What’s Out for 2023

Home décor trends come and go. The National Assn. of REALTORS (YES, THE TRADEMARK IS ALL CAPS!) put out it’s list of horrifying design trends of the past year that should go in 2023. Murphy’s Law rang true as right after I read the article I went on a listing appointment that had half of these design trends that are passe-ugh! Here they are:

  • Vessel bowl sinks. These are raised sinks and they are a pain in the ass to clean around the base and the counter and some can easily crack;
  • Tiled countertops in bathrooms and kitchens. This was a big trend 50 years ago but now one surface, such as a granite countertop are much more popular. Grout in old tiled rooms can get dirty, crack and even get loose;
  • A “cloffice’-which became very popular when we had to squeeze everyone at home into various rooms to sleep, work, school, cook and play. Closets turned into offices show that the home doesn’t have enough room for today’s modern living;
  • Furniture that is all the same color-like beige;
  • Animal prints, especially cow hide rugs and animal print furniture;
  • Rainfall showerheads. They may look cool but they have no water pressure!
  • Venetian plaster walls. This is ‘stucco put onto a flat wall surface’ to look like limewash and usually done in earthtones. It matched the décor in the next one…
  • Tuscan décor-from the 1990’s. It’s heavy looking furniture in dark dark colors designed after interior furniture found in rich old Italian castles;
  • Wallpaper or ‘scenic’ murals used as accent walls. If you have to do it, use a peel and stick variety that can be easily removed;

Too many plants. Folks stuck at home during the great pandemic found friends and solace in their house plants. Rare plants became a rage for a year or two but having your house look like a jungle inside is definitely out.


Trends to watch in 2023 include decorating with furniture/paint in shades of blue or muted neutral and warm colors like plumb and mustard, personality-packed rugs, statement window treatments and waterfall islands in the kitchen where the granite or quartz falls down each end so it looks like an inverted ‘U’, listening rooms for audiophiles, statement lamps, light warm wood tones in furniture and flooring, stripes in wall treatments and furniture, statement rugs, gold fixtures instead of brushed nickel, high wood gloss finishes (instead of matte), plaids and subtle tartans in bed dressings, dedicated craft rooms, ‘jewel-box’ (fancier) laundry rooms, and interior archways.


I have always heard that you need to update your interior every five years-with new paint, updated light fixtures, updated flooring, etc. You don’t have to go crazy and spend a ton of money to keep up with the Johansen’s, but you can look just as good as your fancy-schmancy neighbors with thoughtful taste choices and décor.


In a “Who’s winning this design battle”? the state of Utah has a finalist for it’s new state flag.  If you haven’t noticed, Salt Lake City got a new flag two years ago, made up of two horizontal bars of blue on the top and white on the bottom with a sego lily flower in the upper left side (canton/corner). We don’t see many sego lily flowers in the capitol city, but there is a giant concrete representation of one in Sugar House park that you can sit on if you walk in the south end of the park. The first city flag was created in 1963 and designed by J. Rulon Hales, the winner of a contest run by the Deseret News. The first version of it was made by Highland High students and it was officially put into use in 1969. It included seagulls, pioneers, a covered wagon, and the sun rising over the Wasatch. In the center was the beehive, our symbol of industry related to the founding of the city and its Mormon heritage. It was a busy flag and not a simple, ideal design in the world of flags.

In 2006 the second design of the city flag was adopted by the City Council after Mayor Rocky Anderson sponsored a design contest a few years earlier. Anderson, who’s announced he’s running for Salt Lake mayor again felt that “the old flag was too exclusive and focused entirely on the city’s Mormon heritage.”  This flag had a green horizontal bar on top, blue on the bottom, and a modern graphic rendition of the Salt Lake City skyline with snowcapped mountains in the background as a center oval. Not to be outdone, Mayor Mendenhall decided she wanted a  new flag and so the city government in 2020 opened a contest with a $3,000 prize for the winning entry. Six hundred people sent in their ideas and the final design was adopted by the city council October of the same year.

