Second Time’s the Charm for this Utah Couple in Search of Their Forever Home

It took two tries, but a Utah couple finally got a dream home to last a lifetime
Dutch Canyon Ext

The bridge of this Utah home, leading to the front door, crosses over a circulating stream that runs throughout the landscape. The sound of the stream can be heard inside, and it draws people outside to the many sitting areas. | Photos Mark Weinberg

Sometimes forever isn’t, well, forever. As Stephanie Santiago can attest, shortly after taking residence of the Orem, Utah, home where she and husband Todd planned to grow old, Stephanie determined it just wasn’t the right place for raising their eight children. “We moved to this area to be close to Todd’s work, but I’m from a small town in Idaho and realized I wanted something quieter and slower paced,” she says. “I also knew I had to live in the mountains.” So when a slice of farmland in the corner of the Heber Valley that opened to the foothills of Wasatch State Park became available, “forever” moved to Midway.

Acknowledging that designing a house for 10 people is not without its challenges, the couple returned to architect Warren Lloyd, who having designed their previous residence already had an understanding of their needs. Lloyd, with project architect Won Shim, worked with superintendent/general contractor James Hendricks of Watts Enterprises to finesse the details. “Inside, the housing typology remained consistent,” says Lloyd. “They still wanted a main level for the living and gathering spaces and their personal bedroom wing, with rooms for the five boys and three girls on the lower level.” The latter would also include a designated “fun zone,” with independent media and game rooms.

Dutch Canyon Overall

A Forchette 18 chandelier illuminates the granite-topped Chad Parkinson dining table. The combination of chairs and benches all by Rolf Benz provides adequate seating for a family of 10.

Architecturally, the series of linked pavilions topped with standing-seam metal gable roofs intentionally responds to the local vernacular. As Lloyd explains, “The Heber Valley has agrarian roots, and the Santiagos wanted a modern house that respected the classic barn forms of the area.” Clad in light-toned Accoya, a highly durable and sustainable modified wood product, the main house rests on a foundation of stone veneer engineered to resemble limestone. In contrast, the barn, a partially submerged 30-foot-high structure that houses a basketball court, is fashioned from dark stained cedar with a shake cedar roof.

In response to Stephanie Santiago’s desire for a strong indoor-outdoor connection, the Accoya siding repeats on the vaulted ceiling that caps the living and dining rooms and kitchen. Here, in lieu of more typical timber framing, an intricate steel truss system provides support. “We wanted it light, and the cable trusses create a very clean modern aesthetic,” says Lloyd. The relationship with the environment continues with windows welcoming views of Snake Creek and the Wasatch Range.

Acting as her own interior designer, Santiago sought furnishings in scale with the size of the house and her clan. “Todd and I flew to California and spent a few days sitting on couches before designing one in a performance fabric from Flexform,” she says about the sectional large enough for all eight kids to pile on. And insisting that square dining tables are the way to go to promote conversation, she opted for a version with an impervious honed black granite top and hand-carved legs surrounded by chairs and twin benches from Germany.

The neutral taupe, gray, black and white color scheme plays out in a variety of textures—among them, white high-gloss laminate kitchen cabinets and gray plaster on the living room fireplace wall. In the entry, a wooden wall charred black through a process known as shou sugi ban creates a dramatic opening.“I love bringing in things with an organic feel,” says Santiago, who introduced splashes of color with accent pillows and artwork.

Not surprisingly, the outdoor living spaces are on par with the interiors. A circulating stream that fills all the main interior areas with the sound of water also serves to draw people out to the comfortably furnished wraparound porch, courtyard living room and poolside patio. “The inside eating areas flow into the courtyard, and the large lawn and skateboard ramp further encourage outdoor activities,” says Santiago, adding, “The beauty of this house lies in the landscape that surrounds us.”


Dutch Canyon Fire

Thanks to an outsize Flexform sectional, the great room is a favorite gathering spot. Ligne Roset arm-chairs and a wood frame chair from Room & Board expand the seating options.

You would expect a mother of eight with a knack for interior design to know a thing or two about selecting materials and designing spaces with children in mind; Stephanie Santiago is savvy about both.

Create en suite bedrooms that function equally well for toddlers and teens, and for families of any size. Instead of the standard Jack-and-Jill bathroom, in her house two bedrooms converge on a bathroom steeped in functionality.

Include a laundry center: “Laundry stations are built into the closets in the bathroom,” recommends Santiago. “This way where you shower and change clothes happens in the same place. Dirty clothes can go right into the washing machine, and this helps kids learn to do laundry at an early age.” Employ durable engineered wood floors and high-performance fabrics.

Dutch Canyon Dine

It’s all about texture and shine in the kitchen, where the high-gloss Jared Burton kitchen cabinets meet black leather pendants. The intentional modern elements dovetail nicely with quartzite counters from Graebridge Stone. Engineered wide plank wood floors inject a warm tone here and throughout the house.

Dutch Canyon Bed

Wood slats add an element of privacy to the primary bedroom, where the bed is from Arhaus and the Eames chair is from DWR. The homeowner reupholstered a pair of existing chairs in Maharam fabric.

Dutch Canyon Bath

A wall of Clé tile backs a Hydro Systems tub with a Gessi tub filler in the primary bathroom.

ARCHITECTURE: Lloyd Architects     
INTERIOR DESIGN: Homeowner Stephanie Santiago        
CONSTRUCTION: Watts Enterprises

As featured in our July/August 2023 Issue

Categories: Contemporary Homes