In Deer Valley, designer Tori McBrien and her clients use fresh colors, shimmering surfaces and high-voltage details to transform a slope-side family retreat.
The storyline is hardly new: An out-of-state couple buys a resort home in Deer Valley, inspired by world-famous ski snow and spectacular year-round scenery. But their take on slope-side living couldn’t be more novel. Rather than surrounding themselves with dark woods, heavy textures and warm earth-tones, these new homeowners opted for a fresher, more colorful approach to mountain style.
“Make it light, bright and open,” says designer Tori McBrien, recalling the simple directives her clients expressed about their new Montage Residence. The couple resides in St. Louis where a love for color imbues the family’s primary home. “It was a big driving force,” McBrien says. “I wanted the mountain residence to feel like home for them, so we used their St. Louis décor as a starting point.”
The couple’s new mountain retreat provided some challenges and countless opportunities. Rich cherry doors and millwork subdued the open interior, as did dark granite countertops and a traditional mountain décor. A “lock-off” wall that separated and secured the third bedroom suite from the rest of the one-level, three bedroom dwelling also cramped its interior. “We ripped out the wall to make one big unit from two smaller ones,” explains McBrien who eliminated the lock-off wall and an adjoining pantry to accommodate a newly expanded kitchen. She painted all of the cherry wood white, replaced dark granite with white quartz, swapped rustic hardware with polished nickle pieces, and enlivened the décor with a vibrant color palette, light-expanding treatments and fresh, updated furnishings.
Walnut floors, refinished and renewed with a dark stain, now run throughout the great room. Here, and elsewhere in the home, McBrien enlisted lively colors—mostly blues—to define and elevate the style of the spaces, all endowed with spectacular mountain views. A deep ceiling tray, dressed in navy sisal wallpaper, runs the length of the combined living and dining areas, crowning them with an uplifting, eye-catching detail. “The dark blue anchors the space from above,” McBrien explains. In the dining area, a large banquette upholstered in powder blue pops with striking, pattern-punched pillows that repeat on the living room sectional. “The pillows were our splurge,” McBrien admits with a laugh. Nearby, a hydrangea-blue leather ottoman hugs the fireplace, sapphire-colored pendants dangle above the kitchen island and water-toned geometrically patterned wallpaper animates the powder room’s walls. “The blues act like threads that tie the interior together,” McBrien explains. At the same time, the neutrally toned furnishings and finishes prevent color from bullying the décor. McBrien says, “The wife loves bright colors but didn’t want them to overwhelm the interior.”
Additional interest and intrigue are provided by McBrien’s distinctive fixtures and finishes. She hung a pair of clustered-bubble-like chandeliers over the dining table, a shimmering sunburst light above the living area and a shell-and-crystal chandelier in the guest bathroom, to name a few of the illuminated head-turners. “I love statement-making light fixtures,” McBrien admits. She also adores tile.
McBrien chose pearlescent mosaics to dress the kitchen backsplash as well as the wall beneath beneath the kitchen’s island’s countertop. “The waterfall edges surround the tile,” says McBrien who theatrically illuminated the glistening treatment with concealed LED rope lights. This mosaic tile also adorns a fireplace once dressed in limestone and clads glass-shelved walls that frame the chimney on both sides. “Light just shimmers off the surfaces,” explains the designer who purposefully used these and other shining materials to reflect light and visually expand the interior. Mirror panels surround the dining alcove and gleaming polished nickel bases support the table’s recycled-glass top. Reflective wall coverings animate walls and metallic accents sparkle throughout.
McBrien also designed furnishings to foster the interior’s open, light-filled ambiance. She insisted on a low profile for the living room’s sectional—upholstered in a carefree indoor-outdoor fabric— to prevent it from blocking light and views emanating from the great room’s broad windows. She lowered the kitchen island from bar- to counter-height and chose leggy chairs and stools rather than heavy, bulky versions that would weigh the décor down. In the bunk room, she created metal “headboards” with circular cutouts that allow light to flow freely through them. “We looked at everything as a way to make the home brighter, lighter and cheery,” McBrien explains.
In the end, lively hues, easy comfort and upbeat style prevailed. Thanks to a talented designer and her color-loving clients, the family’s mountain retreat feels just like home.
written by: Brad Me
photographed by: Scott Zimmerman