Written by: Natalie Taylor Photos by: Scot Zimmerman
To hear Ezra Lee tell it, creating a truly great home begins with understanding. Find out what homeowners need and design spaces around their reality. For the owner of Ezra Lee Design+Build and his wife Ashley, that meant designing their new family home to be as functional as it is spectacular.
Inspired by mid-century modern design, the striking home stands out in Lehi’s Traverse Mountain community as a beacon of contemporary elegance. But more importantly, it works for the way the Lee family lives. Busy working parents, the couple required that their home would maintain itself even with the clutter and mess of three young boys. “I wanted an organized, easy-to-clean home that was also inspiring,” says Ashley.
Before Ezra headed to the drafting table, he and Ashley asked how they pictured themselves living in the home and using the spaces within. Ezra asks his clients the same questions every day. The couple also looked ahead.“We didn’t want to be limited by only how we lived then,” he explains. “We wanted to be creative and confident and think of how we wanted to live in the future.”
The 8,500-square-foot, three-story home boasts two main staircases in addition to several shorter series of steps connecting the interior’s seven levels. The subtle level changes create not only dimension but also privacy. The main level features a private entry, Ezra’s home office, and mud room—all functional, utilitarian spaces. But three steps down, one enters the main living area, which includes a living room, dining room and kitchen. In essence, the heart of family life is nestled into the heart of the home. Here and throughout the home, subtle level changes create smaller, more intimate spaces making the large home feel comfortable and cozy, despite its size and space-expanding, floor-to-ceiling windows in nearly every room.
In their previous home, the master bedroom was located on the main floor and the children’s rooms were upstairs, resulting in many sleepless nights going up and down stairs. When they designed this home, they created a sleeping level: All bedrooms are upstairs. To retain the privacy of their master bedroom, Ezra designed a spacious suite that includes a separate sleeping area, en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet—with each zone clearly defined by its unique function. A lounge-like laundry room serves as a transitional space between the master suite and the boy’s bedrooms and includes a craft table, sitting area and TV. “I can do laundry, the kids can do homework and Ezra can watch a movie, all in the same place,” says Ashley.
Ezra designed the home’s lower level solely for entertainment and activity. It includes a sport court, climbing wall and sunken trampoline. “This sets me up for success as a father,” he says. “It’s so easy for me to come home and play with the boys, even when it’s bad weather outside.” The lower level also boasts a casual living room and kitchen area that opens onto a patio and pool for indoor-outdoor living during the summer. A separate shoulder-season patio, steps above the pool area, features a fire pit and enclosed barbecue, allowing the family to enjoy being outdoors, even when weather is not ideal.
Ezra designed many elements of the house to meet specific purposes. “The butler’s pantry is completely separate from the kitchen and features open shelves and counters. Everything is within reach and eyesight,” says Ashley. “I know exactly what I have and I do most of the food preparation in the pantry—which keeps the kitchen clean.” The master bathroom features dedicated his-and-hers drop stations. “We literally drop everything from our pockets into these areas,” explains Ezra. “Instead of cluttered nightstands, we have a place for everything.” A cabinet dedicated to toiletries is located steps from the shower so everything needed to prepare for the day is front and center. “Small details can save time and make life more efficient,” says Ezra. The couple strongly believes function and form are equally important when creating livable space. As Ezra explains, “You can appreciate a well designed home.”
See more inside the Spring 2017 issue.