Price designed and built TreeHaus with its own architectural and construction firm Park City Design + Build. He founded the company with his uncle, Matt Price, in 2009, and the company is now run by Architect Andrew Foster. Chris also regularly participates in supporting his father’s projects.
The main challenge for the house is its location at the foot of a steep hill of Park City, a popular ski area east of Salt Lake City in Utah. The design team solved this by digging a foot enough to build a four-storey building.
“The 50% slope itself is a tough challenge, and it requires a certain amount of precision in deep excavation,” Price said. “We adjusted the layout of the entrance a bit to get the best out of the hillside without affecting the footprint.”
Each floor on the hillside is slightly lower than the lower level and has slight variations in angle to give room for the balcony. The black metal bars in front of the balconies match the dark shadowy boards on the outside of the house.
Price chose dark wood to match the color of the surrounding trees, similar to the style of some recently completed wooded houses such as a small cabin in the woods in Washington and a guest house in Texas.
“We want to build a house that fits the landscape and takes advantage of this challenging geographic location,” said the architect. “Each floor has different adjustments and is placed vertically, with different width planks.”
“The design is inspired by the tall pines that grow around the house,” he said. “The railing – built by me and my dad, along with the stairs – was designed vertically to simulate the shape of the tree.”
Exterior tiles provide a “high efficiency casing” for the home to keep the heat in the winter months, as the area often has snowfall. The texture around the house also helps maintain warmth. Both are part of the group’s strategy to achieve Passivhaus certification, which is awarded to energy-saving buildings.
In contrast to the dark shingles outside the house, Price chose bright interior colors to keep the light in the dark winter months.
“The neighborhood in winter is usually very dark, cold and snowing a lot,” said the architect. “Furniture is a combination of materials that spontaneously illuminates the whole house.”
White painted walls and pale wood flooring provide “space” for the interior and decor of the family. In the open living space, the kitchen and dining room – located on the second floor – is a harmonious combination of eclectic wooden tables and chairs, colorful artwork, patterned textiles and feather rugs.
There are also some black decorative motifs, such as the kitchen with red chairs hidden underneath, open ceilings, and lantern lights in a variety of styles.
A black metal staircase, synchronized with the outside balcony, runs along four stairs leading to the house. The ground floor has a garage, two bedrooms on the first floor, a common living area on the second floor, and an additional two bedrooms on the third floor.