Southern comfort. For many, that’s the key ingredient for making splashy, whiskey-based cocktails served over ice. But for the New Orleans-based owners of a new vacation home in Kamas, it describes the look and feel they wanted for their family’s retreat. “The wife grew up in a Louisiana home filled with antiques and furniture passed down over time, so she wanted the same homey, lived-in feel for her family’s new mountain getaway,” says designer Ashley Amman, who was hired to help create exactly that for her clients. Satisfying the owners’ style with an aesthetic that also fits with the natural beauty of Utah’s mountains required skill, instinct and, for Amman, a bit of restraint. “The wife’s style is more conservative than mine, so I had to pull back a little,” admits the young designer, who also lives in colorful New Orleans.
Photos by Lindsay Salazar.
The homeowners chose Kamas’ Victory Ranch community, craving a mountain escape where outdoor activities, open land and a sense of offline, remote living prevail. Surrounded by pristine wilderness and positioned along a stretch of the upper Provo River not far from Deer Valley and Park City, the private community was the choice spot for the active family of four—including two young teens—to land. “It’s a place where their kids can be kids, head out, hike and explore,” Amman says.
At first glance, the home’s exterior is not unlike that of many of the community’s ranch- and cabin-style residences. Rustic elements—stone walls, weathered siding, brawny beams and shake and metal roofing—define the design. But at closer inspection, there are hints of southern sway. A deep front porch invites convivial gatherings out front, smaller patios and decks stand in for more expansive versions, and hanging bed swings inspire lazy lounging much like porch swings of the South.
These exterior details set the tone for what’s to come: at-ease interiors appointed with endearing traditional touches that include moldings as well as door and window casings. “The walls felt naked with out them,” Amman says. The designer peppered the décor with informal antiques and mismatched pieces, including the mudroom’s simple teak benches and the living room’s antique distressed console topped with honey onyx. “There’s comfort in mismatched pieces, and antiques are an important part of creating a storied look and feel,” says Amman, who also used a fair share of new furnishings. “Mixing old and new is the key to creating a home with soul.”
To help shape the inviting, carefree ambiance the clients desired, organic materials and natural hues were used to marry the décor to the home’s bucolic setting. Randomly stacked stone forms the living room’s fireplace, cathedral-cut white oak floors flow underfoot, and wool rugs, linen upholstery and leather pillows replay throughout. “It’s a very informal and calming palette,” Amman says. The same describes interior colors inspired by the home’s views. “Pulling colors from the landscape helps blur the line between inside and out,” the designer explains. Because the wife likes blue while her husband favors green, the designer included both and balanced the cooler colors with warm camel, grays and varied wood tones, all recurring in the design. “Repetition creates continuity and less tension in a décor,” Amman explains.
With that in mind, Amman repeated soothing white walls from room to room, with the notable exception of the casual dining nook painted in Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain. “The dark color makes it feel cozy and private, even though it’s smack-dab in the middle of the living and kitchen areas,” says Amman, who echoed the moody hue on the living room’s firewood box and the family room’s cabinets to weave another decorative thread of repetition. The designer also used color to personalize the kids’ bunk rooms: the daughter’s is dusty rose and white while her brother’s room boasts beds painted in a deep navy blue. The primary suite caters to the wife’s southern sensibilities with a hero chandelier suspended above a simple canopy bed and a bathroom decked out with shaded sconces, warm colors and wallpaper. An adjoining sitting room’s relaxed style, peppered with mid-century elements, suits the man of the house. Room to room, the home checks all of the style and comfort boxes for the family.
“In the end, homes should look like the people who live in them,” Amman contends. “These are kind, fun, salt-of-the-earth people, and this house reflects that perfectly.”
See another beautiful ranch house design here.