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Park City Home: Fall 2020

Park City Home: 8 Steps to a Sophisticated Autumn Home

When your signature style is a fusion of muted colors and vintage décor, it’s no wonder that autumn is your favorite time of year. For Jamie Lundstrom, nature’s mellow season syncs comfortably with her aesthetic. You’ll find examples in her blog, somuchbetterwithage.com; her book, French Vintage Décor (Page Street Publishing); and her new interior design site, jamielundstrominteriors.com. We asked the Vancouver, Canada-based stylist how to give your home a cozy autumn hug.

1 Choose a non-conformist color scheme
While burnt orange and warm brown might be fall’s most obvious color pairing, nature has a whole palette of seasonally appropriate hues. “A while ago I started looking around garden centers and my own yard for inspiration, and found purple hydrangeas that had started to turn, then added eucalyptus leaves,” says Lundstrom. “The purple and green color scheme looked really pretty for fall. Almost anything that you’d find in nature that time of year will work.” So look at Russian sage, creamy chrysanthemums, and scarlet amaranthus. The pinkish coral roses Lundstrom used one autumn were a subtle seasonal nod that still steered clear of clichés.

2 Shop your closets
Lundstrom maintains there’s no need to rush out to a store’s seasonal decorating aisle. “Honestly, you don’t need a sign that says ‘I Love Fall.’” She digs into her kitchen cabinets, pulling out mason jars, large crockery vessels, and hefty stewpots, then heads into the backyard with a pair of clippers. “Clip a few tree branches, put them in a sturdy ceramic crock, and set it on your kitchen island. You’ve made something beautiful.” Other treasures that come out of hiding: mismatched teacups, vintage embroidered napkins, antique baskets, and galvanized buckets. “Fall is when you can bring out things with a bit of age. In the basement I found an old wooden toolbox that was perfect for displaying Mason jars of flowers. One year I found an antique basket I really liked, found a bowl that fit inside it, and filled it with hydrangeas. I love using faded objects from thrift stores for holding flowers, apples, or even a pile of throws.”

3 Do a quick seasonal swap
If you’ve got 15 minutes, you can give your home a fast fall overhaul. First, put away anything that screams “summer” — replace a straw hat hanging by the front door with a plaid throw or scarf, and store the beach towels and chairs. If you like scented candles, this is the time to bring them out. Change your throw pillows from light stripes to velvets and faux furs. Lundstrom says it’s more space efficient to invest in quality down inserts, then buy or sew zippered or envelope-style covers that take up minimal space in the linen closet. “You want to be able to switch things up without having to rent a storage unit.”

4 Create a cheerful first impression
Lundstrom says that your front entry is the one part of your home that everyone sees, even if they’re not lingering inside. “Make sure the front door and steps are clean and swept, and maybe get a new doormat — typically by fall it’s gotten pretty ratty.” The same goes for summer plants that have become leggy. “If you have planters, put in some flowering cabbages and kale, fall perennials, or boxwood” for a tidy, cheerful welcome. And while you’re at the garden center, keep an eye out for planters. This is the time of year when lightweight planters are replaced by more substantial, earthier pieces that make major statements.

5 Go big
Large homes often have big front hallways that are great places for major seasonal statements. “My previous house had a two-story foyer, and it was easy to decorate with lots of foliage in a huge vase on the front table,” says Lundstrom.

In general, one or two large-scale pieces, rather than a dozen diminutive accents, make a more handsome impression. Lundstrom says that while the photos on her blog typically feature many layers of decorative elements, she actually prefers a less cluttered approach. “Putting together a photo for a blog is like applying makeup on TV. You need a lot more than you use in real life. I like a more streamlined look with just a few large seasonal elements. That way your eye is drawn to the fall items, rather than bouncing around a slew of little things.”

6 Don’t fear the faux
Lundstrom is a fan of faux greenery, as long as it’s displayed correctly. “What gives it away is the stems, which don’t look that real. So use a vessel like a piece of pottery, rather than a glass vase.” Combine some tree clippings from your backyard with two or three few faux branches, and place it on a mantle, side table, kitchen island, or your home office.

7 Savor the smells of childhood
The scent of an apple pie, a fresh loaf of bread, or a big pot of stew are synonymous with fall. Lundstrom thinks that they are particularly welcoming because, for many of us, these warm, hearty aromas bring back memories of childhood. Appealing to all the senses creates the deepest impressions.

