While remodeling a Deer Valley kitchen, a talented design team breaks with convention, creating a unique floor plan and surprising features personalized for the home’s artistic owners.
by Christie Marcie
Photos by Scot Zimmerman
Frequently, the remodeled kitchens of conventional homes are also conventional. Then there is the renovated kitchen of this unique, owner-designed, five-story home structurally built around a towering Douglas fir tree. As the architects at Elliott Workgroup quickly discovered when they took on this Deer Valley redo project, nothing about the new kitchen, or its design, could be considered conventional.
“It was a complicated jigsaw puzzle,” says Dallas Davis, lead design architect for the Park City firm, noting the space’s unique shape. The original kitchen was disjointed and narrow with soaring ceilings and an attached, little-used patio.
The personal needs and wants of the family drove the design. Everything, Davis says, was based on how the homeowners occupy the space and how their personal chef works in the space, down to the location each likes to eat breakfast and drink coffee in the morning. “We would have conversations about how the husband and wife would each function in the morning, how the kitchen performs when they have family in town, or if their kids are there without them,” Davis says. From those conversations, the plan for the new kitchen fell into place.
Forget work triangles. This kitchen is zoned. The cooking and entertaining functions are strongly delineated. Unlike with most kitchens where the cooking function is front and center, this room features an enclosed pantry that operates as the chef’s kitchen and primary prep center, equipped with the only full-sized sink in the center of the space. The main kitchen, which houses the stovetop and ovens, encircles this pantry and serves as an entertaining hub for the family’s many parties and social events.
To increase the square footage in the once-narrow kitchen space, Davis’ team enclosed the adjacent patio with wall-to-ceiling glass. “It was always about the view,” Davis says of the property’s vistas of Park City, Deer Valley and the Jordanelle Reservoir. “The client wanted the outside to blend with the inside.” The aspen-filled landscape outside the kitchen inspired a sliding barn door providing entry to the pantry. The owner eschewed privacy-providing smart glass for the new wall of windows because it was not completely transparent. Instead, she opted to plant more aspens outside the glass walls.
In fact, all decisions made for the kitchen were based on the artist-owner’s preferences, which were often based on her feelings. Sometimes, the architects say, she would decide something wasn’t right after it had already been installed. “She would come in and say ‘That’s not right. We need to modify it,’ ” Davis explains. “Everything was a emotional decision,” says Project Manager Carla Leigh, “Everything was about making it right.” Davis says the most important part of the project wasn’t the structure at all. “The key was not understanding the house, it was understanding the homeowner. Once we understood her, that was it.”
Hidden charging stations for mobile devices and laptops allow the homeowners and guests to enjoy mountain views without seeing unsightly
Adding depth and dimension to the room, SieMatic custom cabinets (in high-gloss gray and European stone beech colors) team with satin gray cabinets by local maker Davis Mill and Cabinet.
The center of the kitchen features what Carla Leigh calls a “wow piece”—a waterfall marble island in which seven different pieces of marble line up perfectly on all sides.
A small pass-through window featuring a magnetic latch allows items to be passed from the kitchen to and from the butler’s pantry.
chef’s work space
The chef’s pantry located in the center of the kitchen was completely redone to the family’s personal chef’s specifications during the kitchen remodel.
A integrated Sub Zero refrigerator and a Scanomat Top Brewer coffee machine are built into the lower cabinets of the main kitchen. An adjacent cabinet holds all beverage supplies—mugs, coffee, cocoa.