Hiding at the end of one of the many winding roads throughout Park City’s Colony Development is a 10,000-square-foot home known as the “Mining House.” It is so named because of its architecturally unique design that is centered around a “mining shaft” that is wonderfully historically correct in its design. When you arrive, you feel as if you have discovered a historic mining site that has evolved into a fabulous sprawling modern home inextricably linked to its mining roots. It is this design element that gives the home its character.
The “ski-in/ski-out” home is nestled into the mountainside and sits on its own 26-acre site. This landscape provides the owners, a California family, with an environment in which they can enjoy the things they love: hiking, camping, skiing and entertaining family and friends. And it gives them an all-important respite from city life.
WRITTEN BY Kim Radtke Bannister and Cara Gravely French
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Douglas Burke
Built in 2009, the multi-level home boasts a brilliant mixture of modern design and its rustic and rugged history, along with a vast array of enviable amenities. Examples shine throughout: It was constructed using reclaimed wood, steel and natural stone. The combination of old and new is thoughtful and free of destructive conflict. The multiple expansive windows; architectural twists; the serenity and the supreme comfort laid forth by the designer; and Cara French’s choice of interior colors and furnishings all collaborate to frame the home’s splendor, inside and out.
The front door leads into the two-story entry hall that immediately reveals a theme in the home: openness. The large windows, high ceilings and expansive living spaces unveil the modernity of the home and allows the rooms to flow naturally from one to the next.
An antique Moroccan double door fills the left entry wall with ethnic interest. It is lit by a custom iron chandelier with a two-tiered square design. The entry hall opens to the main living space where the designer created an elegant yet comfortable space by coordinating color, space and furnishings. Both the front and back walls are painted a vibrant red accentuating the red framing of the windows.
The leather sofas and chairs in the main living space are sized to the room and are accented with coyote fur and velvet pillows, rabbit fur and cashmere throws. It’s truly a cozy retreat.
The fireplace is the natural place for friends and family to gather after an adventurous day. A large zebra ottoman and sheepskin rug occupy the spot closest to the fireplace. The fireplace is commanding in size yet proportional to the room. It is constructed in layers of stone that rise toward the ceiling and culminate at a reclaimed wood mantle with wide iron bands and square bolts. This blend of stone and metal is seen throughout the home. A colorful mixed-media epoxy painting by Klari Reis hangs above the mantle, filling the room with unexpected colors.
Adjacent to the main living area, yet tucked away from the activity, the study provides a space where a guest can get away but still feel connected to the others. The study was designed to resemble a library. Its walls of cabinets are painted a warm and inviting red and shelves are filled with books and collectibles such as mineral specimens and iron art pieces. Some were designed by Texas-based artist Jan Barboglio, a favorite of the owner.
The study is on the south-facing wall of the home and is bathed in natural sunlight throughout the day. It is lit in the evening by a custom two-tiered round lattice-detailed iron chandelier. The interior designer chose to continue the color theme of taupe, browns and earthy reds that is found throughout the home. The furnishings are upholstered in a variety of textures including ribbed chenille, velvet and suede with zebra skin and curly lamb pillows, an animal pelt and cashmere throws. They all were chosen to pull the rich colors from the antique Oriental area rugs and to frame the round tin and iron coffee table.
An oversized weathered wooden door, adorned with bronze hardware and accents of red undertones, separates the homeowners’ master suite from the main living area. As you enter, the view of snow-covered Aspen trees just outside the French doors and windows takes your breath away. Making the master bedroom a cozy space for two is the dual-sided fireplace that offers a place for reading by the fire and as well as providing warmth for the gentleman’s office.
The room is centered on the fireplace, dictating symmetry in the room. A pair of zinc night stands and Italian carved lamps with silver gilt face each other on either side of the wooden headboard, which is decorated with hammered metal inserts. The designer uses pops of red—the homeowner’s favorite color—as accents and mixes textures and neutral shades of color with a deep, rich chocolate hue. A large hand-crafted rolling door on an upper track with wheels that roll left/right separates the office for privacy. The door was designed to continue the theme of the mining shaft.
A wooden desk with metal legs is appropriately fitting. A comfortable leather chair and ottoman provide a suitable place for the gentleman to read under a tall iron lamp designed by Steven Handelman, a favorite artisan of the homeowner. In the office hangs a beautiful photograph of snow-covered pine and aspen trees that was taken by a local Utah artist. In this room, as well as throughout the home, are photographs that depict Utah’s four distinct seasons. The homeowners selected the most recognized of the Utah photographers.
The master suite has a room-sized bathtub made of marble and stone. A state-of-the-art Jacuzzi sits just below a wrap-around bay of windows. What could be more comfortable and soul-soothing than soaking in a hot bath while taking in the luscious view of the aspens and pines? The dual-head walk-in shower, his-and-her sinks, heated towel bars and a heated stone floor make this master bath the ultimate luxury.