8 Get the kids involved
Creating a sophisticated fall interior doesn’t mean you can’t bring your kids into the process. One project that’s particularly suitable is the set of craft pumpkins Lundstrom painted in muted fall colors. “You have to paint them in a way that’s not perfect in order to make them look more realistic. Kids will generally miss spots, and that’s exactly what you want.”  

Park City Home: Kitchen Tool Maintenance

Among the skills required of a good cook is the ability to take care of all the kitchen tools you can’t do without. It helps ensure meal-making is not only easier and more efficient, but also safer. Take a weekend to look after some of your most-used kitchen regulars — and then keep up the good work.
Knife maintenance is a two-step process. Sharpening, which is only occasionally done, grinds a blade to a razor-thin edge. Honing, which is often done before each use, straightens the edge’s slight misalignment that occurs every time you make a cut.
How to sharpen depends on the knife’s quality. For everyday blades, a manual or electric sharpener is good enough. Just lightly pull the edge through the v-shaped slots, moving from the coarsest slot to the finest.
A better job can be done with a sharpening stone, also known as a whetstone. But some skill is required to use it properly. For high quality knives, treat yourself, and the knives, to an occasional visit to a professional sharpener.
Honing is done with a honing steel, a metal rod with a handle on the end that makes it look something like a magic wand. There’s a technique to honing, but basically a few light strokes on the steel can make a slightly dull knife sharper than new. Keep it that way by not storing it loosely in a drawer.

Cutting Boards
While the argument over wood versus plastic cutting boards goes on, a majority of serious cooks prefer wood, for aesthetic reasons and because wood doesn’t dull a knife as quickly as plastic does. Whichever you chose, the need to ensure food safety requires that the board is cleaned frequently.
As soon as you have finished with a wood board, scrub it with warm soapy water or a mix of lemon juice and salt. Wipe it clean, then let it dry. Don’t soak it, and don’t put it in the dishwasher. Every month or so, after the board is dry, seal it with a coat or two of mineral oil and wipe it off with a dry cloth. Do the same thing with wooden utensils.
The main advantage of a plastic cutting board is that it can go in the dishwasher. But after a while, the knife grooves left in the plastic’s surface harbor bacteria more tenaciously than even those in a well-used wood board. Which means that a plastic board should be replaced more often.
For increased protection against food contamination, consider using two boards. One for raw meat, especially poultry, and one for everything else.

Pots and pans
The key to making an easier job of cleaning almost any cookware is to avoid procrastinating. Start while the pot or pan is still warm, and you may need nothing more than soapy water and a sponge or gentle scrub brush. Immediately wipe it dry, as that can help prevent rust on cast iron, pitting on aluminum and stainless, and tarnishing on copper. In general, avoid steel wool, abrasive cleaners, or harsh detergents, and don’t put cookware in the dishwasher, even though some is labeled dishwasher safe.
For cast iron skillets, don’t scrub so hard that you scour away its seasoning, which is a protective layer of baked-on vegetable oil that should be applied to the cast iron before first use and then periodically renewed. How often to re-season varies, but if you notice rust, or that food is sticking, it’s time.
Whatever the type of metal, if a gentle scrub with soap and water doesn’t do the job, scour lightly with a toothpaste-like mix of baking soda and water.
Cheese graters
Most of the time, cleaning a cheese grater is just a matter of running it through the dishwasher. But cheese residue often clings to the grater’s blades and then gets baked on during the washer’s drying cycle. So, without letting it sit, begin by soaking the grater in water, but not so long that rust has time to form, then scrub it with a brush (even a toothbrush works fine), rinsing before it goes into the dishwasher.
Coffee pots
Not so much a kitchen tool as a kitchen fuel, a good cup of coffee can be a valuable asset for many cooks. That means keeping the coffeepot clean is a necessity. A common method, and an effective bacteria killer, is about once a month to brew up a half-and-half pot of water and white vinegar, let it sit for a while, then repeat the process only using water. For some people, though, a taste of vinegar lingers. In that case, replace the vinegar with a quarter cup of baking soda, fully dissolved, and cycle the water all the way through, which should eliminate any odors.  

