Pulling your embroidered Park City fleece-lined hoodie over your head, you emerge, catching the scents of laurel, cypress and fir. Slowly opening your eyes, a flickering wick behind frosted cerulean glass illuminates the High West 7000’ vodka label featuring the artwork of Utah’s famed High West Distillery with the Main Street lift in the background. Immediately, you’re transported from your kitchen counter in Dallas, Atlanta or New York to the slopes of Utah, sharing laughter, memories and The Greatest Snow on Earth®.
All from a souvenir candle from several winters ago.
Beyond grabbing a few cotton tees, we can bring our favorite places home through decorative items that stimulate any or all of our senses, instantly taking us to a specific ski run, snowshoe trail, yurt dinner or fireside drink. Because so much of what draws us to Utah is rooted in nature, the design elements that capture it complement any personal style. From cabin core to mountain modern to desert chic, “Utah style” embraces natural elements that can be layered in any room and any home.
Aspens of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Kelly Best Bourgeois
Utah interior designer, Kristin Rocke, explained how design trends have typically been coast-driven but have expanded to the mountains and deserts of Utah where it has “created its own language in design.” In a state known for its “culture of doers and makers,” the creative depth of its architects, designers and artists of all mediums find motivation, collaboration and inspiration here.
Havoc Hendricks found his muse staring at the silhouette of the Wasatch and other ranges in the Intermountain West. His works adorn bookcases, office spaces, and even entire walls of ski resort dining halls. From varied angles, his distinctive “detailed minimalism” incorporates two-dimensional topographical lines and gradient colors to reveal the infinite depth of his mountain subjects, telling their stories and placing the viewer on a particular ridgeline or edge of a crevasse.
Rocke loves incorporating art in her clients’ homes. From a small painting to a coffee table book, it’s an “easy way to connect with a place.” She, too, recommends tapping each of our senses, not just vision. For example, foods and drinks such as Utah honey, chocolate and even whiskey make our gustatory and olfactory senses giddy. Are you getting hungry just thinking about it? Deer Valley Resort's famous turkey chili and chocolate chip cookies are packaged and available to take home to recreate and share with friends who will beg you to plan the next trip.
Similarly, “textures are critical. The hand of a fabric, the feel…,” Rocke explains. They should be not just comfortable but inviting, like gathering at the end of a long ski day with friends curled up with woolen pillows or faux fur throws. From Pendleton to Restoration Hardware, tactile pieces inspired by nature and ubiquitous in Utah resorts and homes have found their way into abodes everywhere.
But bringing Utah home doesn’t just mean buying new things. As one Utah ski family has discovered, a powder room can be a “Powder Room.” Writer Darby Doyle collected her family’s ski memorabilia and displayed them in the loo as if it were the Louvre. From lift tickets to ski team medals, personal photographs to commemorative lithographs, even helmets and actual skis adorn the walls. It looks like a time capsule opened when the commode was flushed, perfectly capturing the love and laughter generated on the slopes.
Because the outdoors typically draws people to Utah, it’s not surprising they are bringing designs found at ski resorts to their backyards, as well. Lanterns grace outdoor dining tables. Willow branches, elk antlers or forged metal chandeliers inspired by those found in grand lodges now illuminate homeowners’ covered patios. Freeform rock gardens with ribbons of flame, such as the one at the St. Regis Deer Valley, are replacing circular brick fire pits. Recreating the look and feel of Sundance Mountain Resort or Snowbasin Resort can be elaborate as those pictured below or as simple as pulling out a deck chair to lean back and stare beyond city lights to gaze at the stars.
But sometimes, just a simple candle will do. Feel the warm flame, smell the rich pine scents, watch and hear the light flicker until the wick dims to darkness. When you open your eyes, it is time to plan another trip to Utah.
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