Our next guest in our "At Home" series is Amber Howe. Amber is here to share her lovely home with us! "After breaking ground in May 2011, we were clinking glasses of bubbly on move-in day just 9 months later, right after Valentine’s Day. A month prior, John had proposed to me, so the new house held more significance for us. It was where we’d build our life together! We’d both lived in turn-of-the-century Victorian homes in Salt Lake City for years, so the idea of an open, modern feel and new everything was foreign to us. We knew we’d miss the instant charm of an older house, and starting from scratch felt intimidating. But the opportunity to create a space just perfect for us here in Park City has been exciting.
While we live in a neighborhood, the view from the front porch includes three ski resorts. Our backyard is BLM open space, which we share with deer, porcupine, skunk, a feisty fox, and a huge herd of elk. We created a home to be base camp for our adventures that reflects our love of nature, with open, useful and comfortable spaces. We wanted our home to be as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible, and the house was recently awarded silver LEED certification. Park City’s weather is intense: it can be 95 degrees in summer and bring three feet of snow in winter. In a snowstorm, we love cozy toes thanks to radiant heat in the floors and in summer, we throw the big windows open wide for the breeze (no AC). Double-framed exterior walls and solar power mean we use significantly less energy. It was fun to learn about unusual or reclaimed materials, like the recycled aluminum foil and resin bathroom countertops or cork flooring."
"The bones of our home include industrial aspects, like the concrete fireplace, I-beam staircase, and metal railings. We tried to balance that with a lot of warm, natural woods. At first, the new space was beautiful but felt a little hollow. Our challenge was to make this brand-new house to feel like a welcoming home, a place that’s easy to LIVE in. We looked for comfortable furnishings, some vintage accessories, and unexpected artwork to soften the too-new shine. We’re not afraid of vibrant color. Every room is its own little rainbow. We tried to pair classic mid-century modern design with our funky style (like the two green leather Mad Men couches). John and I come from opposite coasts, and have tried to bring pieces of both of our histories into the space. But what has made our home most comfortable is time lived in it. One has to get to know a new space, learn its flow, know the lighting at different times of day, find the cozy nooks. You can’t buy that lived-in feeling off the shelf." "Some of our favorite memories together are connected to our albums. When we moved in, our separate album collections became one big one. Some are classic jazz records my musician father played while I was growing up. Some are classic rock that John has played toward the end of every party. Over the 13 years we’ve known each other, we’ve spent countless hours peeling through those records, song by song. The Van Morrison and Steve Wonder songs that we played during our wedding ceremony were selected by what we felt when flipping through the stacks. There is a lot of meaningful history for us in those shelves of vinyl." "We spend the most time in our Great Room. The wide-open floor plan between the kitchen, living room, and dining room makes it easy to cook and entertain without missing out on the action. The space somehow just works for whatever we’re using it for—an intimate four-person dinner party or 30 people for a summer BBQ. The extra high ceilings and tall windows display the incredible Park City mountain views, and double doors lead from the dining room to our back deck and garden, making the backyard feel like an extension of the house.
Truth? This house is too big for just us. We built it with the intention of filling it with our friends and family. We love when our guest rooms are full, and there’s a big family-style meal being passed around the dining room table. We like when things are out of place from being used, when guests feel at home enough to pour themselves a drink and prop feet on the coffee table, when the doors are wide open to the great outdoors, when the dog is running in and out.
I love our home most when it’s full of loved ones." Thank you so much for sharing your lovely home with us, Amber! You can find more of Amber over at her blog The Usual Bliss. xo.