In Salt Lake City, the team at Establish Design draws on a family’s Scottish heritage to create a beautiful abode inspired by traditional British style. Photos by Lindsay Salazar, styled by Jessica Holtam.

If the walls of this charming Millcreek abode could talk, they would undoubtedly utter the hospitable phrase, “ceud mìle fàilte,” a Gaelic greeting in Scotland that translates to “one hundred thousand welcomes.”

When Kimberly Rasmussen and Elizabeth Wixom Johnsen of Establish Design were approached to work on this project, the homeowner needed help nailing down an aesthetic direction. She already had proposed plans in hand, but the trio decided to go in a different direction. During discussions about the homeowner’s family, the designers discovered their client’s husband’s side of the family has roots in Scotland, and this Scottish heritage became the new theme and design inspiration for the home. (Coincidentally, the project also served as inspiration for the Heritage Home Collection at Establish Design’s recently opened Millcreek showroom, Establish Home).

“Once the initial design aesthetic is designated—in this case, the Scottish Highlands—then everything else falls into place,” Rasmussen explains. She and Johnsen started by assessing the home’s exterior. “We don’t just do interiors—we also look at the home’s exterior, shape, and floor plan, and we mold those to fit the style,” explains Johnsen. To imbue a sense of British heritage to the existing symmetrical structure, the duo added a parapet wall that bookends the garage, a common feature seen in UK homes. Additionally, they framed the front door with a limestone surround by Artistic Stone Masonry, painted the exterior brick and plaster elements, and added rafter tails in the fascia and soffit to create a pattern along the roofline—another nod to the British country home aesthetic.

As guests cross the threshold into the home, they pass beneath a round family crest  hung above the front door. To accent the narrow, two-story entryway, Rasmussen and Johnsen designed a pediment above the door, an idea that struck them while studying casework and door encasements from Great Britain.

Inside, despite a grand floor plan, the 7,000-square-foot home feels warm and cozy, combining the elegant style of a London flat with the charm of a Cotswolds cottage. The designers dressed the rooms with traditional but plush, comfortable furnishings, and grounded them with fumed oak floors. A palette of green, gray and creamy white sets the scene. For this project, Johnsen and Rasmussen developed a green hue reminiscent of Scotland’s lush, rolling hills that would become their firm’s own Scottish Highlands paint color. The verdant tone takes center stage in the home’s library, butler’s pantry and children’s bedroom, where the color charms a combined headboard. 

In the light–filled living room, a large limestone fireplace mantle mimics the front door’s limestone encasement. Opposite the fireplace, a sofa perches in front of a gallery wall featuring family portraits and oil paintings depicting Scottish landscapes. The open kitchen connects to the living room, separated by a large dining table and a chaise upholstered in a plaid wool fabric that doubles as additional seating for meals. Johnsen and Rasmussen took advantage of every nook and cranny in the large kitchen, installing a handy wet bar and a casual banquette dining area that recreates the intimate feel of being inside a jolly British pub. The tufted banquette tucks beneath a Tudor arch, and a built-in china hutch is just within arm’s reach.

Nearby, a butler’s pantry provides additional kitchen storage and workspace, and also serves as the back entry to the home. For this reason, Johnsen and Rasmussen designed custom lockers for the space that are decorated with a unique crest for each member of the family. It’s yet another example of the many thoughtful heritage details found throughout the dwelling. As Johnsen says, “Every home has a story, and we tell that story through our design.”

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