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The mountains of the great American west might not change much, but mountain architecture is constantly evolving. While it always makes sense to complement the great outdoors with homes made of native wood and featuring walls of windows to take in the spectacular scenery, there have been many subtle refinements in the last few years that are making the mountains more modern.
“It’s been a strong trend for the last three to five years,” reports Rex McGuire, who heads Red Ledges Homebuilding, the community’s dedicated construction company. “As in the past, it starts with wood exteriors and lots of glass, but there are a number of changes in architecture and design that make it more contemporary.”
According to McGuire, a renowned homebuilding leader in the west who leads a crew of architects, designs, and other building experts, states that one of the major revisions is along the roofline, which has gone from peaked to a flatter design that creates more volume inside.
Another exterior change is replacing dark wood with exposed steel, which not only lightens the overall look but allows for more glass and more expansive panoramas. The homes at Red Ledges offer unparalleled views of the majestic Wasatch Range, capped by 11,752-foot-tall Mt Timpanogos, with owners doing everything they can to bring the mountains as up close and personal as possible. Enjoying nature also means better use of outdoor space, everything from outdoor kitchens to hot tubs, more natural landscaping to easy-access storage for skis and snowmobiles.
Interiors are also being modernized, with lighter colors replacing darker stains and incorporating more different materials, whether it’s stone, wood, glass, or metal, which break up the color scheme and add texture. Many of those materials are coming from local suppliers and sources, with McGuire taking special pride in finding and cultivating local artisans: “We are home-growing our trade base,” he says, “starting with local talent in Heber and stretching where we need to.”
Heavy, gnarled wood kitchens have been replaced with sleek and simple cabinetry that emphasizes space and efficiency. And while open floor plans have long been popular—allowing families and friends to spend more quality time together—brighter color schemes and bigger windows make everything seem even more spacious. But however the house is built, whatever it looks like, owners want to spend their time enjoying it, not maintaining it: Nothing is more important making it being easy to clean and easy to use.
As styles, tastes and architecture change, McGuire says many clients want a little bit of everything. “Right now, we’re blending a more traditional mountain exterior with a more modern interior. Our buyers want to know they’re in the mountains but don’t want to sacrifice convenience. Our design team does an exceptional job combining the two because we all know our job is to make the clients happy and build trust as we build their home. We love the opportunity to please them, and give them a place where generations will love for years to come.”