2021 RDAA | Custom Urban House | Urban Tree House | Sparano + Mooney Architecture

Urban living is always a balance between privacy and proximity. The client for this house on a tight lot in Salt Lake City asked Sparano + Mooney to titrate that balance, while delivering a house that felt like a vacation paradise.
“The owner is in real estate,” says Anne Mooney, AIA. “He wanted to demonstrate that great architecture doesn’t have to happen outside the city on a pristine site.” Certainly, this was a rare client, because he was willing to forgo the typical overloaded program that bogs down floor plans. He wanted openness, volume, and views, and was willing to invest in a house with only one bedroom to achieve it.
In scale with the neighbors, the firm designed a three-sided courtyard house, sliced along its length by windows and cleaved by a central patio and pool. “We found a piece of wood with a void at the center, and that became the inspiration,” Anne recalls. The owner drove the dark palette, and it was his idea to locate the tub directly next to the bed.
The double-height living/dining/kitchen consumes the largest portion of the house. Stair access to the primary bedroom is here, but the room is over the guest suite at the rear, giving it long views across the pool.
At the front of the house, a recessed entry suggests a neighborly porch. And there’s the illusion that you can see into the house but, in reality, a wall behind the vestibule blocks full view. It’s privacy balanced with proximity—a perfect oasis for urban life.


Custom Urban House

Sparano + Mooney Architecture
Urban Tree House
Salt Lake City

Project Credits

Architect: John Sparano, FAIA; Anne Mooney, AIA; Philip Dimick, Seth Striefel, Nate King, project team; David Kirk and Mark James (model); Jun Li (model), Sparano + Mooney Architecture, Salt Lake City

Builder: Sausage Space, Salt Lake City

Interior Designer: Cody Derrick, cityhomeCOLLECTIVE, Salt Lake City; project team: Cody Derrick, Lauren Bald, Rebecca Loosli

Landscape Architect: Dig Landscape Design and Eschenfelder Landscaping,
Salt Lake City

Structural Engineer: Structural Design Studio, Salt Lake City

Project Size: 2,000 square feet

Site Size: .14 acre

Construction Cost: Withheld

Photography: Matt Winquist Photography, Kerri Fukui/cityhomeCOLLECTIVE

Key Products

Cladding: Stained vertical cedar 

Cooktop/Range/Ovens: Wolf

Door Hardware: Emtek

Faucets: Waterstone, Brodware, Brizio, Restoration Hardware (primary)

Radiant Heating: Lochinvar Boiler

Refrigerator/Freezer: Sub-Zero

Roofing: Single-ply TPO Membrane

Sound System: SONOS

Surfacing: Grigio marble, Calacatta marble, steel, concrete

Tile: Cle Zellige

Toilets: Kohler, The Renovator’s Supply (primary)

Vent Hood: Best

Windows: Windsor

Window Wall Systems: LaCantina

Wine Refrigerator: Sub-Zero


Plans, Drawings, Models

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