Project Spotlight

In the Wilds of Utah, Susannah Holmberg Fashions an Indoor-Outdoor Retreat

The designer's eponymous studio cultivates an inviting interior that speaks to the clients’ love of hosting and the surrounding rugged landscape.

Photo credit (all images): Malissa Mabey

When it comes to the joys of indoor-outdoor living, Los Angeles seems to be regarded as the ultimate destination for putting down roots. But when Susannah Holmberg’s interiors firm recast the basement level of a Park City residence into a host’s dream, complete with a music nook, dining room, and eat-in kitchen, she made a compelling case case for the hilly Utah hotspot as the ideal setting to revel in both the natural scenery and stellar interiors.

Each vignette in the entertaining space pulls inspiration from the soft edges and rounded motifs prevalent in both Art Deco and neotenic design. Earth tones in the form of white oak, unglazed terracotta, linen and sherpa textiles, and a natural stone breakfast bar tastefully reference the picturesque landscape outside.“The goal of this project was to bring the home’s walk-out level to life,” Holmberg says of the basement, which opens directly onto the sloping landscape outdoors. “Our clients really love to entertain and we wanted to create a space that embodies their indoor-outdoor dreams while entertaining large groups and their families.”

Ahead, Holmberg and Britt Hixenbaugh, a designer at the firm, share some of the project’s highlights and challenges.

Inspiration: We were loosely inspired by the rounded forms found in Art Deco interiors and neotenic forms, for which our clients have a real affinity. When designing in Utah, we try to always draw inspiration from the materiality and palette of the surrounding landscape. That way our designs can stand alone yet feel at home in the area.

Blueprint: Our client’s home has a lovely and open walkout level that they wished to turn into an entertainment area. For three of the four seasons, Park City allows for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle, and they wanted their interior space to become one that can handle friends and larger family gatherings. Our clients are real foodies and love to cook, so we wanted to make sure we created a space where their friends could gather while they prepare meals. Additionally, we created a spot where larger family meals can be enjoyed and a lounge area for parties right off of the outdoor space and fire pit.

Takeaways: This might be obvious, but it’s along the lines of, “if you build it they will come.” Every project reminds me that interiors shape the quality of life we want our clients to lead in them. By introducing color, shape, art, and form to this space, it truly felt like it came alive in a new way. Our goal was to design a space for this family of four to host family and friends, yet the design activated in a way that also invites creativity and thought. Inspiring spaces invite inspiration.

Challenges: The kitchen is actually triangular in shape, which made it tricky to incorporate a central hang-out island that works within it. We felt that by introducing a pill-shaped island, it would flow within the kitchen’s unique layout and give our clients a place where guests can hang out while they entertain. Anything square felt completely at odds there, and a triangular island wasn’t quite their vibe. 

Additionally, the baby grand piano posed some challenges. The gloss black finish admittedly contrasts with the clients’ aesthetic of choice. Our goal was to bring it into the fold in a way that feels complementary and collaborative. 

Designing in Park City can pose challenges as there’s such a dominant design language. Our studio delights in designing in a way that takes into account the surrounding landscape and cozy elements, yet allows the interior to be unique and specific to the client. In this case, our clients loved art and color and we loved letting those elements shine. 

Susannah Holmberg Studios is a member of The List, the destination for all things Surface -approved. Want to join The List ? Contact our team to find out how to apply.



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