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Decorating with reclaimed wood

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Ideas and inspiration for your entire home

While remodeling a Providence Tudor-style home, designer Michele Dunker capitalized on steep rooflines when designing top-floor sleeping quarters. Striped wallpaper from Osborne & Little accentuates the ceiling’s peak while visually broadening the wall with a horizontal orientation. A series of framed glass panels integrated into a new dropped ceiling draw light into the room from existing skylights.


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Designer Michele Dunker framed panels of Barbara Barry’s In Bloom wallpaper by Kravet to add a soft pattern to an attic-space bedroom.

Anne-Marie Barton capitalized on this small bathroom’s shape. “By adding nickel board, we made the most of the angles and roof lines to create artistic forms and drama,” she says.

Pitch Perfect

In Park City, homeowners John Plunkett and Barbara Kuhr created an under-the-rafters living area illuminated by a skylight.

Whether its an old attic or newly built upper level, shapely top-floor spaces live it up in today’s homes. BY BRAD MEE



e all have an idyllic image in our heads when we think about attic rooms: cozy spaces shaped by angled ceilings, sloped walls and porthole-like dormer windows. Frequently accessed by hidden staircases or out-of-the-way hallways, they are like secret retreats offering an escape from everyday life below. Is it any wonder so many homeowners are transforming unfinished attics into away-from-it-all suites or, for that matter, adding architecturally dynamic attic-shaped sleeping quarters or top-floor living spaces to newly built homes?



In the attic space of a remodeled 1880s home, Robert McArthur added a bedroom window and framed it with a delightful built-in bench that runs from the floor to the rafters.

“People are naturally drawn to their charm,” says designer Robert McArthur, who has remodeled many attics and has added many rooms to his clients’ top floors. “It’s creating a space that’s not just a box and has dimension and character,” he says. Designer Michele Dunker agrees. “Attics are naturally cozy and quaint, and nearly all of my clients want to make use of the space,” she explains. But while attics are unquestionably alluring, designing and creating living areas from them come with challenges. From the very beginning, McArthur urges clients to determine the intended purpose of the space and who will use it. The dimensions of existing attics often drive this decision. So, he suggests, climb into your attic. “Until you are in the space, its hard to know if it is usable or not,” he says, recalling a playroom he created featuring only 5-foot-high ceilings—a top-floor space big enough for youngsters but clearly not suitable for a master suite. “Obviously with new construction you control this,” he says. For example, he recently created a new attic above a client’s carriage house, allowing him to control the ceiling height and roof pitch. But even new construction requires thoughtful design and creative solutions. “You want to make sure the space blends in with the rest of the neighborhood and the scale of the existing home,” McArthur insists. Some homeowners are dubious about top-floor living because of the attic’s reputation for being dark and stuffy. McArthur suggests adding dormer or even larger shed dormers, pulling light inside dim top-floor spaces. These architectural features also increase livable space, he says. The designer also suggests skylights, which can sit on the trusses, increasing a room’s character, natural light and even headroom. He favors Velux, a skylight system that opens when needed. Dunker is also a fan of overhead windows. “Skylights and Skytubes can deliver a light from above that is almost ethereal,” she says.

Windows of Opportunity Available in many forms, dormers can transform a dark and dull attic by adding light, space and architectural character to top-floor living quarters.

Shed Dormer


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Eyebrow Dormer

Gabled Dormer

Beams break up the vastness of this large top-floor bunk room designed by Anne-Marie Barton. Deep-seated dormers make bold architectural statements, frame views and enlarge the room’s living space. A bank of custom bunks is built into the sloped walls and pitched ceiling.



Robert McArthur created a small bedroom shaped from a gable and short shallow roof pitch. “We built in the bed and a playhouse to save floor space,” he says.

“It’s creating a space that’s not just a box and has dimension and character.” —Robert McArthur

Getting to and from an attic also requires thoughtful design. “The best way to create access is to add a stairway on top of an existing stairway, because you already have the footprint,” McArthur explains. He also looks to existing hallways and corridors for access into an adjoining attic on the same or approximate level. A top-floor hallway, for example, can often lead into the attic above an attached garage or one built above an existing porch or covered patio.

A bed and whimsical chandelier are centered in a new bedroom shaped by sloped walls and a boxy dormer window. Design by Robert McArthur.

By completely wrapping this small top-floor bathroom in a large-pattern wallpaper, designer Anne-Marie Barton cleverly transformed the oddly shaped room into a jewel box-like space.


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Designer Michele Dunker made the most of the space below this room’s sloped walls by integrating the bed into the confined area and creating a custom tufted headboard that celebrates the room’s challenging yet charming architecture.

