An Interior Designer’s Utah Abode Blends Mountain Living With Scandinavian Style

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Park City Design + Build creates an indoor/outdoor, energy-efficient home for a Danish interior designer and her family.

After searching for many months, Danish interior designer Mette Axboe and her family discovered the perfect location for their new home—10 acres of land set on a gently sloping mountainside with expansive views encompassing Park City’s ski resorts. 

When they engaged Park City–based architect Chris Price and his firm Park City Design + Build (PCD+B), they already had a layout of their dream home on paper. "We wanted something that would fit our lifestyle and family, and cater to frequent (and long-staying) guests from overseas," says Axboe. "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." The design was inspired in part by Salt Lake City's National History Museum of Utah, which the family deems the most beautiful building in the city.

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The house was designed to seamlessly integrate into its surroundings. It is conceived as a "looking box" to the mountain ranges, with ample outdoor decks and patios to enjoy the views. 

The house was designed to seamlessly integrate into its surroundings. It is conceived as a "looking box" to the mountain ranges, with ample outdoor decks and patios to enjoy the views. 

The building process started with an intense dialogue with the design review board, which took about a year to conclude. "This process is pretty common in neighborhoods in Park City since the town has a very strong mountain vernacular, and modern forms can draw easy critique," says Price. 

The simple indoor/outdoor material palette consists of horizontal, natural cedar anchored by board-formed concrete. "The cedar siding was an easy pick, adding some warmth to the gray concrete, but also making the house blend with nature. We chose a non-knotty cedar for a more modern appearance," says Axboe. 

The simple indoor/outdoor material palette consists of horizontal, natural cedar anchored by board-formed concrete. "The cedar siding was an easy pick, adding some warmth to the gray concrete, but also making the house blend with nature. We chose a non-knotty cedar for a more modern appearance," says Axboe. 

The Axboe House is a "study in transparent, indoor/outdoor mountain living." In line with PCD+B's design ethos, the home's energy performance was also of utmost importance, and borrows its efficiency tactics from the European energy standard of Passiv Haus. "Using triple-pane Zola windows allow us to open the house to maximize the views without massive heat loss," explains Price. Southern-facing windows let in light and heat in winter, while providing shade in summer.

Tom Dixon's Beat pendant lighting hangs over the dining table. 

Tom Dixon's Beat pendant lighting hangs over the dining table. 

The simple material palette consists of horizontal, natural cedar anchored by board-formed concrete. Says Price, "The board-formed concrete was an absolute must for us. However, had we known it would take that long to make, we would probably have done a little less." In the end, the board-formed concrete delayed the completion of the house by about three months, but the results are well worth it.  

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Muuto Visu Chair – Sled Base
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Massive glass sliding doors flood the interiors with natural light and create a connection with the stunning surroundings. 

Massive glass sliding doors flood the interiors with natural light and create a connection with the stunning surroundings. 

The lighting was another very important feature, helping to set the mood and separate the spaces. "Lighting shouldn’t be an afterthought—it must be designed in from the get-go," says Axboe. "The choice of light fixtures is such an important part of interior design that ties it all together and gives the illusion of bringing the ceiling down in areas where you want a hygge feeling."

Being from Denmark, the family knew that they wanted the home to have a Scandinavian touch. White walls, clean lines, and most importantly, touches of wood throughout keep things warm and inviting. "This is a family home, not a cold art museum," says Axboe.  Light oak flooring was used throughout the main level. 

Being from Denmark, the family knew that they wanted the home to have a Scandinavian touch. White walls, clean lines, and most importantly, touches of wood throughout keep things warm and inviting. "This is a family home, not a cold art museum," says Axboe.  Light oak flooring was used throughout the main level. 

Finding the right fixtures to match the style Axboe was looking for was a challenge, but eventually, she was able to achieve a contemporary, yet warm and inviting look. 

Finding the right fixtures to match the style Axboe was looking for was a challenge, but eventually, she was able to achieve a contemporary, yet warm and inviting look. 

The expansive terrace creates a smooth transition to the outdoors.

The expansive terrace creates a smooth transition to the outdoors.

The cedar-lined terrace has a fire pit which provides excellent additional space for outdoor entertaining. 

The cedar-lined terrace has a fire pit which provides excellent additional space for outdoor entertaining. 

A look at the spectacular landscape. 

A look at the spectacular landscape. 

In the end, both the architect and the interior designer/client were more than satisfied with the results. Axboe concludes, "People always tell you that building a house both takes longer and costs more money than you have planned for—and they are completely right. I like to compare it to giving birth to a child: You quickly forget the pain and frustration of labor, and then you are ready for number two." 

Stairs lead to a lower level family room, complete with a wine cellar. 

Stairs lead to a lower level family room, complete with a wine cellar. 

The wine cellar.

The wine cellar.

The lower level also features has a board-formed concrete fireplace. 

The lower level also features has a board-formed concrete fireplace. 

"It is so beautiful around here with the wildlife and the vegetation—the less disturbed, the better," says Axboe. 

"It is so beautiful around here with the wildlife and the vegetation—the less disturbed, the better," says Axboe. 

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Park City Design +  Build, Chris Price 
General Contractor: CDR Development 
Structural Engineer: Pete Jarratt
Interior Design: Mette Axboe / @maxboe_interior

Cabinetry Design/Installation: Poliform, Brent Jespersen