Danish interior designer Mette Axboe spent months searching for the perfect U.S. location for a family retreat, but the hunt came to an abrupt end once she set sights on an expansive lot of 10 pristine acres overlooking Utah’s picturesque Park City. The mountain range in the background inspired the stunning design, which was conceived as a “looking box” to enjoy the scenery from any point in the home.
Axboe worked with architect Chris Price and his firm Park City Design + Build to develop the idyllic retreat for long getaways. Although the family was open to ideas about the overall design, they knew that the focus had to be on the surrounding landscape. “We wanted something that would fit our lifestyle and family, and cater to frequent (and long-staying) guests from overseas,” Axboe said. “We asked Chris to ‘architect it up’ — keeping our layout in mind, and ensuring a good fit with both the site and surrounding area. It was very important for us to design a house that fit the landscape and not the other way around.”
Accordingly, the rolling fields and mountain range in the distance became the focal point of the home’s design. The low-lying horizontal volume is tucked into the landscape to help blend the structure into its surroundings. To create a “looking box,” the team included sizable windows and multiple outdoor decks to provide stunning views from virtually any angle.
To further blend the home into its environment, the architects and designer went with a muted color palette using a combination of natural cedar and board-formed concrete. These materials continue through the interior, where enormous sliding glass doors and windows provide a seamless connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces. An expansive deck with large comfy sofas, a dining table and fire pit is the perfect spot for soaking up the amazing scenery.
In addition to bringing nature to the forefront of the design, the residents were also focused on creating an energy-efficient home. As such, the architects employed various Passive Haus standards. Triple-pane windows were installed to allow the home to have access to ample natural light and stunning views without massive heat loss. Radiant heat flooring also provides even temperature control during the freezing Utah winters.
As for the interior living areas, Axboe used her native Danish roots to create a modern, Scandinavian-inspired design. The home’s all-white walls and light oak flooring open up the space, providing a welcoming atmosphere throughout. According to Axboe, “This is a family home, not a cold art museum.”
Photography by Renan Ozturk via Park City Design + Build