Park City Home: A Masterclass in Buying Art

Before she launched her design firm, Beth Ann Shepherd worked at Christie’s, one of the art world’s most prestigious auction houses. Today, whether her Dressed Design team is staging a Beverly Hills estate or glamorizing a Deer Valley lodge, a big part of the project is curating the art.
Even if the last drawing you framed came from a kindergartner’s crayon, Shepherd says you can start acquiring pieces full of personality and polish.

park city home: Tell us why a home needs art.
beth ann shepherd: Art tells a story. Art is a visual display of one’s life, personal liberties and proclivities, as well as one’s evolution, often amassed over decades. Art tells us who you are, what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what makes you remember a moment that illuminates a corner of your development.
From an aesthetic standpoint, art is the icing on the cake, the sparkle in the fireworks, the polish in the performance. Art is mandatory for the completion of a home’s design.

pch: Common advice is to buy what you like, but what if you’re unsure of your taste?
bas: There is no reason to buy something you do not like. However, relying on professionals who follow trends, know the classics, and make it their job to know you and your taste, as well as color palette and proportions, will probably yield a better look and make your art adventure a more pleasurable one.
I love introducing people to the world of art, who previously have not purchased gallery or auction level artwork. I also love working with people who know something about art and like to collect. But my favorite
part is presenting them with artists and works they have not seen. The excitement in bringing something fresh
is unmatched.

pch: Is it possible to develop a good eye?
bas: There is a naturally good “art eye” and then there is a “studied art eye.” It’s very similar to music. There are savants and then there are those who work for years to play a perfect “Flight of the Bumblebee.”
There are several levels of education and ways to develop your art eye. The internet has a plethora of sources, including online magazines, where you can research and study new talent and follow auction results, which show declines and surges for specific genres and artists, to find out which direction the buying bend and trend is headed.
When I worked at Christie’s the fine art specialists would speculate based on collector interest. While a Picasso or a Chagall was always desirable to the modern art collector, the Latin American artists weren’t as well known. At that time, buying a Wifredo Lam or a Rufino Tamayo was considered a risky investment, but those artworks, which could have gone for hundreds of thousands in the early 90s, are now worth millions.

pch: Let’s talk about money, and how much you need to acquire decent art.
bas: For $100 you can discover fabulous hidden gems at estate sales, vintage stores, or consignment shops, which you can customize with the right framing. One of my favorite pieces came from a junk shop. No one was interested, or could see under the inches of dust, but I was transfixed by the very unusual rubber mold of a woman’s face, leaning in a corner of a garage. After selecting a black wool liner and a double frame to add dimension, she holds a place of honor in my home.
If you prefer a poster print, which can be fun in the right areas, many retail stores and online outlets can assist.
For $1,000 you can buy plenty more, especially size-wise. Never underestimate the power of well-proportioned, large-scale artwork. There are several web sites where you can order to your own size with or without a frame.
For $10,000, you are entering the gallery-buying zone. Fabulous pieces, priced upwards of $20,000, can often be negotiated down to $10,000, depending on the market, the medium, and the potential of a gallery earning your future business. You can also commission a personal piece from a talented artist, usually an unknown. We have had an artist paint an owner’s parrot, we’ve had a woman’s dog drawn in charcoal, and I had an artist paint a portrait of me with my favorite dog, Baron.

pch: Is an original better than a print?
bas: While “better” is a highly subjective word, an original is generally of better quality and a better investment. But a better price, no. Fine prints of renowned artworks can be quite valuable and sell at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Case in point would be Andy Warhol’s “original” screenprints, like the famous “Marilyn,” which often sell in excess of $100,000.

pch: What do you think about posters in grown-up homes?
bas: In the luxury home market, posters are rarely used, but in a bar area or a screening room, we may use a vivid Toulouse-Lautrec poster or, in a home office, posters of architectural drawings, which you can even make at home. Certainly in children’s rooms, posters can be fun and colorful and range from animals to astronomy.

pch: Give us your take on mixing genres in a room. For example, an equestrian oil and a graphic B&W photo.
bas: We always mix our genres, as well as our mediums. We encourage a room with a traditional equine oil-on-canvas, which may be a family heirloom; an investment piece such as a text-based painting by Ed Rusha; a black and white photograph from a notable photographer; or a special shot taken by the homeowner and properly matted and framed. Mixing mediums and genres demonstrates a well-curated or collected home and a vivid life. Art spans decades and centuries, so to tell the story takes many layers.

