A Surprise for the Eye in Deer Valley

This sophisticated ski lodge is a functional sculpture on the slopes
Photography by David Livingston

Great homes—like great art—can have a dramatic edge. In fact, this elegant Deer Valley home actually starred in an opening night performance, directed by interior designer Anne-Marie Barton.

With theatrical flair—and meticulous attention to detail—Barton’s Salt Lake City studio, AMB Design, offers new homeowners a grand reveal ceremony. As Barton explains, “We ask our clients to allow us three weeks to bring all of the furniture in, hang the drapes and prepare.” So, while homeowners Shannon and Dan Horvath waited nearby for a “READY” text, Barton and her crew scurried to stock the refrigerator, make the beds, and lay out the cheeseboard. “With candles lit, music surrounding, and the dusk lighting just right, we waited and calmly held on to the hope that they would love it all,” Barton confessed.

The understated and elegant kitchen, with double islands to facilitate circulation. The walnut wire-brushed cabinetry is paired with White Macaubas quartzite countertops, while unlacquered brass pendants add a warm gleam

And, of course, they did. “We felt like the moment we walked in, it was already a home,” Shannon Horvath says. In this case, that home was custom-designed to welcome not only Shannon and Dan but also Cannon, their beloved 85-pound German shepherd.

Michael Upwall, of Upwall Design Architects, and Steve Dubell, of Steve Dubell Construction Group, collaborated with Barton to create the sophisticated ski-in/ski-out getaway. “Michael Upwall doesn’t design homes,” Shannon Horvath says. “He creates ‘customized living art.’” And, indeed, the house is unlike any other. “I approach each design as an opportunity to create full-scale, functional sculpture in the mountains,” Upwall says.

“The dramatic entryway of this ski-in, ski-out home is a showstopper in any season”

The high-impact entryway marks a powerful starting point. “A path leads to a sheltering covered porch, with a dramatic roofline that appears to be ‘floating’ off of a natural stone fireplace,” Upwall explains. “The striking roofline shape appears to reach up and welcome the visitor.”

Luis Garcia-Nerey‘s “Nights Rim” hangs above a comfortable bench in the entry hall, with a Lianne Gold wall sconce from Ralph Pucci

A modern branch-like light fixture hangs above a dining table with a textured, natural bronze base and a high-gloss white oak top, matched with chairs that encourage lingering

More excitement awaits inside. “We worked to ensure the location would deliver the grand view immediately upon entry,” Upwall says. “And then by expanding the volume upward, the view would draw you into the space, and your eye up to the magic of the mountain.” The sleek elegance of the interior spaces complements the grandeur of the natural setting. “With the outdoor being such a part of the indoor, I wanted more of an organic modern feel,” Barton explains. “That’s where you see so much texture in the finishes I’ve chosen; I did not want it too slick or too cold. Contrarily, I wanted it very warm and rich.”

“Michael Upwall doesn’t design homes, he creates ‘customized living art'”
Homeowner Shannon Horvath

A metal sculpture by Tor Archer stands beside the stairway on the lower level

“At every juncture it was worth creating something that was a surprise for the eye,” says Barton. She embarked on a year-long, cross-country art odyssey to acquire just the right pieces. Then, she added posh touches—sparkling light fixtures, fuzzy ottomans—to mingle with the metal, rock and reclaimed wood.

“That contradiction throughout the house created that tension or energy that made it a more exciting palette overall,” Barton explains. “This home represents that complete juxtaposition between the glamorous and the rustic.”

Barton created artful symmetry behind the cozy master bed, with an accent wall daringly divided between walnut and marble, lit by a shiny glass pendant

The open layout produces a calm and comfortable atmosphere that perfectly suits the family’s lifestyle. “Our home is energetic and relaxing at the same time, throughout all the seasons,” Shannon Horvath says. “We want our guests to experience a spa-like sensation.”

The entire upper level is one spectacular master suite—with all the luxuries of a private penthouse—including a spacious office, two balconies and a boutique-inspired dressing area. “It’s completely lounged out—very saucy, kind of sexy,” Barton says. Upwall adds, “This suite has one of the best views in a home that is defined by amazing views.”

It’s fabulous, but not fussy. “We wanted the high-end, elegant look, but we definitely wanted to be able to sit down and put our feet up anyplace in the house—which we do,” Dan Horvath explains. And, most important, how does Cannon like the house? “There’s a Holly Hunt sofa up in the loft area off of the master, and he’s decided that that’s his,” Shannon admits, with a laugh. “He sleeps there, all four feet in the air, happy.”

A sleek guest bathroom has a floating vanity with twin raised sinks and a chevron-patterned wall

Anne-Marie Barton contends, “Until the art is hung on the walls, the home is not truly alive.” Here, she shares some advice for creating artful spaces.

KEEP IT REAL Nothing compensates for beautiful, provocative artwork throughout your home. While giclées are somewhat convincing, original artwork elevates the beauty and creates authenticity. FALL IN LOVE Curating your personal art takes time. Don’t be afraid to purchase when you see the art that speaks to you. It may be years before you run across something you love again. CONSIDER COLOR While art does not need to match the colors in the home, it needs to evoke the sensibility of your home’s design. Color is essential—best found in the accent pieces, such as rugs, artwork or pillow fabrics. So go ahead, let your artwork do the talking. GO LOW It seems most homeowners hang their artwork too high. Try hanging your art lower, as it’s critical to relate to the height of the objects underneath. Remember, not everyone’s eye level is the same, so hanging at eye level is not essential.  MIX IT UP Diversity in your art collection is essential, from photography to painterly oils and acrylics, to sculpture out of stone or metals. It’s your opportunity to create drama and tell your story!


ARCHITECTURE Upwall Design Architects  INTERIOR DESIGN AMB Design  CONSTRUCTION Steve Dubell Construction Group


ENTRY HALL ARTWORK “Nights Rim” by Luis Garcia-Nerey from Holly Hunt SCONCE Lianne Gold Wall Sconce from Ralph Pucci WALL COVERING Arte – Monsoon; Facet LONG HALL ARTWORK Diptych: 51” x 90” by Sabine Maes MUDROOM ARTWORK “X #10” by Jeremy Szopinski 60” x 52” from Holly Hunt STAIRWELL ARTWORK “Enclosure: #1 & #2” by Jeremy Szopinski from Holly Hunt KITCHEN ARTWORK by Sabine Maes LARGE RUG by Shiir Rugs from Holly Hunt COFFEE TABLE Custom-designed by AMB Design from Bradshaw Design City SWIVEL CHAIRS from Holly Hunt DOWNSTAIRS ARTWORK from Zoe Bios Creative City BRONZE SCONCE by Flynn Caged Wall Light from Porta Romana METAL STATUE by Tov Archer Statue from Julie Nester Gallery TRIPTYCH by Jill Barton WHITE ARTWORK by Jill Barton CUSTOM SECTIONAL from Verellen CUSTOM POOL TABLE from Howard Billiard Supply POOL TABLE HANGING LIGHT from Spanning Hanging Light WET BAR BAR STOOLS from Shadow Bar Stools HANGING PENDANTS from Summit Pendant ARTWORK by Jill Pumpelly GUEST BED #1 HIDE PANEL WALLS by Kyle Bunting from Holly Hunt STONE ART PIECES from Leftbank FERRY LOUNGE CHAIR from Bernhardt ARTWORK by Jill Barton

Categories: Contemporary Homes