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Dream home show

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

For most product expos, the theme is go big or go home.

For the Park City Area Showcase of Homes, the idea is to go big with homes.

The annual event starts today and features 22 homes in Park City, Heber, Midway and surrounding communities.

Because mountain resort homes tend to be higher budget, this showcase is the best place to see cutting edge trends in architecture, design, aesthetics, appliances and eco-friendly building.

"Some of things you’d see up here have a little bit more of the WOW factor," said Geri Strand, executive director of the Park City Area Homebuilders Association. "People come looking for ideas, new trends and to see what’s fresh."

The 22 homes showcased this year were built by 21 different builders specializing in custom-made mountain homes. Each has a different style and every home is one-of-a-kind.

"People come up here to see beautiful mountain homes so we make sure that’s what we’re presenting," she said.

Several builders are repeat participants and, for many of them, the showcase is the only marketing they do because they get enough work from just being exhibited. People remember what they see and hold onto the catalogues for years until they’re ready to build or redesign themselves, Strand said.

That’s what the majority of the 8,000 visitors to the showcase are looking for ideas for a dream home.

For Betsy Shotwell Smith, manager of the Timberlodge Collection Park City showroom, the showcase is an excellent opportunity to see the designers’ creativity. Every year she’s curious to see what people have done.

"It’s all about creating," she said. "The bigger the budget of the home, the more creative it can be."

That creativity is extended beyond interior design and to every aspect of living. Scott Stubbs, president of Legacy Group Construction as well as the current president of the Home Builders Association, loves making homes for the showcase because it really allows builders to show their talents.

"At the price point that they’re buying these homes at, they want all the bells and whistles," he said.

Another aspect of the building that he enjoys is the teamwork. Even before the home is complete, designers get involved to help choose materials. The tile, granite, flooring, paint, railings, fixtures and windows all influence the feel of the house before a single couch or rug is placed.

Since furniture has to be ordered three months in advance, showcase homes have to be complete on an earlier schedule than what most builders and designers are used to. This creates a mad rush to be ready by opening day, explained Shotwell Smith.

But when people do a good job, partnerships are formed that last and create mutual success, Stubbs said.

Despite the stress and pressure, participants love being in the show because of the opportunities it affords them to meet visitors face and face and talk to them about their work.

Artists get to present in a gallery, but the builders and designers get to meet the people touring and talk to them about the unique aspects of their creations, Stubbs said.

"There’s not many places where people interested in building a home can look through 15 to 20 homes by the best builders in the state and talk to them and pick their brains," he said. "The builder is a captive audience there to answer questions."

What to look for this year:

Some of the trends that have people talking this year are the methods available to erase the barrier between inside and out.

Innovative ideas with green building and the design of outdoor spaces have created furniture and flooring that is more natural. Rather than sit inside and look out through big windows, the current trend is to make outside more comfortable, Strand said.

Another idea is to simply remove the windows and walls.

One of the homes has large panes of framed glass that slide to stack and disappear, Strand said, opening up an entire room in this case, the living room and kitchen, to the outdoors.

"Can’t do that everywhere because of bugs and the heat, but you can do that here," she said.

But the insides aren’t being neglected.

Among the interior features showcased this year are an indoor sports court, a wine-tasting room (similar to a wine cellar but more comfortable for entertaining), a yoga and pilates room designed to feel like a spa and home theaters that are "out of this world," Strand said.

Because each home is unique, it’s difficult to pinpoint trends in design, Shotwell Smith said, said people are largely moving past the classical Western and rustic mountain themes without altogether abandoning them.

When people buy a home in Park City, they’re looking to celebrate the mountain lifestyle, but they’re also interested in a contemporary look, she said.

Most peoples’ tastes are eclectic, and she enjoys seeing how other designers interpret these trends and try to appeal to potential buyers.

One example is fixtures. Vintage is hip with plumbing, but people also enjoy the cleaner lines associated with modern "transitional" styles.

What to expect:

Builders and designers judge their success by how easily potential buyers "see" themselves in the home. For this reason they are usually prepared to be "turn-key" ready, Strand said. That means conceivably ready to hand over to a purchaser completely as is which has happened before. That means attention to detail down to the towels on the racks and soap in the dishes.

That’s part of what makes the homes so great for getting ideas, Stand said. The showcase isn’t just for people ready to pay high price tags, it’s also for people interested in doing something a little more or a little different with their living space.

This is why the Homebuilders Association wants everyone to attend. New homes add to a community, but events like the showcase are the only opportunity neighbors have to see inside and see what’s new.

Prizes and demonstrations are planned for various houses to encourage visitors to see all 22 of the homes, Strand said.

What: Showcase of Homes

Where:

Jeremy Ranch, Summit Park, The Preserve, Promontory, Historic Old Town Park City, The Retreat, Canyon Trails, Tuhaye, Heber City and Midway

When: Aug. 23-24, Aug. 30-31, Sept. 1, Sept. 6-7. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day

Why: 22 of the newest, biggest, and fanciest houses in Wasatch and Summit Counties. Prizes and demonstrations offered at select homes.

How: Purchase tickets for $12 apiece at (1) http://www.pcshowcaseofhomes.com

(2) Park City Concept Center at 1796 Prospector Ave.

(3) Timberlodge Collection, 1612 Ute Blvd.

Purchase tickets for $15 at the door of any of the 22 featured homes. Tickets are good for all of the homes on any of the days, but entry into each home is only allowed once.


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