A commission met last month to advance their choice for a new Utah state flag, with three horizonal lines-the top a navy blue sky, the middle a representation of snowy mountains, a red bottom line to represent the red rock of southern Utah, with a beehive in the middle and a star underneath it (to represent the state’s Native American tribes). Over 44,000 citizens chimed in on designed ideas after state leaders criticized the current flag as “boring” and called it a “state seal on a blue bedsheet”. The Utah State Legislature in January 2023 will have to approve the new design.

One critic of the new flag told me the new flag design seemed appropriate: ‘Blue at the top of the state, red at the bottom, and white in the middle’ to represent the political factions within our borders. It was in 2011 that the current flag was adopted with the state seal over a navy blue background.

Park It!

Hopefully you voted in the mid-term elections? Salt Lake City folk passed a $85 mil bond to fund more parks and trail projects which will cost the average homeowner @$54 per year for 20 years beginning in 2024.

The biggest project to be funded will be the Glendale Regional Park which will convert the former 1700 South Raging Waters Park into a new 17-acre park-the first for the City’s forgotten west side. The attraction of a giant wave pool and water slides (at times called Wild Wave and Seven Peaks) fell into disrepair and shut down in 2018. The new plan includes community gathering spaces, trails, an overlook, playgrounds, and sport courts; addition of unique elements of surrounding neighborhoods’ identities and histories, increasing elements of placemaking based on community input and desires, and adding multilingual identity and wayfinding signage. Salt Lake City itself could have used some of those funds to update the wayfinding signs from the Olympics that are outdated and faded around downtown.

Other items the bond will fund include completion of the Folsom Trail where there is one section from 1000 West to the Jordan River Parkway, a new park in Granary District , plantings along the Jordan River Corridor to help improve air and water quality, improvements to parks in all City Council districts, replacement of the well-worn but actively used ‘Rotary Playground’ area of the Northwest area of Liberty Park, improvements to Fairmont Park including enhanced public access and hopefully new uses of the Boy’s and Girls Club tennis courts, and landscape and preservation improvements to historic Allen Park across from Westminster College.

The City has surveyed residents about public lands and found that residents were using parks more because of Covid-19, and with the anticipated growth we’ll be seeing it’s important to always include greenspace in the overall development of the City. I sat on a  charrette about our parks several years ago when I served as a volunteer Planning and Zoning Commissioner for the City. One expert who came in to lead the discussion mentioned that he really didn’t think the capitol city or the valley needed more parks because you could be in the mountains here in 15-30 minutes. Currently there are 103 parks and numerous trails throughout the Salt Lake Valley.

The first park here was Liberty Park, established in 1882. It is second in size to Sugar House Park. That park came as a result of the state Legislature passing a statue in 1947 setting aside the old state prison site as a state park. That one wasn’t necessarily targeted for any major renovations, but I would have suggested recognizing the fact that when we have snow we have a great sledding hill there but no formal infrastructure to assist sledders like a railing/stairs to use when climbing back up the hill, an ice rink or pickleball courts. I personally think we need a year round area in one of our city parks for roller derby in the summer and hockey in the winter.

Beer River

You’ve driven by the Fisher Mansion a million times if you’ve taken the freeway to the Airport from the east side heading north. It’s at 1206 West 200 South and if you’re the passenger in a car you can look to your immediate right as you weave from 1-15 to the west. It was designed by Richard Kletting, an influential architect from Utah who also designed the original Salt Palace, Saltair resort pavilion, the Utah State Capitol, the Territorial Insane Asylum, Lehi Tabernacle and many other buildings. It’s been sitting vacant for decades.

The two story, twelve-room mansion was constructed in the Victorian Eclectic style in a sparsely populated neighborhood near the banks of the Jordan River. Albert Fisher had immigrated to Utah from Germany and built this home near his place of work-the A. Fisher Brewing Company. The family beer business in Utah was brewing 75,000 barrels a year of suds with around 50 employees,  and provided the beverage to bars and taverns in Salt Lake County-many of which Fisher owned. His mansion showed off his success, and interestingly enough was the only beer brewery to re-open after the repeal of Prohibition. It closed in 1957. The mansion later was leased out to the Catholic Church for missionary sisters and then in 1970 became an alcohol and drug abuse treatment facility. It was later purchased by Salt Lake City in 2006.