pch: Do you have advice on buying art online?
bas: Online is certainly reliable from vendors that guarantee authenticity, such as auction houses, which are now all selling online — and on your own time schedule. There’s also 1st Dibs, which is the five-star Ebay, if you will, and guarantees its products. Galleries and even artists are now selling their products on line. Do your research and be smart when buying anything online.

pch: What about negotiating prices — is that acceptable?
bas: Absolutely. We went to purchase one piece for a home and ended up buying six pieces, at a fraction of the asking cost. Even if you are purchasing one piece, please negotiate. The seller may have to call the artist or the owner of the artwork “from the back room,” but every artwork is negotiable. Do not be embarrassed to ask. It is expected.

pch: Are gallery walls still a thing?
bas: Yes, the gallery wall is a classic. Whether it is your family, all in black and white prints, or a collection of your favorite readings and photos from over the years, the gallery wall will never go out of style.

Park City Home: Virtual Showings Are a Growing Trend

Covid-19 may have sped up the process, but for a while now virtual home showings, which are broadly thought of as showings done online instead of in person, have been on their way to becoming a standard part of home-buying.
According to a 2019 survey by the National Association of Realtors, even before Covid-19 appeared on the horizon nearly 80% of prospective buyers said they would switch to a real estate agent offering immersive 3D virtual tours, which are akin to a cross between a virtual reality video game and an indoor version of Google Maps. And the online real estate database company Zillow reports that even after the pandemic ends, 30% of Americans say they would be likely to buy a home completely online.
The main appeal of virtual home showings is that a buyer can get a deep understanding of a property and its potential without having to step foot in it. Buyers and sellers still need a real estate agent, for all the usual things a professional does, such as advising on market conditions, helping get a home ready for sale, and determining a fair price.
Yet despite the growing enthusiasm for this new kind of home-buying experience, the technology is developing so rapidly that even many real estate pros are still struggling to clearly define the various types of “virtual” home showings there actually are.
What most people think of as virtual home showings fall into two basic categories.
One, often interchangeably called a virtual or livestream tour, showing, or open house, is not really virtual. (Strictly speaking, “virtual” is a computer-generated simulation meant to look real.) Instead, it is an online, live, hosted video tour in which the prospective buyer, who can be physically located anywhere in the world, can see the property and ask questions in real time of the host, who is physically at the property site.
The other type, a true virtual tour, commonly known as an immersive 3-D virtual tour or walkthrough, is not live and is not technically real. It is an online, un-hosted, prerecorded tour of a 360° 3-D simulation of an actual house. (An industry leader in the technology, Matterport, calls the simulation a digital twin.) It allows the buyer, who can also be physically located anywhere, to look at the property from almost any perspective imaginable, including with virtually staged furniture or a cutaway re-creation known as a dollhouse view.
The video tour is the more common of the two, in part because the technology is relatively simple and inexpensive, and in part because it most closely resembles the traditional home-buying experience. With a smart-phone video camera, a video conferencing site such as Zoom, and a good internet connection, the agent walks through the home with camera in hand while the buyer, watching from their own phone, might ask the agent to focus in on the kitchen countertops or draw back the living room curtains to see the outside view.
If it is worth the agent’s time, such as with a luxury home, or in a particularly competitive market, a live video tour might be arranged for a single prospect. But more commonly, it is set up as a video open house. The open house is a scheduled, live event, announced and promoted in advance by the agent, and is open to anyone who has signed up. Viewers of the live video tour can ask the agent questions and request specific camera shots. Usually, the event is recorded as it takes place, and stored online, so that later on anyone can look at it.
The pre-recorded 3-D virtual tour or virtual walk-through is more technically complicated, more expensive to create, and is often put together by a 3-D technology professional.
Creating a 3-D virtual tour is a two-step process. First, every corner of the home, after being staged (or emptied of furnishings) is photographed with a special tripod-mounted 360° camera. Computer software “stitches” the photos into a 360° panoramic view of the home’s interior and converts it to a digital rendering that can be manipulated in a nearly endless number of ways.
Want to see what a room looks like in different lighting, or painted a different color, or with different tile in the bathrooms? It’s easy as a click. If the house is empty of furnishings, you can virtually stage the rooms any way you want, and re-stage them if you want to try something else. If you’re unsure whether a sofa or a dining room set will fit, you can measure the space, precisely, from anywhere. You can access an interactive floor plan that will take you to any room, switch your perspective to look from the bottom or top of a staircase, and click on tags that might tell you, for example, that the living room floors are real hardwood, and were refinished less than a year ago.
To make the online experience even more useful for buyers and sellers, real estate agents are more and more often offering both live video showings and 3-D interactive tours. They are even adding enhancements such as drone tours so that buyers can see for themselves what the seller means, for example, when they say the property is ski-in.
Even if a miracle vaccine has been discovered between the time this was written and readers are looking at it, no one is sure how the world is going to change as a result of Covid-19. But a safe bet is that no matter what the outcome is, the ever-more-powerful tools virtual technology is putting in the hands of agents and clients will change the world of home buying forever.

