The Skittles Cottage
Photography: Douglas Burke
Colorful as a bowl filled with Skittles candy, the Hoelleins’ house is known as “The Skittles Cottage” by many of their friends.
Inspired by French country style, homeowner Jodee Hoellein and designer Jackie Van Dam have joined together to create a French countryside retreat off a ski run in the Silver Star community near Park City Mountain Resort. When they first saw the home’s large rustic beams framing the ceiling, they immediately felt connected to Provencal traditions. Mixing and matching a rainbow of fabrics with abandon, they chose a palette that reminded them of fields of lavender, bright blue skies, emerald green lawns, and bouquets of flowers.
The expressive use of color throughout the house is the essence of French country style with every spoke of the primary color wheel well represented. “Jodee was daring,” Van Dam admits, “never hesitating for a moment to put five different fabrics on a sofa as long as they had some connection to each other. We also edged the tapestry pillows with fringe while bordering the others with braided trim.”
When the Hoelleins, whose main residence is in Ogden, Utah, first thought of their Park City vacation getaway, they knew they wanted an elegant yet comfortable country home that would be welcoming to their family and two beloved and very active Wire Fox Terriers.
The rustic, old-world ambiance of the French country style of decorating with sun-drenched colors was tailor-made for their needs. They incorporated many of the icons of European coun-try furnishings and fabrics from Pierre Deux to MacKenzie-Childs, finding many cherished pieces locally at F. Marks Collectables in Park City and Three French Hens in Salt Lake City.
Felice Marks of F Marks Collectables, the exclusive carrier of Mackenzie-Childs in Utah, says, “We had everything that Jackie and Jodee needed in the way of accessories, furnishings and tableware. They loved the whimsical ‘Alice through the looking glass’ appeal of the Mackenzie-Childs Collection. The company’s work is unique,” Marks continues, “and even though people have tried to copy it, no one has succeeded.” For 25 years, Mackenzie-Childs has been designing what they call “happy accent pieces for the home and garden.” Their design team transforms raw elements with pattern, color, humor and whimsy into treasures that are meant to be cherished by generations of their fans.
Hoellein and Van Dam started in the living room with thoughts of carrying the theme through to the dining area. “From the beginning,” Van Dam recalls, “the emphasis was on the details. It was fun picking out so many fabrics on the couches that would also translate to the dining room chairs and pick up the colors in the rug. And of course, we had to have the signature rooster of Provence in the living room. We tended to work our way from room to room. One of our favorite rooms is the master bedroom.” The four-poster bed, found at Forsey Furniture Gallery in Salt Lake City, is covered in a colorful mix of plaids, dots, checks and florals. To add to the atmosphere of romance, a chandelier casts an amber glow over the canopy. Bombay chests with carved flowers gracing their fronts act as night tables upon which sit Luna Bella lamps.
For the family room, Dean Bradshaw of Salt Lake City created a painted French country cabinet to house the 70-inch television that was on a must-have list. The round coffee table has a double function because of its removable cushion — not only does it act as a “TV table” for snacks, but also serves as a “feet-up” prop. “The dogs regard it as their own big dog bed,” Hoellein laughingly admits. “For more formal occasions, we often accessorize it with a Dale Chihuly glass blown sculpture and flowers.”
Two paintings by the Hoelleins’ favorite artists, Kent Wallace of Logan, Utah, and Dorsey McHugh of Nashville, Tennessee, provide bright accents over the couches. The Hoelleins like to support Utah art galleries and were excited to find Dorsey McHugh’s work at the Thomas Anthony Gallery in Park City. “We’ve bought a number of her paintings,” Hoellein says, “because we were struck by the dramatic flights of fancy in Dorsey’s work that she claims are partly inspired by ‘The Chronicles of Narnia.’”
Whether it is paintings, accessories, furnishings, or even faux painted walls, the Hoelleins surround themselves with joyful colors that add to the mix of comfort and charm in a very individual interpretation of French country design.
Wendy Lavitt, the author of six books and many magazine articles, lives in Park City. She is a frequent contributor to Park City Magazine.