AMB Design, Steve Dubell Custom Homes

An enchanting mix of natural and glamorous elements help to transform a lackluster home into a stylish, hillside sanctuary overlooking the Salt Lake valley.

The story begins typically enough: A husband-and-wife duo finds a house, buys a house and decides to remodel a house. Then it gets interesting. He wants a nature-inspired and spiritual design, while she craves something more glamorous and chic. To satisfy them both, interior designer Anne-Marie Barton and contractor Steve Dubell married the seemingly disparate aesthetics as they masterfully transformed the hillside home.

Sitting at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon and surrounded by thick Gambel oak, the house originally featured unremarkable architectural details, a quirky floor plan and a European-mountain style that did little to charm its new owners. But the site and its sights clinched the deal. “They bought the house for its beautiful wooded lot and the spectacular views,” says Barton, who deftly integrated the setting and scenery into a striking design that blends natural and glamorous elements into a harmonious, high-style decor.

AMB Design, Steve Dubell Custom Homes
A slab of Breccia Loire Marble faces the reimagined fireplace in the great room. A custom, beveled brass frame fabricated by Bradshaw Design surrounds the horizontal firebox.

The great room is a case in point. As one steps through the fully glassed pivot door into the entry, eyes move directly through the open great room to breathtaking views framed by a series of large windows on its main wall. A dramatically renewed fireplace anchors the wall and performs like a massive piece of modern sculpture faced with richly patterned Breccia Loire marble. “The stone slab is in itself a seductive art piece, and then we added the solid-brass beveled surround to introduce the modern aesthetic we craved,” Barton explains. 

AMB Design, Steve Dubell Custom Homes
An Ilve Majestic range anchors the small kitchen adorned with open glass-and-brass shelves, a custom hood by Bradshaw Design and painted cabinets crafted by Teerlink. Appliances from Mountain Land Design; Taj Mahal quartzite countertops by European Marble & Granite.

The great room gives way at one end to an elegant, open kitchen. There, a gleaming Ilve range/oven and custom hood perform as the room’s visual touchstone. Taj Mahal quartzite and cabinets painted a warm, light-toned gray provide a serene backdrop for the eye-catching range and the custom, brass-and-glass shelves. These sparkling shelves repeat throughout the kitchen, adding easy-access storage and display space without the bulk of upper cabinets, which are used sparingly in the space. “The shelves open the space and don’t crowd the custom hood,” Barton says. 

AMB Design, Steve Dubell Custom Homes
Bold and feminine design elements elevate the style of the woman’s loft office overlooking the great room. A spiral staircase leads to the dressing room below. The wallcovering is by Zoffany, the chandelier is by Regina Andrew and the gray fur rug is from ABC Home.

On the opposite side of the two-story great room, glass railings devised by Dubell opens the room to views of the second-level loft serving as the wife’s ultra-chic office. Fearless wallcovering showcasing enormous metallic-and-cream chrysanthemums, a hanging chair and an ankle-deep fur rug express the owner’s glamorous style. “She was energized by bold moves and held nothing back,” the designer says. “We bonded the minute she mentioned crystals,” Barton adds with a laugh. 

AMB Design, Steve Dubell Custom Homes
“We wanted to put the owner’s vintage jewelry and her collection of beautiful bags on display,” says Barton, who designed the room’s custom brass shelves fabricated by Bradshaw Design and solid walnut cabinets crafted by Teerklink Cabinet. A spiral staircase created by Metal Morphic leads to the woman’s office above.

The feminine loft provided a jumping-off point for the luxe design of the main-level dressing room below, a space accessed by an open spiral staircase enriched with an oil-rubbed bronze finish. There, custom brass open shelves, solid walnut cabinets enriched with a driftwood stain and a jewelry cabinet topped with oh-so-chic smoked glass effuse undeniable elegance and elan. “We begin our days in closets, so they should not only be organized, but they should also be a peaceful sanctuary,” Barton says. 

AMB Design, Steve Dubell Custom Homes
In the master bedroom, the upholstered Flex Form bed appears to float on a vintage patchwork rug by Rug Vista. Above, a Muriel chandelier by Oly Studio resembles an illuminated cluster of light-as-air bubbles. A Prometheus III Sconce by Alan Mizrahi adorns the two-sided fireplace with a bronze-finished ring of illuminated rock crystal.

In the master bedroom, Barton and Dubell enlarged existing windows to fill the room with mountain views and glorious light. The designer oriented white oak flooring diagonally to “relax” the space and accentuated the room’s height with a floor-to-ceiling, two-sided fireplace clad in two natural stones separated by a horizontal band of bronze. “It’s like a piece of art,” Barton explains. An upholstered bed, vintage rug and ethereal bubble chandelier infuse the room with serenity and style.

AMB Design, Steve Dubell Custom Homes
A two-sided fireplace warms the spa-like master bathroom elegantly furnished with a Hydrosystem freestanding tub and two-tone floating cabinets crafted by Teerlink Cabinet. Integrated stone sinks and artistic silver metallic tile are from European Marble & Granite; the Decanso faucets are from Mountain Land Design; and the simmering fireplace mirror is by Arteriors. Metallic-detailed wallcovering by Rubelli finishes the luxurious space.

The adjoining spa-like bathroom is decidedly more dazzling. Barton detailed the fireplace box with a beveled bronze frame and dressed the walls in a shimmering floral metallic wallpaper and antique silver metallic tile. The freestanding tub adds soft, organic curves while the clean-lined, floating vanity of rift sawn oak and white-painted drawers elevates the room’s allure. “The level of detail and quality in this space is remarkable,” Barton says. 

AMB Design, Steve Dubell Custom Homes
“Our client is an animal lover and spends her available time fostering and caring for dogs and cats that need homes,” says Barton, who designed built-in bunks and sleeping cabins for the temporary boarders. Built-ins were crafted by Teerlink Cabinet. To enliven the unique space, the designer dressed the room in Anthropologie’s Dog’s Life wallpaper and a collage of commissioned sketches by her son, Chas.
AMB Design

Arguably, the home’s most memorable space is a bedroom and adjoining bathroom turned into an animal-foster-care area, home to canine and feline residents the owner boards temporarily while finding them permanent homes. “I had so much fun creating this space,” says Barton, who furnished it with custom bunks and cabinets equipped with sleeping cabins for the four-legged guests. Anthropologie’s “Dog’s Life” wallpaper and engaging sketches created for the room by Barton’s son, Chas, animate the special space. 

“I absolutely loved working with these clients,” Barton says with a smile. “They’re wonderful people and they gave me the freedom to be as creative as I wanted to be.” The outcome is a home where natural and glamorous elements live together as harmoniously and happily as do the home’s style-savvy owners.  

Want to see more of Anne-Marie Barton’s work? See all of her USD features here!


Photos: Scot Zimmerman | @scot.zimmerman
Interior Design: AMB Design | @annemariebarton
Contractor: Steve Dubell Custom Homes |
Architect: Upwall Design | @upwalldesign
Cabinetry: Teerlink Cabinet | @teerlinkcabinet
Wood Flooring: Artifacts | @artifactsslc
Natural Stone: European Marble & Granite | @europeanmarble
Appliances: Mountain Land Design | @mountainlanddesign

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