Text by Katie Ellis
For years, Cara and Tom Fox, the owners and creative talent behind the design-build firm The Fox Group in Salt Lake City, Utah, waited patiently as they dreamed of one day building their ideal family home. “We waited for years for the perfect property to come up: one with flat space, mature trees, and a mountain view,” Cara says. “During those years, we planned the home the entire time—focusing on how our family lives and uses spaces.” So when that perfect property finally became available, the couple sprang into action. Right away, Cara knew she wanted a shingled home in a Colonial style where she and her family could cherish and live in every inch of space. Finally, in 2017, the Foxes’ design dreams came true and their nearly 10,000-square-foot traditional Colonial style home was move-in ready.
Though they reside in the foothills of an idyllic mountain vista just outside of Utah’s capital, the couple’s personal style has a distinctly East Coast flair. “Our personal décor style is very New England,” Cara says, pointing out the home’s various shades of white and all the wainscoting. “But we also stick with the more European influences from that style—with antiques, French bistro shelves in the kitchen, and a functioning pizza oven.”
While the home is a visual feast for the eyes—especially during the holiday season—the Foxes were quick to consider function in addition to form. “We wanted the open-concept design, but we also wanted the space to feel cozy and not overbearing,” Cara says. To achieve that goal, they kept the ceilings uniform throughout the living area and kitchen and focused on a big fireplace open to the kitchen where everyone—including their cat and two dogs—could gather at the end of the day in a comfortable setting.
Cozy comforts are key to the Foxes’ family home. From the time you walk through the double Dutch doors and lay eyes on the commanding 13-foot Christmas tree in the foyer decked with homemade ornaments, your senses become awash with holiday nostalgia. “With my children being such sweet and precious ages—all under 10 but still old enough to craft—I wanted the tree to be personal to them,” Cara says. “So we filled it all with handmade ornaments that they have made and collected over the past 10 years. It brings a tear to my eye each time I think about how personal each ornament is and the child who made it, the joy and pride they felt for it, and the memories of those Christmases past.”
Family is of utmost importance in the Fox household, so Cara and Tom wanted to make sure the heart of their home—the kitchen— would accommodate their family’s needs. “It’s such a special place to me and my kids,” Cara says of their kitchen. “I enjoy so much time in there, and we have so many memories baking and cooking together.” Their family baking led to creative design choices like the little baking centers on each end of the island. “Since it would be used for doughs and pizzas, we wanted butcher block,” Cara says. “I love the marks made over the months and how it makes them feel used and worn-in and loved and authentic.” They thoughtfully paired the warm wooden butcher block surface with bright white marble surfaces used on the islands and the backsplash.
Outside of the kitchen and living spaces, the Foxes designed dreamy bedrooms and stunning baths for both their family’s needs and guest retreats. “I have always wanted a home to be loved and lived in. We use every bit of space in our home,” Cara says. “Each evening, after busy days, it’s so important for us to gather together and cook and eat and then relax and spend time together with our dogs and kitty all around us. I feel like making a home—any type, including an apartment or even a dorm room—special and personal to how one lives their life is creating a haven for the soul.”