cedar plank siding. And they garnished it all with native grasses and desert plants.
To a process so meticulous, so well-measured, we say, “Amen.”
As with all of their projects, the process for the owners began with the exchange and exploration of ideas. What inspired them? What elements resonated with them? What got them excited? For this home, they hoped for a design that translated as quiet and restrained—in doing so, the intention was to ensure that the the views and their own finishing touches (furniture, art, books, and the like) could rightfully take center stage. The result is a space equal parts organic and industrial. It’s wholly modern in its simplicity of form and lack of ornamentation.
As with any considered space, the time of day dictates how the residence gets inhabited. Mornings in the main suite feel akin to waking up in a treehouse. Dusk draws its occupants west to the living room and kitchen where watching the sun set over the Great Salt Lake has become ritual.
A number of spaces in the home possess undeniable magic.
The kitchen, for example. Clean lines. One massive slab of marble. Endless amounts of storage. For the culinary artist, there is no greater space. The tub in the main bathroom. Large enough to stretch one’s limbs all the way out, lie back, and watch the hawks catch thermals above. Or the private courtyard with its outdoor fireplace. It’s a seamless extension of the indoor space. No better way to spend the spring or fall. The perfect perch from which to appreciate the structure and its surroundings.
For us, it will always come back to those views. We’ve seen our share, after all, and these rank among the most beautiful, full stop. Placing the residence up and away from the street allows for privacy and unparalleled vistas of city, canyon, and mountains alike. We imagine you could spend a lifetime taking it in…though, you’d never see it all. And you’d never tire of trying.