Utah Style and Design

The higher you go up the Wasatch, the steeper the slope and better views both to the valley and the mountainside.  The challenge, of course, is building on a lot with a slope that great.

Homebuilder John Ford, John Ford Construction, and architect Jeff Schindewolf, JSARC Architects, built this home atop of tiered boulder retaining walls made from rocks onsite. The entire living area is on the top floor to best appreciate the views.

Schindewolf designed butterfly roofs atop the three elements of the home to capture  both views. While the view to the Cottonwoods and Salt Lake Valley is spectacular, as you would anticipate, the surprise is the mountainside vista behind the home, especially this time of year with the Gambel Oak in full fall color.

The butterfly roof provides the greatest height at the exterior walls, making an open floor plan ideal for natural light in addition to the shared views. I have overheard discussions from people debating the merits of open floor plans. While people enjoy views and connections, there are some who yearn for more separation. This floor plan does it by stepping down the living room into a space by itself.

Broad steps separate the living area from the dining area and kitchen.

The kitchen cabinets provide partial screening from the living area, which is ideal for preparing meals for guests. The corner windows open to the hillside views that I previously mentioned.

Again the butterfly roof provides views to the sky and the home’s elevation grants privacy to the master bedroom.


The challenge for photographing the home was the steep slope. For the front elevation I used a ground-based elevated camera support that mimics a drone but doesn’t violate local homeowner association rules against drones. I was surprised how hard it is to tell from the image that the camera was 25 feet up from the ground for the shot. From the rear I simply walked up the hill to capture the roof angles.

See more Photo Friday here!

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Scot Zimmerman
Architectural photographer Scot Zimmerman has been photographing exteriors and interiors of homes, and commercial and public buildings across the United States for over 37 years. He is the principal photographer of eight books; over 40 periodicals have featured his work; and 11 museums have exhibited his photos. He’s fond of adventuring in the Southern Utah desert. Follow his work on Instagram: @scot.zimmerman



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