This Dream Home Sparkles with Shades of Blue and Christmas Spirit
As the saying suggests, if it's not broke, don't fix it. Interior designer Hillary Taylor and her husband, JB, took that to heart when they decided to build a new home in Sandy, Utah, in 2016. They had already built their dream home just 35 minutes away in Salt Lake City in 2009. Their four children were born there, and the house was the perfect setup for the family's lifestyle with its full days of school, church, sports, and music.
The commute between the house and the kids' school and extracurricular activities proved a burden for the family, though, even with a house that fulfilled their needs. So the Taylors dismissed the idea of finding a similar house and built their dream house again, this time in Sandy.
"My goal was consistency," Hillary says. "There was no reimagining design schemes and colors." She did make a few practical adjustments, though. Sandy, Utah, comes by its name honestly, and that means soil with a lot of sand. Hillary knew that the sophisticated dark floors that stretched throughout her former house would not be well suited for the sand that would be tracked in by kids who spend quite a bit of time outside—playing soccer in the summer and, during the winter, skiing on the mountain that hugs the back of the property.
Then there was the lot. It required that the house be flipped so the garage now sits on the opposite side from the original house. But beyond that, the Taylor family knows and sees no difference between the two houses whether they wake up on an average day or on Christmas morning.
Hillary and JB Taylor's home was built in 2016, a replica of their previous house but in a better location.
The holidays are traditionally accompanied by many beautiful visual moments, but at the Taylor residence, sound plays the biggest role in the Christmas spirit. The family is committed to music. Each member plays at least one instrument, and all of the Taylors play either the violin or cello.
"Music is part of our upbringing and how we worship," Hillary says. "It gives our children confidence in what they do instead of how they look. They practice with consistency and understand the joy that music brings to home, church, and community."
The music room welcomes at the front of the house, just off the foyer. Clad in knotty sugar pine, the room accommodates the family so they can play together. Albeit beautiful with its golden yellow tones, carved center table, and voluminous blue drapery panels, the room isn't overly designed. There's space for cellos to be safely housed on their stands and violins to be cleverly hung on the walls.
This cozy space is not solely for the Taylors—Hillary, JB, and their children, James, Austin, Haley, and Sophie—to practice their instruments and play together. It houses treasures such as an olive wood Nativity set from Israel and a German pyramid.
The soft blue that accents the music room doesn't make a solo appearance. Blue in various values and doses punctuates the entire house, providing a seamless transition from room to room and a classic foil for Christmas decorations.
Hillary considers the family room the centerpiece of the house, so seating of all kinds—window seats, quilted club chairs, slipper chairs, a tufted ottoman, a rollback sofa, and tufted armchairs—provide plenty of spots for the family and guests to watch sports on TV. Plaid accessories provide a Christmas kick.
The living room dons light blue on drapery panels similar to those that dress the music room windows. Everything in the living room, where the Taylors open gifts each Christmas morning, is collected and bears special meaning. The furniture, arranged to highlight the focal-point piano, includes a camelback sofa that was given to Hillary by her mother. "This sofa has gone in and out of style, but I still love it," she says of the heirloom that is positioned against French doors. Also meaningful is a daybed that Hillary bought at an antiques shop in her California hometown and upholstered in blue velvet.
"This room feels like sunshine—as if it's always smiling," Hillary says. Its yellow accents are amplified with lengths of yellow ribbon at Christmas.
Hillary covered a Venetian recamier that she bought at an antiques shop in a pretty check fabric.
The dining room boasts another piece of furniture discovered by Hillary's mother. Bought for a mere $50 in Chicago when Hillary was a baby, the dark table contrasts ivory caneback chairs from a consignment store. The host chairs wear blue linen slipcovers with ties that mimic those on the pointe shoes of ballerinas performing The Nutcracker at Christmas.
To avoid overwhelming the dining room and its hand-painted walls with holiday decoration, Hillary keeps it simple with mini wreaths on the chairs and greenery with blue ribbons woven throughout the brass chandelier.
For her kitchen, Hillary's goal wasn't a showplace. Instead, she created a utilitarian white work zone that allows a French range and bistro-style barstools, both in blue, to star. "I didn't want a double island because we can make a good mess, and it can be exhausting to clean," Hillary says with a laugh. "The kitchen needed to function. I cook on Sundays and for holidays, but it's not my hobby. The size works for us."
A gingerbread version of the Taylor house adorns the kitchen island each year. The breakfast area, built with walls of windows so it also serves as a sunroom, shows its spirit with winter greens fashioned into wreaths and hung from red ribbon.
And while the adjoining breakfast area is an easy coordinate in palette, it uses fabric—a blueand-white abstract leaf motif—that Hillary avoided in the kitchen. The performance textile covers cushions on both the settee and chairs and a long cushion that rests on the bench. "Chairs on both sides of the table would have meant that we were pushing chairs in all day," Hillary says.
The bench also provides extra seating when the house is full of family and friends ready to enjoy basketball games on the family room television. At Christmas, sparkle soars to the ceiling with a large Christmas tree that works with the mountains outside to form a postcardperfect setting.
Whether it is the decorations throughout the house or the way that the Taylors celebrate Christmas, repetition and tradition are special to the family.
"Continuity is so important to us, and Christmas is the most meaningful time," Hillary says. "I notice more openness and love among people and so much joy from the children."
Anchored by a Slim Aarons ski scene photograph, this space is the Taylor kids' movie-watching venue.
Elegant light blue saturates the bedroom, where decorative frills include hand-painted wallpaper, ruffled window treatments that frame mountain views, and a carved mirror.
The bathroom adds more dressmaker details including fringe on the striped silk curtains and the tufted ottoman and pleated vanity chair.