“Homeowners need to be flexible about where the access is located,” McArthur explains. They also need to be open to savvy design ideas. An attic’s unique architectural features and odd dimensions provide op-

window seats, children’s built-in bunks and even a playhouse. Similarly, designer Anne-Marie Barton designed the top floor of a new Holladay home with grand dormers and peaked roofs to house large, built-in bunks. “When

portunities for captivating design treatments as proven by many designers throughout Utah. For a Logan-area client, Michelle Dunker remodeled the top floor of a Tudor-style home—replete with steep-pitched ceilings and dormers—to include two uniquely shaped and entirely captivating bedrooms.

the house plans revealed an open pitch usable for a living space, I immediately gravitated to the idea of a traditional over-the-garage space and turning it into a bunk room,” she says. Barton amped the charm of nearby bathrooms by highlighting the small rooms’ unique slopes and shapes with

“You have to consider what parts of the space can accommodate a standing person and what activities like sleeping and sitting occur in the lower part of the sloped walls,” she explains. She used the peaked ceilings and sloped walls to shape eye-catching headboard walls and surprising walk-in closets. Short

all-over wall treatments. “Even if a space is tight, a wrap of wall covering on walls and ceilings makes for a dramatic effect,” she explains. For anyone considering an attic renovation, McArthur suggests pulling together a file of photos that illustrate the look and feel they want from

side walls house built-in book shelves and framed wallpaper panels that accentuate the room’s sloped surfaces and jutting dormers. McArthur was equally creative while remodeling a historic cottage in Salt Lake City. He took advantage of the top floor’s low knee walls and sloped

their top-floor quarters. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” he says. “A professional can help with the brainstorming process and can give direction.” Once the decision to create an attic living space is made and its design determined, then it’s only a matter of time before the homeowners

ceilings—some existing and others created—to incorporate captivating

are living it up.



NAIL THE LOOK With renewed life, salvaged wood enjoys a stylish and surprising place in homes across Utah. BY BRAD MEE




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ome people consider salvaged wood as scrap while others regard it as second-hand siding. Both epithets cast it as throw-away timber suitable for little more than building a tree house or a roadside fruit stand. And neither captures the power this material has to deliver bold texture and organic authenticity to rooms of all types. The fact is, salvaged wood is one of the hottest decorating materials on the scene, and surprising to many, it isn’t just for decking out burly lodges and rustic cabins. It looks just as compelling in a modern mountain home and city-center bungalow. That kind of versatility, not to mention natural appeal, explains why it is all the rage today—and why it has a place in most any dwelling, perhaps even yours. If you’re like us, you’ll be amazed at all the creative ways and unexpected places design pros are integrating reclaimed wood into their projects. Here are some of our favorites from across Utah.

1 THE BED A plane of salvaged wood appears to be a full-wall headboard connected to a bed crafted from the same material. Designer Barclay Butera applied the planks horizontally to create a more modern look and cleverly selected white walls and bedding to accentuate the wood’s rich russet tones and linear pattern.

2 THE FIREPLACE A tall fireplace faced in reclaimed wood anchors the living room of a Victory Ranch home in Kamas. Butera used metal to create a sleek modern mantel and narrow posts that graphically segment the span of weathered boards. “Even with the trend toward mountain modern design, people still want that rustic element in their modern


homes as a reflection of their mountain surroundings,” he says.

3 THE POWDER ROOM VANITY A reclaimed snow fence cabinet provides a rustic contrast to this powder bathroom’s smooth blue plastered walls and black stone countertop. Butera restricted the boards to those featuring gray tones to complement the natural color of the stone vessel sink.

4 THE KITCHEN ISLAND In a striking Park City kitchen, barn siding gives an island base a natural, weathered look that can’t be recreated with modern finishes or materials. A variety of wood tones accentuates the repurposed material and its horizontal application. Design by Stanton Architects.






5 THE TUB As a backdrop to a shapely modern bathtub, a wall of repurposed wood provides an unexpected statement of rustic texture and pattern. By choosing a simple roman shade for the window treatment, Butera didn’t detract from the compelling visual tension created by the sleek tub and primitive wall material.

6 THE BAR In a Park City home, the modern design of a granite waterfall countertop stands out against the room’s rustic barn wood wall. The designers at LMK Interior Design chose the same wood to clad the inner face of the island, tying the elements together. Boards with knots, splits and nail holes were favored to heighten the materials’ compelling contrast. Flowers by Orchid Dynasty.