Park City Home: Breathe Easy

When most people imagine poor air quality, what often comes to mind is factory smoke, auto emissions, or some natural weather occurrence. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, concentrations of air pollutants can typically be up to five times higher inside your home than out, and sometimes far more.
“In part, it’s because we live in an age where we don’t keep doors and windows open for ventilation,” says Kimberly Button, founder of getgreenbewell.com and a certified consultant for WELL AP, an international program that sets standards for creating buildings that protect and promote good health.
One of the reasons for a lack of natural ventilation is that building codes often require new homes to be more airtight to conserve energy costs, says Button. But the more airtight a home is, the less natural air exchange there is from outside.
“Fortunately, while poor indoor air quality is a major concern, it’s also one of the easiest problems in your home to fix,” Button says.
If your windows can be opened, simply doing so more often will help to increase natural circulation and reduce indoor air contaminants. But even if building code requirements have your house sealed up tighter than a space suit, Button maintains there’s still plenty you can do.
“Start by paying attention to the everyday household products you use. Some of them, such as aerosol air fresheners, hairspray, and nail polish contribute to poor air quality.”
The concern with many of these products is gases emitted by what are known as VOC’s, or Volatile Organic Compounds. Many VOC’s are relatively benign. But the emissions from those found in some household products, in particular coatings such as paints, stains, varnishes, and lacquers, can result in respiratory and other health problems.
“Using low-VOC or non-VOC coatings, which are usually indicated on the container, is a good option,” says Button. “Just keep in mind that reducing the VOCs in the paint doesn’t necessarily mean its other harmful chemicals are also reduced. So, when shopping you are best to stick with a company that has a holistic approach to the materials in the paint.” Button likes the 50-year-old eco-friendly brand, ECOS.
Less well recognized but also potentially troublesome are VOC emissions released by certain kinds of new flooring, furniture, and cabinetry. “The problem is that a lot of these are not made from real wood but materials such as pressed particle board, containing glues with VOCs that may release gas emissions into your home for years,” says Button. As with pollution-creating paint, cosmetics, and other household products, the solution can be to select non-VOC materials to begin with.
According to Button, there are several other ways to improve indoor air quality:
Clean regularly
Airborne household dust contains all sorts of contaminants, including bacteria, allergens, pet dander, dead skin cells, and dust mites. Frequent vacuuming, laundering of bed linens, and wet-mopping and dusting are all necessary tools for fighting them. Do not use bagless vacuums, which tend to put particles back into the air. The most effective vacuums are fitted with HEPA filters, which trap extremely small particles.
Eliminate moisture 
Moisture encourages mold, which can be a serious health danger. In addition to natural ventilation, manage moisture by eliminating sources of water leaks and installing exhaust fans, air conditioning, and, if necessary, a dehumidifier. Whole-house models are best, but even a portable room unit can make a difference, especially in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. In kitchens, a range hood exhaust fan can also remove odors, heat, airborne grease, and smoke.
Install an air purifier  
While the primary purpose of air-conditioners and dehumidifiers is removing moisture from the air, air purifiers are also designed to eliminate irritating particles, and, in some cases, odors. Sometimes built into the home ventilation system, and sometimes stand-alone, they vary in design, depending on the type of filter used. The most basic — and most common — filter traps particles in air being pushed through the purifier. A more powerful version of that is a HEPA filter, which is especially good for trapping the mold, pollen, and pet dander that can be a problem for asthmatics. Activated carbon filters are good for removing odors. And when used in tandem with HEPA filters, they are excellent at trapping tobacco and fireplace smoke. UV filters, which are actually germ-killing ultraviolet light, inactivate some but not necessarily all micro-organisms. Ionizers, ozone generators, and electrostatic filters should be avoided, as they produce ozone, which can cause respiratory problems.

