Color Reigns Supreme in This Modern Pioneer Home

Bold hues and Scandinavian touches coax a historic Utah home into the present

Joanna Linberg
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A Colorful Past

Spring City, Utah: population 1,000 plus 2 urbanites facing a bit of culture shock. That’s the feeling that sunk in when Shari and Randal Thatcher waved good-bye to their Seattle high-rise five years ago and moved into an 1875 stone house in the Mormon pioneer town.

Then stylist and interior decorator Meta Coleman came knocking. “Your home should capture the essence of who you are,” says Coleman. “And Randal and Shari, well, they’re not drab people.”

So Coleman injected the rooms with color and pattern, such as a custom sofa covered in a bright botanical Swedish fabric by the iconic Josef Frank. Then she replaced some of the reproduction pieces with midcentury and contemporary ones, mostly from Scandinavian sources, to honor the Danish immigrant who built the original home. “Color is a unifier for the different eras,” says Coleman, who used bright green, pink, and blue in nearly every space. “It ties everything together.”

Peonies wallpaper in copper; $190/roll; hyggeandwest.com. Grasshopper Table Lamp, $580; dwr.com.

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Splash Out

An armchair covered in emerald fabric turns Shari Thatcher’s needlework corner into a creative cove. “It’s a small space, so the color really adds some brightness,” says designer Meta Coleman. Throughout the house, she used midcentury and contemporary lighting by Danish company Gubi to counterbalance the traditional architecture and Swedish-country feel of the furnishings. Bestlite BL3 Floor Lamp, from $992; gubi.com.
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Pull from the Pattern

A custom sofa upholstered in the riotous Under Ekvatorn fabric by Josef Frank gave Coleman 
a palette with an emphasis on magenta (Shari’s favorite) to draw on for the living room. No surface was neglected: “When I mix patterns, I like to incorporate a color from it onto the floor,” Coleman says of the gutsy sea blue gabbeh rug. The fabric also pairs perfectly with the white ceramic stove (called a kachelöfen) that the previous owner had built to replicate a traditional German model, as well as with the art—much of which was collected in town. Vintage magenta chair; amsterdammodern.com. Under Ekvatorn fabric in white; svenskttenn.se.
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Embrace History

The original exterior is rumored to have been built with salvaged limestone during the construction of the nearby Manti Utah Temple. Later, a German family moved in, and the Thatchers kept their sign that translates to “The house in the sun.”
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Give Something Old a New Purpose

The two-acre property was a big draw. (“It’s magical,” Shari says.) It includes an incredibly preserved log barn where Randal hosts drum circles: “We make what I hope is a beautiful noise.” A small studio connected to the barn contains modern-day trappings: a TV and a computer.
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a Bright Spot

A cheery yellow print covers the lampshade, proving that
 it only takes a little color to punch up a space—in this case a small bedroom on the second floor. 
The Thatchers’ nieces and nephews vie for the room when they come to stay. Lampshade in yellow Elefant textile; svenskttenn.se.
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Claim a Corner for Joy

An addition a few decades ago bumped the square footage to roughly 1,500, netting the home’s first kitchen and bathroom downstairs and this room upstairs, which the couple made into a music-practice space.
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Jump through Time

The second-floor music room’s window seat displays Coleman’s design strategy in a nutshell: Stay in the Scandi lane, but pull from different eras. Here, the fabric hails from the 1930s and ’40s, the lighting is modern, and the tongue-and-groove paneling is reminiscent of the home’s roots. Mille Fleurs fabric by Josef Frank; custom roman shade in green Elefant textile; svenskttenn.se. Nelson Cigar Wall Sconce, $495; dwr.com.