Construction Updates from the Wabi-Sabi House

We are excited to report that construction is well underway on the Wabi-Sabi House in Emigration Canyon, Utah! Our Salt Lake City architects and designers have been hard at work in collaboration with our wonderful and inspirational clients, as well as our dedicated team of consultants – including Living Home Construction and Structural Design Studio – to make the dream of a tranquil, mountain modern home a reality.


Wabi-Sabi House Interior Rendering, courtesy Sparano + Mooney Architecture

Wabi-sabi is an ancient tenet of Japanese aesthetic culture. It is a philosophy of beauty that embraces the imperfect, the incomplete and the transient. Wabi-sabi architecture espouses simplicity and honesty in expression, those modest things in our world that express beauty as they weather and age. In conceiving this house and while walking the site, the work began to coalesce around an idea of textures, materials, and expressed joinery and connections.

This 4,000 square foot home, designed for a young family, celebrates a unique elevated Utah mountain site with a rare and direct connection to nature. The design was conceived as an expression of both static and dynamic elements, referencing the relationship of the mountain and the vegetation and wildlife on the site. The entry design is a perforated wall with segmented views of the site and surroundings. Upon passing into the architecture, the occupant is presented with a long corridor offering a path lit by a skylight running the full length of the volume and illuminating a textural wall, and is also presented with a framed view of the mountains to the west. As one progresses through the space, the shift in program is presented with the public volume in line directly with the canyon view. The architecture includes a basement level that incorporates a creative office space with a private outdoor patio. The living-room fireplace is mirrored by an outdoor fireplace and both create places for family and friends to gather.

Materials, including CorTen steel, were selected to reference the site and are crafted to express their constructed connections and detailing. This approach to materials extends to the selection of interior elements, fixtures and furnishings. The vegetated roof is planted with local grasses and serves to camouflage the home design into its context. The residence sits within its mountain site with minimal disturbance to the landscape, which is augmented with native and drought-tolerant plants and trees.


Wabi-Sabi House Construction Site Photo, courtesy Sparano + Mooney Architecture and Living Home Construction

With excavation, concrete and sub-rough plumbing complete, the project is moving into framing with a critical stage – steel – currently in progress.  We are very happy with how the texture and finish of the board-formed concrete has turned out, and look forward to seeing how this feature will relate to our exterior wood cladding finish in the coming months. The steel wall trusses require a few weeks of detailed site assembly and field welding.  The project is now officially “out of the ground”, and one can begin to get a sense of form, scale and views that will be captured by the architecture on this spectacular mountain site in Utah.


Wabi-Sabi House Construction Site Photo, courtesy Sparano + Mooney Architecture


Wabi-Sabi House Construction Site Photo, courtesy Sparano + Mooney Architecture and Living Home Construction; capturing the mountain view that the full height glazing will allow at the end of each volume.

We look forward to bringing you more updates as the home’s construction progresses. The anticipated completion is July 2018 – watch this space! We are specialists in contemporary residential projects in the American West and would love to hear from you if you are interested in bringing your own vision of your dream home to life!