At the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, a spectacular mountain setting inspires the stylish conclusion of a partially completed home.

Angie Gerdes and Joe Long of GV Construction Renovation Specialists

“It had great bones, but it was too rustic and dark,” Angie Gerdes recalls. She and her brother Joe Long—co-owners of GV Construction Renovation Specialists—were seduced by the scenic setting of an unfinished home located at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, but they were less thrilled with many of its existing features and finishes. Regardless, they recognized the project’s potential, so they purchased and overhauled the home with a site-inspired vision as their guide. “As soon as I visited and saw the Bell Canyon Stream running through the property, I immediately had ideas for working the home’s impressive surroundings into the design,” says Long, who focused on building and construction. 

From the get-go, Long and Gerdes collaborated with interior designers from The Black Goose Design, a sister company to GV Construction, as they planned and executed the home’s renovation. “We wanted something more modern and grand, something lighter and brighter,” Gerdes says. The transformation begins at the threshold. 

Before: In the entry, the team removed an unremarkable front door and replaced it with a large pivot door that delivers modern lines and bright light to the entry.

Originally featuring a small wooden door surrounded by sidelights, the entry now boasts an enormous pivot door with inset windows and modern lines. “The front door immediately grabs your attention,” Long says. He also replaced the interior’s undersized doors with larger versions that relate better to the 6,700-square-foot home’s volume and scale. The team ditched the orange-tinted wood stain that darkened the old doors, painting their replacements with a sophisticated gray hue instead.

Photo by Lindsay Salazar

In fact, every hint of the interior’s outdated wood finish was eliminated. The team removed heavily stained moldings and window casings, painted over the wood-toned stair railing, and darkened the orange-hued cedar ceilings and interior beams. “The old stain dated and darkened the home,” says Gerdes, who oversaw the project’s furnishings and décor. New white-oak floors and a lighter wall color—Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams—lighten and brighten the interior, as do new and enlarged windows.

Decks expand the home’s living space and overlook the surrounding wooded landscape. | Photo by Lindsay Salazar

“Joe made the windows much more grand,” Gerdes explains. Senior Designer Denise Johnson agrees. “It’s like the windows are works of art on the walls.” Long also added large cantilevered decks to expand the views and to increase enviable living space outdoors. 

Before: In the living space, Decks expand the home’s living space and overlook the surrounding wooded landscape. | Photo by Lindsay Salazar
Photo by Lindsay Salazar

Bifold, collapsible doors open a new deck to the family room and adjoining kitchen, creating an expansive, all-important entertaining space. Inside, Long reimagined the family room’s stone fireplace, enlarging and modernizing it with dark sheet metal and a steel beam mantle. “Running floor to ceiling, it is now more grand and modern,” Gerdes says.

The team enlivened the empty kitchen with a mix of painted and stained cabinets paired with Scandalous marble that delivers bold pattern and contrast to the walls and waterfall-style island. Fixtures and furnishings are from The Black Goose Design. | Photo by Lindsay Salazar

The team designed the kitchen from scratch. Today, a warm mix of stained and painted cabinets anchors the room while daring, black-and-white marble—appropriately named Scandalous—animates the back walls and waterfall-style island with bold veining. “We wanted to add pattern with a natural element,” says Gerdes, explaining the fearless choice. Open shelves, clear-glass pendants and a rustic, bar-height dining table lend elements of industrial style, as well. 

Clad in dark sheet metal with a steel I-beam mantel, the reimagined floor-to-ceiling fireplace was originally smaller and stone-faced. Expansive bifold, collapsible doors replace a wood-trimmed bank of windows and open to a new cantilevered deck with breathtaking mountain views. Furnishings from The Black Goose Design.

   Throughout the home, furnishings and accessories were thoughtfully layered to foster the interior’s luxurious, livable décor. “We wanted it to be comfortable and great for entertaining with the focus always on the views,” Gerdes explains. Thanks to the collaborative team, that’s exactly what the new homeowners enjoy today.  

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Brad Mee
Brad Mee is the Editor-in-Chief of Utah Style & Design Magazine.