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Park City Home: Presto, Chango!

A star of hospitality design shows Mountain West dwellers how to embrace a fresh wave of snow-country style

New quartzite counters meet classic cabinetry.

Close your eyes and picture a quintessential mountain lodge. Chances are you’re thinking of oversize leather armchairs, antler accessories, and a palette of warm, earthy hues. That look has been the mainstay of ski-country style for the last few decades, especially in high-end resorts where guests crave a luxurious cocoon after a day outdoors.

Ten years ago, Linda Snyder, principal at her eponymous firm in Los Angeles, fully embraced that aesthetic. The designer, who’s created coddling interiors coast to coast, went full-on lodge when she was hired to create the interiors for the St. Regis Deer Valley in 2009. The results — a blend of “rich furnishings and rugged undertones” — became a benchmark for high-end interiors from the Sierras to the Rockies.

Fast-forward to 2020. Aesthetics develop, trends come and go, and what
was once the pinnacle of mountain posh seems just a little out of date. As she puts the finishing touches on a remodel of the St. Regis, Snyder shares her vision for the next generation of ski-country style. If your own pad is feeling a bit tired, it’s a great blueprint for a contemporary Western refresh.

Bring in the Blues
“Our first challenge was to step away from what we did 10 years ago and re-envision the space,” says Snyder. “We thought it would be difficult, but it came together quickly. Largely, that was a result of going away from the really warm colors — the beet reds, the browns — and going into cool blues.” She says incorporating a palette of blues, from deep cobalt to the coolest ice, brought in a fresh ambiance while being true to the location.
Snyder thought primarily about two very different blue tones: First was the intense sapphire-blue sky you see so often when you’re riding a chairlift, surrounded by white snow. Second, and perhaps even more exquisite, was the elusive ice-crystal hue of a shimmery slope or frosted window. Ice crystals didn’t just lend their crisp, clean tonality to Snyder’s design, but to patterns, as well. “Crystalline formations inspire local artisans and jewelers, who use their shapes as influences,” says the designer. She incorporated the form into the geometric design of a carpet, the snowburst pattern on fabrics, and the handblown crystals dripping from a light fixture.

Dig Into History
Snyder’s design process starts with researching an area, which can lead to some inspired decisions. She says, “All of our designs start by developing a narrative, and creating a storyline that elicits an emotional response.”
Metallics might sound out of place in such a rugged landscape, and certainly a chrome coffee table might strike an odd note. But mining and Western mountain towns go hand-in-hand, and that history informs a good part of Snyder’s 2020 redesign.

Throughout the Mountain West, boomtowns sprung up when silver, gold, and copper were discovered, and precious metals and minerals figure throughout the property, often in raw, industrial formats. It appears in the console tables with their silver bases, deep bronze-colored fireplace screens, and silverleaf worked into cork wall covering. One grand statement is a wall of bronze tubing behind the front desk; another is a massive hanging light fixture crafted from steel and mesh. Images of raw chunks of silver hang in powder rooms.

Historic references inform surfaces throughout the resort. Indigenous peoples’ patterns are woven into fabrics, and rugged braiding borrowed from horse blankets and winter wear was used in upholstery. Some pieces, such as the asymmetrical bedside tables perched on three hand-forged legs, call to mind the early days of railway workers and blacksmiths.

Respect Good Bones
Refreshing a design doesn’t mean starting from scratch. It’s something the hospitality industry understands, and homeowners should as well: Keep a building’s good bones and rely on soft goods and accessories to transition into a more current look. Not only does it preserve quality work meant to stand the test of time, it helps you stay on budget. Synder says, “The original project’s rugged woods, the strength of the bronze, the colors that come right from natural surroundings — none of that changed. We felt it was all still successful and appropriate.” The bathrooms remain clad in their original travertine and woven tile, and the millwork and wood floors remained intact.

One hard surface she did jettison was granite. The old countertops made way for quartzite — the natural rock, not the manmade material — which created a sleeker, contemporary finish. “It’s the densest natural stone available, and we found a beautiful one with grey veining.” Sometimes, a designer’s most difficult decision is when to say goodbye to an old friend and adopt a fresh perspective. 


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