Mixing Mountain and Contemporary Styles at Home

I am excited to share photographs of one of my recently completed projects in Park City, Utah.  This home is a great example of a contemporary space that does not feel out of place in its gorgeous mountain surroundings.

One of my design pet peeves is when interior spaces don’t relate in any way to the exterior of the house or its location.  I believe this is particularly a problem with many modern and contemporary homes.  Of course the style is meant to be ‘international’, hence one of early Modernism’s many titles is in fact the International Style.  And of course purist modern designs of the highest level can exist beautifully in any location.  But in general, I have always felt that modern and contemporary spaces work even better when there are some aspects of the design that makes it feel at home, part of the community and surrounding land.  When I worked in Hawaii and New Zealand there was always an emphasis in bringing tropical colors and natural materials into the projects.  Here in the mountains I like to add warmth and texture and just a hint of rustic to my designs.

mountain modern fireplace stone

This project certainly errs on the side of contemporary; the mountain elements are subtle and restrained, but still infuse the house with a sense of living in an alpine clime.

A few of the key ways we brought a mountain feel to a clean, modern design were-


We decided on flat slab panel cabinet doors throughout the project, but to make sure the cabinets did not become too modern, texture and warmth was key.  We wanted lighter brighter finishes in the kitchen, laundry room, kids bathrooms, and in-law guest bath, and in all these spaces we used a light wash on a warm wood tone with a good dose of rustic texture.  None of these cabinets appear flat, they are lively with grain and saw marks.  By layering this texture and whitewash effect on the flat, very modern door panels the spaces feel both modern and mountain.

kitchen mountain modern style

mountain modern kitchen design

mountain modern laundry room

guest bath suite warm modern

In the powder room, man cave and master bath we went with darker cabinets, adding warmth as well.

mountain modern powder bath


mountain man cave bar


In more traditional mountain homes heavy, rustic stone is used liberally.  This project was certainly not right for that type of heavy stonework, however, the clients and I wanted to keep the feel and tradition of natural, textured stone in the house.  We decided on a modern take on traditional stonework in the living room and master suite.  Here the stones are linear and more regular in size, and monochromatic which keeps the look sleek.

master bedroom mountain modern

master bath mountain modern


The clients wanted to make sure the house did not feel cold, especially since they only spend the winter months in the space.  They were drawn to gray tones, but we made sure we went with warm grays and taupes for paint colors, tile and wood floors.

master bath warm modern

warm modern shower


Park City is historically a mining town and I always like to add some industrial elements in a project to tie to this history.  In this project the staircase is quite prominent in the living area, and we decided to make it a strong feature in black steel and dark wood.  We also use black steel on the front and garage doors together with frosted glass, marrying the modern and industrial.

industrial staircase

exterior mountain modern

Photos by the talented Lucy Call, construction by the extraordinary Tall Pines.


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