Wabi-Sabi house celebrates simplicity and Utah’s nature

Wabi-Sabi house celebrates simplicity and Utah’s nature

Wabi-Sabi house by Sparano + Mooney Architecture combines simplicity, minimalism and a striking natural site

Simplicity, honesty and the imperfect are celebrated in the Wabi-Sabi house, a private home set within the striking nature of Emigration Canyon, above Salt Lake City. The project, designed by locally based Sparano + Mooney Architecture, was commissioned by a young family as a place that connects with its beautiful surroundings and site, while offering a take on contemporary minimalist architecture

Conceived as two cantilevered volumes that seemingly float above the landscape, the home features crisp lines and simple, geometric shapes. Partially finished with a black-stained timber skin, Wabi-Sabi house feels at once restrained and dramatic, its orientation and composition planned around framing views and the region’s natural landmarks and make-up – the mountain, vegetation and wildlife on the site. 

Dusk shot of the geometric shapes of Wabi Sabi house in Utah
Photography: Matt Winquist

Inside, private and communal areas are arranged in the two separate wings, with carefully selected contemporary furniture and art pieces dressing the space throughout – notably a large custom mural by a local artist (currently located in New York), Dan Christofferson, taking a prominent place in the living room. The entry corridor cleverly turns the gaze towards the mountain views as soon as guests enter the building, and similar gestures, blending indoors and ourdoors at every corner, help to craft a home that feels intrinsically connected to its site. 

Not just a pretty face, the Wabi-Sabi house was also designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, ensuring sustainable architecture is a priority in all design decisions. The home’s wall and roof structures encourage optimal insulation, while strategically placed, minimal glazing adds towards this goal; the window system was created with natural site ventilation in mind; a planted roof not only helps disguise the structure amid its natural environment but also aids with supporting local wildlife. All this and more, help embed Wabi-Sabi house in its location gently and seamlessly. §

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