Modern Tricks Recreate the Original Charm of This Restored Tudor House
A team of talented designers, builders, and artisans restores a historic home with authentic details and contemporary sensibilities.
1904 Tudor Renovation
A meticulously restored Tudor house surrounded by lush, English-style gardens is not what you expect to find sitting on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. A few years ago, when Gordon Bowen, a global advertising executive with roots in Utah, happened upon the property, it was a far different sight. Several developers also were eyeing the then-rundown house, more interested in the prime location than the structure itself. But Bowen won out, assuring the sellers he had no intention of tearing down the 1904 home.
Initially he saw the house as a temporary residence. He was already working with architects Greg Tankersley and Bobby McAlpine and designer Rochelle Warner on plans for a new home to be built a few miles away. However, he soon shelved that project and committed to an ambitious renovation of the old house.
Unique Upon Entry
"I had the desire to create something unique," Gordon says. "Greg had the vision to realize the full promise of this historic landmark."
Warner recommended the Alabama-based architectural duo to Gordon, having admired their work when she was living in England. "When we moved back to Salt Lake, I called to inquire about hiring them for our own home," Warner says. "That didn’t work out, but I remembered how nice they were." This time, it was a fit.
The foyer with a vintage rug leads to the formal dining room where antique English chairs surround a custom mahogany table.
"Gordon is incredibly spontaneous and cinematic, but he was also intent on creating a nurturing home for his two children," says Tankersley. To introduce natural light and a contemporary flow to the cloistered and dark rooms characteristic of the Tudor style, Tankersley came up with the idea of a conservatory strategically attached along the rear of the original structure. With expansive window walls and a ceiling that rises to 15 feet, the light-filled addition happily accommodates a gracious kitchen, informal dining area, and a pair of back-to-back conversation spaces.
"The conservatory and its numerous doorways establish a congenial 'figure eight' circulation through the main floor," Tankersley says. "No one ever wants to get cornered in a dead-end space."
Antique Arts and Crafts oak chairs line the 1910 oak refectory table. Painted demilune panels from England date to 1870. "Westminster Square" lanterns are reproductions from Empire Lighting.
Custom-painted Rutt cabinets conceal appliances and frame the French Lacanche range and Artistic Stone hood. The island top is pewter.
At every juncture, Tankersley forged seamless connections between old and new. A wall in the foyer was removed to establish a new axis, and a dark center hallway was transformed into a sunny keeping room with a vaulted skylight. "We are constantly pulling modern tricks that allow an old house to breathe while maintaining its integrity," he says.
The light well introduces natural light into this transitional space, which connects the formal rooms of the original house with the new conservatory. Chairs are upholstered in "Petite Fleur" fabric from Kerry Joyce. Wallpaper is "Trellis" by Morris & Co. through Zoffany.
Reinvented Living Room
To ensure the existing living room didn't get upstaged by the new conservatory, a coffered ceiling was added. The living room's floor was lowered to accommodate the coffered treatment and create volume and a grander sense of scale. "Our goal was a reinvented and functional home that respects the past," Gordon explains. "In the world of preservation, creating timeless architecture is the ultimate act of conservation."
The original windows were dismantled and re-leaded with the original glass. Existing hardware was refurbished whenever possible, while missing sections and new windows were outfitted with faithful replicas crafted by local artisans. "The project challenged all the tradespeople," Gordon says. "There was a sense of pride and ownership. They were perfectionists."
Gordon's home office features a Gothic English Oak library table with an original William Morris chair (at left).
The renovation was under way in 2012 when Gordon went to London for the Olympics. While there, he saw an exhibit about 19th-century Arts and Crafts designer William Morris. "He got excited about English Arts and Crafts," says Warner, and that inspired much of the interior design. "We traveled to England together, and then I went back on my own for several shopping trips in the Cotswolds," the designer says. "We are both night owls, so we were always sharing photos and sending texts to each other at crazy hours."
Painted wainscoting and a medley of antique and reproduction furnishings and fabrics in the bedroom speak to the historic roots of the house. Fabric for the draperies, bedcover, pillow shams, and rocking chair is "The Ballad" by C.F.A. Voysey from J.R. Burrows & Co.
A freestanding "Margaux" bathtub from Waterworks with a burnished exterior finish is complemented by a vintage-style washstand and "Easton Vintage" tub filler and sink faucet.
Spacious and Bright Attic
The ceiling was raised and skylights were added to create a sunny and welcoming space in the attic. New exposed beams and trusses are in keeping with the Arts and Crafts spirit. The ceiling wallcovering is William Morris’s "Marigold" from Zoffany in a custom colorway.
Stunning Tile Work
A series of arched windows enlivens the formal salon. The flower beds are raised, and boxwoods, hydrangeas, and climbing roses are centered on the arches to enhance views from the salon to the garden.
Restoration Continues Outdoors
The dedication to restoration carried over to the grounds, where Nashville landscape architect Mike Kaiser tucked new and repurposed structures amid the gardens.
Trellis Dining Area
With views to the fountain, outdoor dining is at its finest beneath the trellis.
The pergola is original to the estate.
The kitchen garden is accented by a new stone-and-brick wall and a stone path.
A New Pool
A swimming pool original to the estate (the first in the state of Utah) was beyond repair, but Kaiser replaced it with a new family-friendly version.
An antique greenhouse from India was transformed into a poolside dining pavilion and anchors the property's western boundary. An antique crystal chandelier that once hung in the Utah governor's mansion adorns the restored greenhouse.
Whimsical Guest Tower
Although the restoration of the home and gardens was a serious endeavor, there was still opportunity for whimsy. When Gordon requested a playhouse for his daughter, Tankersley made the most of the opportunity. Gordon's daughter loves the story of Rapunzel, so a tower it was.
A focal point in the landscape, the Rapunzel tower was built as a playhouse but doubles as guest quarters. It is surrounded by perennial gardens with lavender, blue, and pastel blooms that complement the trim colors.
Built for Royalty
Looking ahead to Bowen's daughter's future, Tankersley designed the tower structure as a guesthouse with a bedroom on the second floor and a crow's nest on top, and sited it in a picturesque setting next to a little stream.
Abundant windows, a sparkly chandelier, and plenty of purple accents make up a pretty space.
Mount Olympus soars behind the 1904 Tudor-style home.
Homeowner Gordon Bowen
"Everyone involved, from the design to the execution of the small details, brought their best game to this project," says Gordon, who maintains all voices deserved to be heard. He laughs about heeding the sage advice of his advertising mentor, David Ogilvy: "Don't keep a dog and bark yourself."