Designer Anne-Marie Barton gave a 75-year-old Sugar House bungalow a farmhouse-meetsmodern overhaul and used peel n’ place Stikwood reclaimed planking (see sidebar) to transform its family room wall from bland to texture-rich and rustically chic. The material’s weathered barnwood-look provides a spirited backdrop for the young homeowners’ art collection and guitar.


Looking for a simple DIY way to transform your boring interior door? Peel-and-stick this mural to make it to look like one born from an old barn. OLD WOOD DOOR MURAL, $89, EAZYWALLZ.COM


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DIY RECLAIMED AND SUSTAINABLE WOOD PLANKING Peel, stick and stand back to admire your handiwork. Can natural wood walls really be that easy? Stikwood, a California-based company, proves it can be. This is not Brady Bunch-era wood paneling; Stikwood is real wood with a permanent peel and stick adhesive applied to the back. Looks vary from rustic to contemporary, as everything from reclaimed timber—sourced from materials as varied as wine barrels, gymnasium floors and fences—to new and sustainably harvested wood of all different types of trees, are used to create the product. Stikwood doesn’t stop just at accent walls. It can transform any flat interior surface—apply it to ceilings, cabinets or use it as a backsplash. A simple Google search yields pages and pages of inventive ways to use the product, or the scraps from a completed project. Intrepid do-it-yourselfers have used Stikwood to create headboards and even to dress up plain pieces of Ikea furniture. Salt Lake-based designer Anne-Marie Barton has used Stikwood in a number of impressive projects and says it’s “cheaper than art and it adds texture” to existing walls, adding that Stikwood provides a high-impact look at an affordable price. “It is one of the best, most creative tricks out there to create a modern, rustic look,” she says. —Christie Marcy



8 THE MASTER BATHROOM Repurposed wood can go anywhere, even in a modern bathroom. Designed by Stanton Architects, this Park City bathroom features towers of rough salvaged wood that warm the white, sleek space and adds an organic design element that’s ideally suited for the home’s mountain locale.

9 THE BUNKS For a Tuhaye home, Designer Marian Rockwood created sliding bunk-room doors using wood reclaimed from a former tobacco-processing plant— they still bear an earthy raw tobacco aroma. She incorporated the same natural wood in the room’s stacked beds.

10 THE VANITY MIRROR Years of weather makes old wood more, not less, desirable. In this Wolf Creek bathroom designed by Anne-Marie Barton, it richly dresses the wall and transforms an oval mirror into a work of art. The difference in color between the wall’s repurposed wood and that of the mirror makes Barton’s layered wood treatments more rousing.




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A LOCAL FATHER-DAUGHTER TEAM REIMAGINES BARN WOOD AT R.A.W. RESTORATIONS Kate Jensen used to sell mortgages. Now she sells barn wood. For nearly a decade, the Utah native bounced around California, selling mortgages and moving place to place. She says her father, who worked in construction, would often help her recreate things for her apartments replicating what she saw in stores that were either the wrong size or too expensive. Eventually, Jensen traded in her office cubicle for a circular saw, and returned to Salt Lake to start a company, R.A.W. Restorations, with her father, Kelley Jensen. R.A.W. Restorations transforms reclaimed wood from weathered barns into furniture, wall art, floor coverings and more. Jensen has reverence for the history of the material, even though the old wood is more difficult to work. “There’s a whole history behind it that means more than pallet wood,” Kate says. The father-daughter team buys dilapidated, rickety barns decaying on property owned by family and friends or that they have found online, demolish the structures and salvage the lumber. Depending on the barn, the type of wood varies. If the wood is local, it’s most likely Douglas fir. Each wood used in construction, each paint or finish used by the farmers who owned the barn and each year the barn stood all have an impact on the appearance of the wood. No barn’s wood is uniform. When it’s used for furniture, like chairs or a table, the up-cycled wood has to be sanded smooth to avoid splinters, but as wall paneling, the timber can be sanded, finished and waxed, or simply attached to the wall as-is, with its rough texture and character intact. And, obviously, the


less the wood is worked, the less work it requires to keep looking good, Kate says. “The upkeep is very, very minimal, you just have to wipe it down when you need to,” she explains. There’s no place barn wood can’t be used, Kate says, having seen barn-wood walls and furniture in bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms. She and her father even remodeled an Airstream trailer incorporating their barn-wood products, Kate’s favorite project. The barn-wood trend is fueled by what Kate calls an “industrial-urban revolution” but Raw Restorations projects are not just a passing fad, she says. After all, the wood has already survived decades. “The pieces we are building are timeless and they are here to stay.” —Christie Marcy



Tips and Tricks  
Tips and Tricks  

Utah Style & Design features some shapely top-floor spaces designed by Anne Marie Barton and ways to incorporate sustainable wood planking i...