A Boring Builder-Grade Utah Home Gets a No-Remodel Makeover That Finally Gives It Some Character
The homeowners didn’t want to spend a lot of money on new construction or electrical work.
This redecorating project started the way that many do—the designers, brother and sister duo Gina and Dan Gutierrez of Gina Rachelle Design, were tapped to bring personality into a builder-grade new home in Ivins, Utah, nestled in the state’s Red Rocks. But, there was a catch—the owners didn’t want to do any remodeling. “From a starting point of view, the home lacked character and warmth on the inside,” Gina says. “For example, the cabinet hardware throughout all rooms was the same, and the light fixtures were not quite to scale for the size of the rooms, leaving lighting a dismal afterthought. The clients didn’t want to spend a ton of money on new electrical work or construction, so we had to get creative to bring in pops of visual interest in the textures, patterns, and colors of the furniture and styling selections.”
Luckily, the design duo had worked with the clients, Michelle and Darrell, on their home in San Francisco. This was to be their second home, which they wanted to be designed for extended stays, family gatherings, girls’ weekends, hosting their grandkids, and more. “They didn’t want just a second house to escape to during the winter, but a home away from home where all their needs were met for work and play but mostly a place for the family to gather and build memories,” Gina adds.
The clients’ biggest requests? Michelle needed a space to work remotely, but an actual office area, instead of working from a dining table or kitchen island. Darrell wanted a theater room where he could lounge and stretch his legs. (He’s 7 feet tall!)
In place of a remodel or renovation, Gina and Dan focused on furnishing the full house inside and out. Their clients walked them through the home and pointed out what they could live with and what they really wanted to change. The designers used the gorgeous setting outdoors—the desert and mountain views—as the inspiration for the home’s aesthetic.
“The views are the star of the home and we knew from the start that that is where we would pull our inspiration from,” Gina says. “Michelle and Darrell love being outdoors, so we focused on bringing the outdoors in with the hardwood side table, mantel, and art pieces. We stole inspiration from their love of motorcycles by adding one of our favorites photographs in the house from House of Spoils which shows a biker racing a horse in the wild. Too perfect! The Red Rocks alone brought so much color into their main living space, that we tried to stay more neutral in tone when it came to furniture. By doing this, we created an oasis of relaxation.”
The project was a new design challenge for Gina and Dan. “We are so used to knocking down walls, repainting every room in the house, and adding new stone or millwork to create a cohesive fresh space, so not being able to do that offered the opportunity to think outside of the box,” Gina explains. They used new vendors; commissioned artisans (like the craftsman who built the fireplace mantel and the artist who created the entry art); and brought in local finds and antique pieces from their home base in the North Bay Area.
Plenty of texture, color, and pattern were utilized throughout the space to infuse it with personality. Gina says when you add in these elements, you start to bring a natural, organic feel to the space. As for those who want to pull it off at home, Gina has a few tips: Be intentional with the focal point for your statement piece; stick with a color story; layer; and show some restraint.
And the design duo upgraded all the lighting in the house, proving that it really does make a big difference—they installed a dramatic chandelier and unique pendants over the kitchen island and the primary bedroom’s nightstands. They also added large oversized furniture to anchor the space.
Michelle and Darrell love their finished second home. “When we completed the reveal, their joy was pulling at our heartstrings. Seeing their reactions is a reminder of why we do what we do,” Gina explains. “Design is so much more than aesthetic and technical space planning, it is about creating a space that feels safe, healing and energizing, and comfortable. We were able to meet all of their goals and needs and make it beautiful!”
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