A defining architectural element of the home is the aforementioned mining shaft that is constructed from reclaimed structural beams. The shaft begins on the outside of the home, at the portecochere, and continues through the inside, where it visually divides the main living area from the kitchen. It continues out the backside of the home. The beams are large, as are the beams in a mine, and in keeping with historic design. Each of the support beams is connected by steel rods that secure them one to the other, creating giant “X’s.” The support structures are large but not obtrusive, thereby retaining the openness of the space, flow and connectivity of the rooms.
On the other side of the support beams, from the main living area, is the home’s kitchen. It’s modern in every respect, including a Sub Zero refrigerator, dual Bosch dishwashers and a Wolf stove. The kitchen is warm and inviting. The hues of red, apricot and brown are subtly combined in the swirl of the marble countertops and are complemented by hammered copper sinks and auburn cabinetry donned with satin nickel hardware. The owners enjoy cooking and entertaining family and friends. The efficient layout and sufficiently large size of the kitchen offers plenty of room for guests, most of whom inevitably wind up in the kitchen!
The home’s dining areas are convenient to the kitchen. In fact, what separates the main dining and kitchen area is a family friendly countertop of textured grey slate complete with pull-up red leather bar stools. The bar/counter is the default eating area for kids and adults alike. The main dining area is defined by the stone fireplace and hearth on one wall and another made of wood framed windows and doors to the outside. The view through the windows is breathtaking.
This area is casually designed with comfort in mind but can be formal if need be. The large wooden trestle table easily accommodates the 12 dining chairs that are upholstered in espresso linen. The double ceiling height and the wall of windows in the dining room are a natural source of light, adding to the home’s openness. In the summer, the doors open to a terrace occupied by comfortable lounge seating. This creates more living space and it helps tie together the inside and outside. The focal point of this room is the textured acrylic oil painting by J.D. Miller that hangs above the fireplace. It is a lovely painting depicting fiery aspen trees.
A floating wood plank staircase, through the center of the mine shaft, provides access to the lower and upper levels of the home. A steel lattice grid surrounded by reclaimed wood planks creates an open yet safe feeling to the sides of the stairwell. The lower level is outfitted with a full-size kitchen that includes shades of green, blue and pinkish tones in textured granite, blue pendant lighting, a large den and a game room that has a pool table and foosball table. The large den offers beautiful views of snow-covered pines and the family-size outdoor Jacuzzi (commonly called the “spool” by the children) is a focal point.
The house easily accommodates three families with a third master suite on this lower level. It has a complete fireplace and beautiful vistas. An enormous walk-in closet and room-size stone bath make this master suite a favorite for visiting families. In addition, a theater room and kids bunk room make the downstairs area a great place for skits and family fun. During the summer months, family and friends enjoy easy access from this lower level to the garden, which is surrounded by shimmering aspen trees and native perennials. The inside of the house is expanded through doors that open onto the welcoming terrace where the family gathers to entertain around a square metal and stone fire pit created by Jim Rees and mutually designed by the homeowner and Thomas McPhee Construction. Fireplace lounge seating and dining tables make this outdoor area a favorite place to enjoy summer meals.
The large open stairway, using the steel railing or the elevator, takes you past the main level to the upper level. A balcony framed in wood and steel lattice design overlooks the main living area and a hallway, which in turn overlooks the dining room, a highlight of which is the two-story windows. The combination of steel and reclaimed wood is structurally in line with the theme of the home and it thoughtfully complements the mining shaft architecture.
Along this hallway is a guest bed and bath, a second kids’ bunk room and an arts and crafts room where kids enjoy special art activities designed by their creative mom. A glass enclosed bridge, lit by glowing iron lanterns and a heated slate floor to ward off the cold, lead you to the third master suite, complete with its own sitting room, fireplace and wet bar. The floor of the walk-in shower is made of washed river stones to massage your feet. This wing of the home, though secluded, remains connected by a stairwell that winds down to a fully equipped exercise room, which was insisted upon by the healthy-and-fit conscious homeowners.
The vast views of the landscape in all areas of the home initially attracted the family to the home. Through the aspen and pine trees, long range views of the valley below dominate the horizon.
Family members spend the majority of their time hiking, camping and horseback riding in the summer and the ski-in/ski-out locale feeds their passion for the slopes during the winter. The lower-level ski vestibule, complete with built-in ski boot and glove warmers, allows for easy access to the slopes through a hidden tree-lined path.
The mission of the Mining House—to be comfortable, to be family-friendly and to be open to the beloved outdoors —has been achieved. It’s a hidden treasure, indeed!