As we have experienced the past weeks, snow can sneak up on us without much warning, or like last year, you can wait a long time before seeing the ground white. Another season or two ago, I photographed a home in Victory Ranch built by Jamie Catley (Kent Construction) with architecture by Michael Upwall Design, but the snow kept falling that day and there wasn’t an opportunity to capture its beautiful exteriors and the expanses of decks and patios. Wet snow and cameras are a touchy combination if your livelihood depends on the lenses and cameras functioning on the next shoot, and falling snow just isn’t very photogenic as it clouds the view to the home.
The day I recently returned, the river bottom area next to the home was golden with the trees standing out in brilliant oranges and reds. Victory Ranch is located between Heber Valley and Kamas along the Provo River above the Jordanelle Reservoir. The emphasis is on flyfishing, a scenic golf course, and adjacent open space, with new clubhouse and dining amenities opening since my first visit to the home.
The sunset views were incredible, and I enjoyed talking to the neighbors who were out on their deck taking in the light show reflecting on the river at sunset. The entry introduces forms that you can see in the opening and second shots of the back view side of the home: the sloping roof, the angled stone pillar narrowing as it rises and the stacked stone and rich woods.
Stepping into the open plan of the main living area, you can see how the ceiling and stone elements work on the inside. The angled stone forms a windbreak and breaks up the outdoor living into room-like spaces. The interiors are by Michael Abrams Interiors, Chicago.
Here is a section of the outdoor living to show how the design creates a number of spaces. You can see the views I was speaking of earlier with a blanket of snow. The snow let up just briefly so I could get this shot.
Here is the same room looking the other direction to show the relationship of the kitchen, den, dining, and the gallery wall that separates the entry and hallway from the kitchen.
The kitchen is intended as a social center with room for six to eight around the island with a banquette just to the left.
The dining area sets a different tone. It is set off from the bustle of the kitchen by two glass walls and the fireplace to create a setting intended to inspire long, interesting and uninterrupted conversations.
The family room is part of the open plan, but its position at the far end of the room and the more intimate scale of the décor through the reclaimed wood paneling, shelving, and small furniture make it a place to retreat to for quieter moments.
The primary suite has a private deck to enjoy the mornings or late evenings in privacy. The horizontal elements of the concrete fireplace, wall coverings and furnishings anchor the room with a sense of calm.
The glass walls in the primary suite bathroom reinforce the sense of place, but of course, electric shades provide privacy with just a touch.
I’m always impressed by how many ways bunkrooms can be made unique. This one adds flexibility with the larger beds below the bunks for the combinations of children and their cadre of friends who will be making themselves at home here.
It was interesting to return to the home at a different season. The landscaping emphasizes drought tolerant native species that blend seamlessly to the surrounding open space, something I couldn’t capture with snow on the ground. Also, the light on that fall evening was warm and direct.
After so many days without rain or snow, I am biting my tongue when my scheduled photoshoots are cancelled because of wet weather. Instead, I am just grateful for the rain—”rain, rain, beautiful rain,” as the Paul Simon song goes.
All photos by Scot Zimmerman