Dramatic Gesture

Sweeping views of stunning canyon country are the starring attraction in this Southern Utah home

Written by Alexandria Abramian | Photography Courtesy of Chris Odekerken

When Chris Odekerken was deciding whether to purchase a more than 1,200-acre property nestled between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Southern Utah, he hired a plane to tour the dramatic landscape. The jaw-dropping views easily helped to make up his mind. Next choice? Deciding where to site the home he would eventually build in the mostly road-less area. For this mission, Odekerken spent days hiking the land, until he staked a claim on a pristine perch on a canyon rim. “This is a huge area and there was nothing out here, so I started hiking on all of the rims until I found this,” says Odekerken, referring to the prime spot where his 2,200-square-foot home now sits.

Originally from the Netherlands, Odekerken first came to the United States when he was 22 years old and was instantly attracted to the rugged beauty of Southern Utah. But it wasn’t until a few decades later, after he had sold a successful bakery business to Mission Foods in 2004, that he was finally able to realize his dream of living there. The building process took no less than three years, and involved many drives along what started out as a “very primitive” 9-mile road that ends at Kiva Lodge, the whimsical retreat that Odekerken created.

Drawing inspiration from kivas, the round, ceremonial buildings typically used by Native Americans in the Southwest, Odekerken enlisted architect Bob Kaczowka of Marina del Rey-based Mesa Design. “We only needed a few words, he then made four sketches. Then we worked out one together and he finalized the design into a great translation of where I wanted to go,” says Odekerken, who channeled both native Amercan and Mexican influences in the home.

Building the residence wasn’t the only challenge, however. When it came time to decorating it, as well as the stand-alone bunkhouse that sleeps up to six, Odekerken discovered that he had to look beyond nearby options in Utah. “I started looking around locally and it was all so ugly—too many frills,” he says. The solution? More driving, this time to Santa Fe, Phoenix and various places in Colorado where he sourced natural-hued pieces rooted in simplicity and elegant design.

Today the house is both a retreat from and reflection of its one-of-a-kind environment. “I wanted to have a home that is very organic and natural and mostly that showed off the rocks of the area,” says Odekerken.

The residence also commands dramatic, 360-degree views of stunning canyon land from almost every corner. On the ground floor, sprawling windows and wrap-around decks are all trained toward aweinspiring red rock terrain dotted with oak brush, cedar and pine. “Colorwise, it is so beautiful here,” says Odekerken. “I wanted the home to capture that, so I did things like stacking rock from the area on the home vertically, so you could really see it.”

Odekerken designed the ground floor of the main home to include two bedrooms, while the second story’s circular kiva space offers an alternate nighttime location. “It’s a great place to go with just a sleeping bag and a bottle of wine,” he says of the space that houses his home office and is only accessed via an exterior ladder. Other areas at Kiva Lodge invite contemplation, such as the completely whimsical bathtub perched along the rim of the property.

“I spent the night at that spot when I was originally exploring the property,” adds Odekerken. “I thought it was amazing, so I bought a very beautiful, old-fashioned iron bathtub and it’s literally 2 feet from the drop, but somehow, it doesn’t feel scary. I bring water and fill the tub in the morning. During the day, it heats up and by late afternoon, it’s warm and wonderful. Being in there is almost like a meditation.”

“This may not be the average American home, but for me, it’s the realization of a dream,” says Odekerken. “In my opinion, there is nothing like the natural beauty of this country west of the Rockies.”


LIST PRICE $4,800,000


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