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Utah Style and Design

House Tour: Small Wonder

October 8, 2018

With engaging art and oodles of surprising details, designer Cody Derrick lives large in a city-center condo measuring little more than 1,000 square feet.

The Maryland holds a special place in Cody Derrick’s heart. He first became smitten with the century-old, neoclassical building when he showed a client a condo there 15 years ago. And then in 2010, while knee-deep in branding his now-noteworthy real estate brokerage and interior design firm, cityhomeCOLLECTIVE, Derrick purchased a Maryland condo for himself and refurbished it in moody hues of brown, taupe, moss and gray, creating a den-like refuge from his frenetic professional life.

The condo’s unabashed design scheme greets guests from the compact entry, both drawing visitors in and inviting them to pause and take in Derrick’s fascinating vignettes of objects and art.

Fast-forward to late 2017. Derrick breaks ground on his dream home on a rare vacant lot in the 9th and 9th neighborhood and reluctantly puts his beloved Maryland condo on the market. But just as the adage, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” insinuates, the condo sale finalizes just as delays for his new home began to mount. “So, since I didn’t have a place to live, when another of the Maryland’s two corner condos with two patios went on the market, I decided to buy it, remodel it and live here again until my house is done,” he says. This time around, however, rather than creating a reclusive hideaway suitable for “an old man,” Derrick infused his current Maryland condo with light, color and boatloads of interesting details. “My intent for this place was to express a side of my personality that’s a little brighter and more colorful. I think of it kind of like the lobby of a really cool hotel, or,” he says with a wry smile, “where that old man’s flamboyant wife might live.”

The dining room is a study in layered textures and elements, from the sleek glass tabletop, dining chairs and pendant lamp to a plush pair of tiger-inspired handmade velvet throw pillows, gray shag rug and a soft salmon-hued orchid centerpiece.

Truly, when you first step over the threshold, it’s hard to decide where to look first. Every space throughout the condo—which at just over 1,000 feet might be better classified as a flat—is used to display unexpected combinations of texture and color. But whereas this eclectic design direction could easily feel forced, the result is au courant, intimate and simply joyful all at the same time; the kind of place that feels like it’s been lovingly lived in for several years, rather than just a few months.

As seen from the dining room, a nude painting by Utah artist, D. Howell Rosenbaum, creates an unexpected focal point in the condo’s compact kitchen.

Derrick’s approach to his current condo’s off-beat interior design was similar to how he begins design projects for his clients: respecting what’s there. “Whatever exists matters to me and is worth a discussion. And with a place with this much history, I think it’s a disservice to change things that can’t be changed back,” he says. Derrick embraced the condo’s abundant natural light by painting the walls white and staining the original wainscoting, moldings and floors a rich espresso, creating a bright, yet historically-infused backdrop for a show-stopping collection of objects, textiles and antiques. Pieces like an early 19th-century French giltwood Rococo foyer table, the kitchen’s retro fridge and a reindeer-hide covered bench in the dining room, its underside stuffed with books.

The door at the far end of the kitchen was once a service staff entrance. and though Derrick chooses not to use it, he decided to maintain the passageway as a nod to the building’s history.

But what really gives the place the sense that multiple visits are required to take it all in is the art. A salon-style display of family photos and celebrity portraits fill a foyer wall. An enormous portrait of Mark Seeley, a tattooed agent in Derrick’s real estate brokerage, is prominently displayed among several original paintings in the dining room. Next to the kitchen fridge is a nude by reclusive Utah artist D. Howell Rosenbaum that Derrick found rolled up in a corner at Euro Treasure Antiques. Even the bathroom is filled with art, mostly prints of Mormon story-inspired works by Derrick’s friend and Utah-born artist, Justin James.

The small bathroom is used to display even more pieces by artist Justin James, whose work frequently explores events from Mormon history.

The space’s multiple layers are kept from getting out of control by a color palette limited to rich shades of brown, green, rust and pink. Spatial symmetry is achieved by careful placement of objects—a system apparent only to Derrick. To visitors, the space just feels good, and like the easy kind of place where morning coffee could easily flow into lunch and then drinks, dinner and beyond.

Derrick fell in love with the living area’s antique table the moment he saw it at Euro Treasures Antiques, mostly for its ochre-hued marble table top that he says, “reminded me of Southern Utah.”

Despite the fact that Derrick’s new home in the 9th and 9th neighborhood will likely be completed this fall, Derrick seems to be in no rush to give up his latest abode at the Maryland. “This place is lighthearted and playful, I didn’t overthink it and I designed it to please no one but me,” he says. “That makes me not want to take it apart just yet.”

The bedroom is the only room not used to display multiple layers of textiles, antiques and art, save for an original painting by Utah-native artist Justin James, entitled “Detail of a Reimagined History.”

Melissa Fields

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