Altalux Studio, led by principal John Eyring, creates a generational gathering place in the hills of Bountiful, showcasing a portfolio of local artisanship and world-class talent




It’s no secret that Utah punches above its weight when it comes to talented designers and show-stopping homes, but I’m always amazed by the quantity and quality of Utah’s own world-class craftspeople who make the dreams of designers and their clients a reality. The Beehive State is aptly named, given the hard work, ingenuity and artistry of its talented makers. 

When my team at Altalux Studio and I were faced with the update of a 45-year-old tract home in Bountiful, I knew Utah craftspeople would be the key to our transforming the old house into a haven where our clients could gracefully age in place and invite generations of family to comfortably gather and stay. We assembled artisans who understood our vision of all that was possible, and in spite of the home’s compact footprint, chopped up rooms and aging structure, they didn’t rest until the vision became a reality. 

The challenges began inside the front door. The entry was cramped and anchored by a dominant stairwell that needed a significant update. Beyond it, many rooms needed to be combined and reconfigured to allow as much natural light into the home as possible.

I’ve long admired the work of JLR Architectural Woodwork, celebrated for their exquisite finish work at Grand America Hotel and other prominent buildings, so I knew they could architecturally elevate this core area with millwork while maintaining distinct transitions between its elements. Their installers worked like rock climbers, dotting the double-height stairway and other spaces with hundreds of multi-colored shims until each raised panel, column and coffer was perfectly plumb. To draw clean lines across complicated transition points in the stairway millwork, we designed solid brass handrails and had them fabricated by Historical Arts and Casting—a Utah company trusted with cast metal ornamentation projects from the U.S. Capitol dome to New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Their masterful work continued in the kitchen, where brass strapping beautifully protects the bases of kitchen cabinets, showcasing a unique method of miter scoring the brass at each corner to avoid visible joints. 

Natural light floods the kitchen, thanks to the careful engineering and expert craftsmanship of contractor Robert Day. A stone and brass-banded hood hangs over a collection of copper cookware on a pot rack by Ann Morris. A pair of Waterstone faucets stand over a 48” workstation sink designed by Altalux to stack cutting boards, baking sheets and other accessories on two levels, above the mess in the bottom of the sink. European Marble and Granite crafted several mockups of the counter edge to reflect the curve of the range hood.

Lighting is a fundamental part of our projects’ designs, and this home was no exception. To accentuate its architectural detail and strong focal points, we integrated a series of in-ceiling projectors to precisely illuminate wall art. Designed by Troy and Sandra Seaton, of Optiks Fine Lighting, the projectors have only a silver-dollar-sized aperture visible on the ceiling. Troy hand-files a copper die and places it between the bulb and lens to focus light only on the canvas, creating nearly an illusion of backlighting. Although his work typically takes him to far flung locations, he’s quick to say, “I love the chance to come home and work on the interesting and challenging projects going on here in Utah.” 

A coffered vaulted ceiling crowns the primary bedroom, while an opalescent Venetian plaster created and applied by artist Alycin Wright gives the walls an elegant glow. 

We also set the primary bedroom aglow with an opalescent Venetian plaster that softens the tall walls crowned by a high, vaulted ceiling. Artist Alycin Wright loosely troweled together a custom blend of minerals and lime, and applied it as if painting a fresco. The result is an ethereal, cloud-like effect that slowly shifts throughout the day as windows and skylights flood the room with light.

The living room converts into a large dining room, courtesy of the clever design and combination of custom tables and seating. 

To accommodate our clients’ guests, we needed to conceive places for up to 50 people to sit simultaneously at proper tables and chairs. We designed a complete set of convertible living room furniture pieces, and turned to Aaron Carter of AWCarter Furnitureworks in Mount Pleasant to fabricate them. Aaron’s team brainstormed and experimented before developing the hinges, springs and latches that allow individual occasional tables to be grouped and transformed into an 18-person dining table in less than seven minutes. Michael Trent Coates, one of the best kept secrets of celebrity designers across the country, perfectly scaled the upholstered benches and chairs to sit at dining height and to comfortably surround the large table in multiple configurations. He also built a crowd-pleasing banquette for the kitchen. With its brass-wrapped stretchers and a counter-height table featuring multiple footrests, it fosters long conversations and relaxed game nights. 

The artistry doesn’t stop inside the home. Garden designer Emily Brooks Wayment brilliantly channeled our clients’ love of Filoli House in Northern California and miraculously adapted it for a Utah climate. Emily designed a garden view from every window and redeveloped each porch to provide sitting areas and private access to serene spaces throughout the yard. She also hand-selected each plant on scouting trips to dozens of nurseries across the West, using many specimens cultivated specifically for her.

The final result is not just a beautifully orchestrated retreat that generations of our clients’ family can call home, but also an ode to the master craftsmen who brought it back to life.

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