The home sat vacant for several years as input from citizens was gathered as to the potential use of the building, as it’s got great bones with wonderful craftmanship. In 2020 the 5.7 earthquake damaged the building and all three chimneys, so in September of that year the City switched from attempts to update the mansion to focus on the carriage house there. Sadly, in the middle of the night that spring, someone stole most of the bronze metal fence surrounding the property that was most likely part of Kletting’s original design. The carriage house is now complete, with offices and a small public meeting room.

What’s great about all of this is the new boat ramp by the mansion that gives access to kayakers who want to explore the Jordan River in that area. Users say it’s the best boat ramp yet to be built along the trail. The other two ramps close by are located near the Utah State Fairpark at the Gadsby trailhead and one at 1800 North. Getting into the river now is much easier for people to access and there are more ramps planned for the future. The Jordan River flows from Utah Lake in Utah County to the Great Salt Lake and state, county and city planners and volunteers have been working for years to develop not just the Parkway along the river but the boat ramps. It’s really a great experience to boat during the fall, to leaf peep along the waterway and see nature first hand rather than through your car window. For more info on ramps: slc.gov/parks/Jordan-river-boat-access.


With the cost of utilities rising more homeowners are considering converting to solar to get free energy from the sun and even store some for emergencies. There are a bazillion companies out there looking to get your hard earned dollar to install their brand of solar products, some better than others.

Solar energy collection isn’t new to Utah. At 3 MW, the Buckhorn Solar Plant in Paragona is one of the newest solar installations in Utah. It has the capability to power more than 589 homes.  The Utah Red Hills Renewable Energy Park was completed in 2016. This photovoltaic project has the capacity to generate enough power to feed over 20,419 homes. Best of all, several large retailers have gone solar, including IKEA, Patagonia and Uinta Brewing Company. Our neighbor, California, has by far the greatest installed capacity of solar photovoltaic power in the U.S.

The big news for our state is that a Utah company is partnering with PacifiCorp to build the state’s biggest solar ‘farm’ with a battery storage facility smack dab in the middle of coal country! Utah’s largest farm will sit on about 3,200 acres by the tiny city of Moore in Emery County-just south of Castle Dale and Huntington. What will be known as ‘The Green River Energy Center’, the project will generate 400 megawatts from the farm and 200 megawatts from the battery storage facility. The area was chosen mainly because it’s by major transmission lines from the coal /power plants nearby and the amount of sunshine the area gets.

Unfortunately Emery County’s Lila Canyon coal mine caught fire on Sept. 20th, 2022 and experts say the flames could smolder indefinitely, which would close the mine forever. The owners will try and drill and flood the mine with water and foam because the Fed’s won’t let anyone go down into the mine while it’s on fire. This sucks for Rocky Mountain Power, as the two largest power plants in Emery County have now lost access to one of their biggest coal suppliers. The high quality of Utah’s coal is highly desirable not just in Utah but is shipped around the world. The best quality coal is found in Wyoming-the nation’s leading coal producer since 1986. Our neighbors provide @40% of the country’s coal through the top 10 mines in the cowboy country of Powder River Basin. They too are developing solar alternatives, as Wyoming now has it’s first solar project, “Sweetwater”, in Green Giver, Wyoming. It’s expected to generate enough clean energy to power 12,000 homes per year.

If you want to get more information on solar company/providers: https://www.energysage.com/local-data/solar-companies/ut/?rc=seia

This website is a gem of information, from the history of solar policies in Utah to state government energy programs, energy-saving strategies, the State Solar Policy, solar installers and solar companies, energy statistics, solar incentives and rebates and up-to-date pricing information. You can actually search other states in the same website. Do be careful in researching solar options-there are unfortunately many scammer’s greedy for your money!


Data: nsenergybusiness.com