Home Decor

How to Transform Your ’70s-era Chalet from Dated to Dapper

Expert tips for bringing outdated décor back to the future.

By Melissa Fields December 14, 2016 Published in the Winter/Spring 2017 issue of Park City Magazine

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The post-renovation look.

"Close to everything” or “authentic mountain living” are just two of the ways residents describe life in Summit Park, a high-altitude neighborhood located just west of Park City at Parleys Summit. This tight-knit community is indeed convenient to both Park City and the Salt Lake Valley, and provides unparalleled trail access. On the flip side, however, many of the houses here were hastily built 30-plus years ago and might be charitably described as ’70s ski chalet chic.

When Emily and Gary Wrotny purchased their barn-inspired, timber-frame Summit Park home in 2010, it was no exception. “The interior was dark, the floors were this old, dirty-looking tile, and it was honestly a little scary,” Emily recalls. And though many prospective homeowners may think a complete gut (or even a tear down) is the only way to freshen up this level of dated décor, Salt Lake City–based interior designer Aubrey Veva (aubreyvevadesign.com) knows better. “I really like working with my clients to make something special with what they have,” she says. Following are Veva’s tips for transforming an interior from dated into dapper.     

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The Wrotny home pre-makeover.

Park City Magazine:  Where in the home do cosmetic improvements make the most impact?

Aubrey Veva: I’m a firm believer in the adage “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Taking the time to give your front door and entry a wow factor sets the tone for what guests can expect inside.

PCM: What are a few fixes that go a long way without a lot of expense?

AV: The first is pretty obvious: paint. Nothing freshens a space faster. Second is flooring. While materials like reclaimed wood can make a big impact, you can easily find very similar pre-engineered flooring for a fraction of the cost. And then accessorizing. Items like new picture frames and plants generally don’t cost much and give a room new life and personality.

PCM: And what elements are worth investing in?    

AV: I consider lighting the jewelry of the home and feel like a room is almost naked without a great lighting piece. Also, old appliances can date a kitchen and/or great room really fast, and new ones are worth the expense. And don’t worry about brand consistency. As long as all the finishes match, no one will notice that your appliances are different brands but you.   

PCM: Finally, stone often plays a major element in ’70s-era construction. What are some ways you recommend working with an attention-getting room element like, gulp, lava rock?

AV: Look at the finishes surrounding it—paint color, furniture, flooring—and try to choose something that highlights the stone rather than trying to hide it, which tends make a stone wall or fireplace look that much more out of place and out of style.

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