Smith Design Project | Pillow Talk
Often times, our design projects don’t seem like ‘work.’ That is to say, helping someone craft their own perfect space can be as fun as it is fulfilling, and ultimately, the reward outweighs the effort. And then very occasionally, you collaborate so beautifully with clients that the entire process feels akin to magic. Such was the case with the design of Zach and Janelle Smith’s incredible home. We’re no strangers to this lovely family: we helped them purchase this home several years ago, and we fell in love with them then and there. So when they enlisted us to help with the design of their living/dining area and adjacent patio, we were excited to say the least. These are dream clients. The whole family (which also includes boys, Zander and Ozzie, daughter Zakrie, and dog, Russell) is equal parts quirky, stylish, and ridiculously good looking…you may remember the crew from our 2015 winter ad in Utah Style & Design. Cody and Andrea met with Janelle for the initial consultation over a bottle or two of rosé (as we do) and the ideas started flying; they knew that wherever the design landed, it needed to reflect the Smith’s character and wicked good taste.
Both Janelle and Zach were entirely willing to think outside the conventional treatments and applications. We were essentially talking about three different spaces that can easily become one upon opening the sliders. These doors are open from spring to fall, and it was important that the area work in myriad ways. The theme was sharp, but creative…nothing too precious. A game of indoor/outdoor basketball is as common as a glass of wine in the open air. We went to work in attempting to mirror this eclectic gang’s vibe with bold colors and textures: a hot pink and grey chair in silk and bouclé (think: Chanel suit), black walls with gold metallic niches, a teal over-dyed rug, and rich green, velvet floor-to-ceiling curtains. A thousand statement details that amalgamated flawlessly. Ever aware of the importance of juxtaposing pieces, we employed graphic black and white wallpaper and brass accents, and used green and pink neon rods to create a piece above the dining table. And–in what would eventually become a bit of an obsession for us as the project progressed–we got pillows. Pillows on pillows, and the crazier the better. Bill Murray in a general’s coat, silhouettes, Day of the Dead in gold and black, stripes and shapes, a huge fingerprint, tie-dye, horses, cowhides. Nothing was out of bounds.
The patio was more of the same in all the best ways. The adjoining spaces compliment one another, but each still feels strong in its own point of view. We knew that for the bar we wanted to use imported, hand-painted ceramic tile and Snowflake Quartzite, a beautiful black stone with white fossils embedded in it. Both were provided by Tally at European Marble and Granite, and the result was precisely what we’d hoped for, so we used the same ceramic tile for the fire pit. Above the bar, three custom light fixtures, commissioned by Project Sunday, dangle from the overhang. For landscaping details, we enlisted Mark Morris at Voda Landscaping + Planning to help us engineer and execute perfectly. Beautiful graphic planters were filled with hardy grasses and plants, and concrete pavers were pulled up and remixed in a more artistic approach with contrast and pixelated patterns. All told, however, my favorite part of the installation has got to be the sculptures we hung on the side of the home. The face of the two-story house being tall and relatively plain, we knew that it was important to address this blank canvas in our design efforts. After a great deal of searching for the right piece, we decided on the large, white, iridescent orbs that creep up the side of the house on the patio. Some solid, some cracked open to reveal a gold lining (not so unlike a group of shiny dinosaur eggs), they’re a beautiful contrast to the dark grey of the exterior…and a cheeky reference to the velociraptor (yes, velociraptor) in the front yard. Lesson learned: we love minimal, modern, and mid-century, alike…but sometimes a mixed bag delivers divine perfection.