With visions of Paris in her head, designer Anne-Marie Barton leads a team to transform a stripped-out condo into a massterful composition of modern sensibilities and timeless tradition.

Close your eyes and imagine a modern Parisian apartment with French doors flung open to dazzling city views. You’re envisioning high ceilings, light plastered walls and beautiful wood floors, perhaps? Stately moldings, maybe, with statements of marble, brass and sculptural lighting woven throughout? Indulgence and restraint merge as framed art and bespoke furnishings fill the home with chic, personal style. This is exactly the mix fashioned by designer Anne-Marie Barton as she teamed with contractor Steve Dubell and architect Brian Junge to transform a gutted, two-story dwelling into the unique and luxurious residence their clients desired. “It’s a combination of traditional and classic lines with more modern sensibilities,” says Barton, describing the interior. “This mix is what makes it feel Parisian modern and so authentically European.” 

The two-story home is located in The Meridien, a development of luxury condominiums built within the shell of the old Veterans Administration Hospital located in the Upper Avenues neighborhood high above Salt Lake City. When the team first encountered the space, it was little more than a brick shell with windows and concrete floors. There were no interior walls, finished ceilings, electrical or plumbing. “It was completely stripped out,” Dubell recalls. 

Arched double doors, quartz chandeliers and facing fireplaces foster the salon’s comforting symmetry, while mixed furnishings and separate spaces subtly offset the balance. White oak floors by Burchette and Burchette. Photo by Joshua Caldwell.

To begin the cavity’s dramatic transformation, Dubell created the home’s outer walls inside the existing brick structure. “It was like building a box within a box,” he explains. The team lowered soaring ceiling heights to make the spaces feel more comfortable and orchestrated an artful mix of enclosed rooms and flowing open living areas to fill the interior’s two levels. “Our clients wanted openness with connected, intimate spaces,” Dubell explains. In response, the team defined some rooms with conventional walls. But for others, they employed architectural features including ceiling details and moldings, column placement and even interior glass walls to suggest separate areas—all to foster openness while capturing interior views. “We wanted to see and experience the drama and beauty from every point,” says Barton, who also fashioned furniture groupings and positioned lighting, rugs and art to define open yet separate living zones. “I used the delicacy of the ceiling’s applied molding patterns to gently echo the room shapes within the open spaces and grounded them from below with the foundation of rich cashmere and mohair rugs.”

A chandelier by Andreea Braescu hangs above a live-edge dining table. The open space allows views into the breakfast area richly furnished with a round table, chairs and a curvaceous, Holly Hunt mini sofa. Photo by Joshua Caldwell.

Before considering her projects’ furnishings and finishes, Barton focuses on transforming raw spaces into luxury living as she conjures floor plans, wall placement, fireplaces, interior doors, windows, cabinetry, kitchen and bathroom design and more. Here, the designer did exactly that as she struck the perfect balance between the home’s expressive architecture and the sense of modern elegance and intimacy her clients craved. For example, the salon—composed of the open kitchen, dining and twin living room areas—is equally suited for entertaining and gathering as well as enjoying private moments of quiet contemplation. 

The salon’s “more expected” conversation area “allowed us to go off the hook with the opposing biomorphic arrangement across from it,” Barton says. Art by Cédrix Crespel. Photo by Joshua Caldwell.

Barton fostered comforting symmetry by appointing the room’s facing conversation areas with matching elements, including stone-and-brass fireplaces, thick textural rugs and quartz crystal chandeliers. Their furnishings, however, are unlike in style, shape and composition. Clean lines, simple silhouettes and a more conventional arrangement characterize one, while sensuous curves, biomorphic forms and a fluid setting define the other. “The lux, organically shaped sofa and sectional are so unique,” she says. “I love adding a touch of curiosity or the unexpected to my projects.” Nature-inspired shapes, in fact, appear throughout the interior, evoking emotion and fostering a sense of flow between the indoor and the outdoor spaces. “Subtle ingredients that reflect nature are my secret to designing interiors that appeal to the senses,” the designer explains.

Custom glass office walls manufactured by Metamorphic, boast uniquely small and flat mullions, making them more refined and European. Inside, custom cabinetry and a desk by Christian Liaigre furnish the husband’s customized work-and-listening space.

The owners wanted their home to perform as an art gallery of sorts, so Barton created opportunities for their favorite pieces and designed a gallery walk toward the private wing of the home with a near-neutral backdrop that allowed the art to do the talking. “I couldn’t introduce a lot of color, so I relied on texture and shapes to deliver interest and intrigue,” she explains. Wire-brushed, white oak floors and plastered walls give way to a plush boucle-dressed sectional while mohair-covered sofas team with walnut tables and bronze accent pieces. Jaw-dropping sculptural lighting animates the decor—another way Barton elevated the design with spirited forms—while beautifully veined stone romances the interior at every turn.

The designer also created a subtle thread of harmonious neutral tones and muted naturals that carry throughout, unifying the decor. Creamy whites, soft taupes and barely-there beiges dominate the walls and window coverings. In the light-walled salon, for example, translucent draperies softly patterned in whispered shades of cream, silver and aubergine create a dreamy backdrop for warm-white seating and ethereal chandeliers. Barton saved darker hues like charcoal, bronze and ochre for accents in upholstery, wallcoverings and decorative accents. An encore of more exuberant hues appears in the original art. “This home allowed me to place strong elements that, in many ways, appear to have been in the space forever,” she says.

The chic entry is dressed in metallic ombré Horsehair wall covering by Phillip Jeffries, while the deep window covering is framed in brass, all crowned with a shapely Ralph Pucci Pendant designed by Ted Abramczyk. Photo by Joshua Caldwell.

One of Barton’s fortes is creating and conveying luxury, and this project is no exception. A freeform-shaped chandelier from Ralph Pucci illuminates the entry cloaked in a metallic ombré horsehair wallcovering. Slabs of elegant stones form the kitchen’s range hood and master bedroom fireplace. Sultry smoked glass frames in a bathroom’s shower and toilet rooms, undulating brass sheathes fireboxes, quartzite forms a fluidly integrated kitchen sink and a porcelain-leaved pendant floats like a ginkgo branch above the live-edge dining table. The list is long. “I live off the ideology that anything practical can be beautiful,” Barton explains.

The result is a home that harmoniously merges timeless European elegance with modern aesthetics and livability. Ten months after the remarkable transformation began, the homeowners moved in and began enjoying the life that they envisioned within the masterfully imagined spaces.  

See more beautiful spaces imagined by Anne-Marie Barton here.

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