Clean/replace your air filters
 How often you clean or replace your home air filters will depend on factors such as the filter type and how many pets you have. It could be anywhere from a month or less to a year or more, so check with the manufacturer. One thing for sure, though, is the longer you put off tending to the filter the dirtier your home’s air becomes.
Don’t mess with asbestos (or lead paint) 
These aren’t a problem when renovating newer homes, as consumer use of lead paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978, and asbestos in the early 1980s. But both are still around in older structures, and airborne particles stirred up when working with either can have dire long-term consequences. Lead paint chips and dust are especially harmful to children. Asbestos and lead testing and removal should be left to professionals.
Monitor carbon monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas that can be emitted by any ill-functioning gas-burning home appliance. Monitor for it with detectors not unlike those used for smoke alarms. Place them in the major areas of your home, especially the bedrooms. If an alarm goes off, get out into fresh air, and let the pros take over.
The solutions to some of these air quality problems are, admittedly, not as simple as opening a window. And doing the research to make sure you get them right can be a chore. “But if you want to create a home with healthier air to breathe, you have to do it, and you’ll be happy you did,” says Button.

Park City Home: Operation Happiness

She delights in stripes, thinks greige is gruesome, and never met a shocking pink she didn’t like. There’s no mistaking a Megan Winters interior. When other decorators play it safe and soothing, Winters spins a gleeful magic. If you see a room papered in a red-and-white zebra print or a gilded vanity shaped like a cartoon cloud, it’s a safe bet that the Chicago-based designer had a hand in it.
Winters creates the kind of joyful spaces we could all use right now. We asked how homeowners can tap into her signature style to create their own happy place.

The color renderings you create for clients are beautifully done, and easily allow someone to envision the final result. Is there a similar process a layman can undertake to help nail a color scheme?
MW: Color is such a personal thing. Typically, I ask clients to pull tear sheets of what they love, and more importantly what they do not like. Frankly, clients do not come to me for “demure”! I am known for bold pattern and color so most know what they are getting into.

Are there any really big-ticket color decisions a homeowner should avoid? Something like custom upholstery in a questionable color?
MW: I am NEVER going to talk a client out of a hot pink sofa. For the more reserved, I often suggest paint as the vehicle for wild color; and I can honestly say we have never had to repaint!

What’s your trick for making a black-and-white scheme feel personal and happy?
MW: Black and white are my classic go-to colors. Think Chanel! I adore infusing hot pink, sexy gold and silver, and vibrant “pop” accents into my design projects. It’s like throwing on spectacular gold jewelry with a little black dress — it just works.

You have a strong affinity for stripes. Why are you drawn to them and can you use them anywhere?
MW: Stripes are THE BEST! I love them for so many reasons. That strong, linear pattern can balance a room and offer the perfect backdrop for ornate furniture, accessories, and art. And yes, you can use them anywhere, just keep in mind the overall balance of the room. If you have an incredible bold stripe on the wall, let that be the focus.

Can a neutral palette — beige, putty, white — be joyful?
MW: Now we are getting into dangerous territory! I am not much for beige. Even my beach homes that have massive amounts of bleached wood, rattan, and driftwood are infused with joyous pops of blue and green. If I have to pick a neutral, give me crisp white any and every day. Just know I am going to layer in an accent color or two.

How would you bring happiness and life into a mountain-style home with heavy wood beams, wood floors, stone fireplaces, and ironwork, while staying true to the surroundings?
MW: You’ve got my attention! I adore mountain projects. Organic wood, stone, and ironwork absolutely can be sensational. A magnificent rug, seriously fabulous art, and killer throw pillows are all game-changers, adding instant visual pop. And I have painted many an iron piece in my day, from bright colors to gold and silver leaf. I love strong, shiny glossy lacquer paint. Instant spark!

