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At One with Nature by Uta Abendroth | 25th September, 2015 | Prime Properties

Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks, had a vision while drawing up the plans for his Park City mansion. Each room was to enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery of Utah – befitting for the profound love of nature felt by the producer of animation hits like “Shrek” and “Madagascar”. The chalet, designed in a western style by the architects Rick Otto and Charles Gwathmey, is unique in various respects. Its sheer size is impressive, and a sense of cosiness pervades in spite of the property’s grand dimensions.

Building a house is a little like shooting a film,” muses Jeffrey Katzenberg. “You bring various different artists and talents together and the aim is always then to get the best out of everyone for each of the respective tasks at hand. After all, a house has a story to tell too.” And this is a man who certainly knows what he’s talking about when it comes to filmmaking. The 64-year-old is one of Hollywood’s most successful movie producers and has told many a story over the years in his own inimitable way: having found success at the end of the 1970s with “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, he went on to release some of Disney’s most successful movies including “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, “The Little Mermaid” and “The Lion King” during his tenure as chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. In 1994, Katzenberg founded DreamWorks SKG together with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. In their managing roles they have overseen the production of universally loved animations such as “Shrek”, “Shark Tale”, “Madagascar” and “Over the Hedge”.

A sheer endless stream of simulated characters and realms. Perhaps this is why he feels so drawn to the nature around him? Jeffrey Katzenberg has a special place in his heart for one particular beauty spot on this earth, and that is his home in Park City, in the US state of Utah. Some 20 years ago, he had this out-of-this-world ski lodge built by the architects Rick Otto and Charles Gwathmey. “I was involved in the planning of this home from the outset,” recalls the native New Yorker. “I’ve built three times before, and I love the process of a house taking shape. I get great satisfaction from working with creative people.” The finished result designed by Gwathmey and Otto for their oh-so-creative client on an exclusive plot in Silver Lake Village in the Bald Eagle Club represents the perfect symbiosis of a building with its surroundings. Built on a stone plinth that looks exactly the same as the rocks on which it stands, the threestorey mansion emerges with a façade dominated by large windows and balconies in natural wooden tones. “I find it remarkable just how the architects have positioned the house on the plot,” says Katzenberg. “And it is extraordinary that the sensational views over the mountains of this winter sports region can be enjoyed from every room.”

“This house is one of my favourite places in the whole world.” Jeffrey Katzenberg

Many big-name guests have had this pleasure over the years. Bill Clinton, Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise and Michael Jackson, to name just a few, have passed through the doors of this sprawling Deer Valley mansion and enjoyed all the pleasantries as guests of the family. The approx. 14,100 square feet property plays host to seven bedrooms and ten bathrooms, in addition to various salons, a double-height living room with beautiful ceiling beams and a large fireplace, a billiard room, indoor swimming pool with sauna and spa, and a playroom of sorts. “Gwathmey and Otto have shown their gift for creating beautiful rooms in this house, and giving an interior a special sense of space,” said Katzenberg. “At the same time they managed to ensure that every room feels very intimate and that everyone who resides here, be they residents or visitors, feels that sensation of security and homeliness.”

The homely atmosphere is also owed to Naomi Leff, who is responsible for the furnishings and decoration. The interior designer, who has made an international name for herself designing interiors for the private homes of famous clients including Steven Spielberg and Nicole Kidman, as well as signature stores for Ralph Lauren, Ferragamo, Gucci, Giorgio Armani and Helena Rubinstein, has a reputation for being an expert at capturing practically any era or mood in her creations. In the case of Katzenberg’s mansion, she was inspired by the stunning surroundings of the great outdoors. The name Utah is derived from the Ute people, who still live in the state together with other indigenous tribes. Home fabrics, carpets and plaids in particular feature typical web patterns and the traditional colours of red, white and black. Juxtaposed with the wooden floors, ceilings and walls, they give the ambience both a rustic charm and a warm character.

Warmth and cosiness really are the central assets of this home. Katzenberg and his wife, who spend the majority of their time at home in Los Angeles, were not looking for a cool urban look. They wanted to capture the magnificence of the surrounding nature outdoors inside the property. They have clearly succeeded – thanks to the materials they employed, the traditional style of furniture they chose, and the various seating corners strewn with cushions and upholstered in soft fabrics that serve the sole purpose of rest and leisure. But these are not the only aspects of the house sure to appeal. Step out of the door and you can clip your skis on there and then. “I’m a very ambitious skier,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg with a smile. “But this ski region has so many different kinds of slope to offer. Everyone can enjoy themselves here, including families with children, beginners and less experienced skiers. There is plenty for all abilities.” Park City is located to the north and east of no less than three large winter sports regions: City Resort, Deer Valley and The Canyons. Life might revolve around winter sports for the majority of the year here, but the city is also famous for a special event that draws half of Hollywood to the area every January: the Sundance Film Festival. First held in 1978, it is only since Robert Redford became chairman of the festival in 1981 that it began to grow in prominence and popularity. A host of independent filmmakers owe their big break in the indsutry to the festival in the mountains, including Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, James Wan, Marc Forster, the Coen brothers and Jim Jarmusch.

Jeffrey Katzenberg’s property is a retreat with a down-to-earth aura all of its own. “Separating from the house after twenty years is a little like bidding farewell to a dear friend. My children are all grown up now though, and my wife and I don’t get around to spending as much time here as we would like,” he says. For the film producer, it feels like time for another family to breathe life into the house and build their own special memories here. ua


Park City (US) San Francisco Real Estate, LLC, LICENCE PARTNER OF Engel & Völkers N.Y., LLC
Tel. +1 435 640 74 41 E-Mail

IssueGG Magazine 04/15
City/CountryPark City/ U.S.
PhotographyEngel & Voelkers San Francisco
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