Who are some of your favorite designers or style muses, and what do you take from them? Are you influenced by a particular time period or place?
MW: Fashion is so important to me; my wardrobe is exactly what you’d expect. Bold signature pieces of black and white, killer shoes, and statement handbags. I adore Chanel, the fashion, the lifestyle, the glamour. I think Celine is fabulous, and my Prada shoe wardrobe is kind of legendary! As far as cities, there is no place in the world like Paris — she is my constant muse.

How has your approach to design changed over time? Is there a room you did 10 years ago that you’d love a chance to redo today?
MW: I can truly say I am still crazy after all these years! I am grateful to look back at the few first projects I completed and not cringe in the least. I just celebrated my ten-year anniversary and in all that time I would say my evolution is more of a personal one, starting with don’t take clients that are not into what I do. If you want subtle beige, I know just the designer for you and I am happy to give you that name and number! Style wise, I have always been about chic, glamorous, happy spaces.

How do you know when a client’s existing piece will work in a new design, and when it needs to be put in storage? Let’s say you’re creating a glamorous, gilt-edged dining room and they want to incorporate a rustic farmhouse dining table.
MW: Ah, the number one question! Once in a blue moon a client may have an heirloom piece that I might think is god-awful, but part of my job is to make it spectacular. I think sometimes a piece that is a bit “off” can make a room. So, we make it work. But on a rare occasion, I will look deep into their eyes and ask if they trust me … and we lovingly find grandma’s end tables a new home.

What do you do to keep a budget under control? What’s worth splurging on, and what can you spend less on?
MW: Since I am a business person, I totally respect budgets. I am crystal clear about what you can get for what you want to pay. If a client has limitations, I will always suggest investing in good upholstery. Case goods [cabinetry, bureaus, bookshelves] we can cheat a bit, but I am fortunate to say so far, my clients are along for the show-stopping ride.

Do you have any surefire tips for giving a room an immediate spark of happiness?
MW: YES! I love to place oversized stuffed sheep into even the most formal room. Instant joy, laughter, eye candy!

Describe your dream client.
MW: Coco Chanel. She was quite a broad, with a wicked sense of humor and impeccable taste. We would have gotten along perfectly.

Park City Home: X Marks the Spot

Kimball Hotel & Stage Stop
Think of it as the Chateau Marmont of the 19th century. Over 150 years ago on the Overland stagecoach trail, William H. Kimball erected a sandstone building that housed dining rooms, a store, a post office, and 11 guest rooms. Among the bold-faced names who overnighted were Horace Greeley and Walt Whitman, who no doubt enjoyed the fresh trout and wild duck, and Mark Twain, who probably found inspiration in the saloon, first in the Park City area.
Interstate 80 rest stop, 1.5 miles east of Kimball Junction

Doggy Door Tie Cutter Cabin
Life was a rough for the men who logged the tens of millions of cross-ties needed to build and maintain the transcontinental railroads. For proof, visit this early 20th century log cabin, insulated with cardboard, chinked with mud, and admired by animal lovers for its 8-inch built-in doggy door. The place is largely as it would have been when it was abandoned in the 1940s, when axes and saws were replaced with gas-powered machinery.
Accessed via a half-mile hike from the main Smith’s Fork Forest Service road in the Wasatch National Forest.

William and Martha Myrick House
If you’re looking to give your new spouse a wedding gift, you might take a lesson from William Myrick. In 1901, he built his young bride, Martha, a house. And not just any house. Even with the rage for Victorian architecture tiptoeing into the Kamas Valley, the home’s elaborate gingerbread, latticework, and checkerboard panels, interpretations of the then-fashionable Eastlake style, must have looked like a wayward dollhouse in the rural farmland. As they still do today.
Milepost 14.4 and Highway 32, Marion.

Road Island Diner
And now for something completely different. The prefabricated roadside diner started its march across the American landscape in the 1920s and 30s, and this beauty is one of the rarest: a classic Streamline Moderne, prefabricated in 1939 in New Jersey. After being displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, it dished up decades of grub in Massachusetts and Rhode Island before businessman Keith Walker moved it to Utah in 2008. It made the National Register a year later, said to be the only pre-war Art-Deco Streamline diner west of the Mississippi.
981 West Weber Canyon Road, Oakley

Park City Home: Summer 2020

Park City Home: Spring 2020