All posts tagged utah architect

Meet Our Team: Brittany White Johnson, Principal Architect

You’ve decided to hire an Architect for your upcoming project – but who do you choose? Because the project will not only be a financial investment, but also an investment of your time, it’s important to find someone who will be a good fit for both your project and you as an individual or business owner. 

If you have a project coming up, we encourage you to schedule a no-obligation consultation with our team to find out if Trio Design would be a good fit. 

In the meantime, read on to get to know Brittany White Johnson, our Principal Architect! 

Brittany White Johnson, Principal Architect


Having grown up in Utah, Brittany White Johnson always felt a strong connection to the desert and mountains that surrounded her. When she is not in the office, she enjoys getting out into nature with her husband, four adorable children and their dogs.

Brittany strongly believes that in design, it is important to respect the natural environment as a finite resource. When she earned her Masters Degree from the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Utah, she knew she wanted to use her work to create a meaningful connection between the built and natural worlds. 

Today, that is exactly what she does! Brittany founded Trio Design as a woman-owned business in 2014, and has specialized in environmentally-friendly design ever since. She loves renovating existing buildings whenever possible, and works to incorporate sustainable practices into each project she takes on. These practices include paying attention to site orientation, selecting sustainably-sourced building materials, and using natural ventilation when possible.

A 5-Minute Interview With Brittany White Johnson:

What is your favorite part about being an Architect?

“I love the problem-solving aspect. My favorite part is the beginning of a project, when a client presents their problem or need, and I can solve that in a creative way. I am most at ease with a clean desk, a blank sheet of paper and pen, and a swirl of solutions in my mind.”

What has been your most memorable project so far?

“The most memorable so far had a fair amount of problem-solving. It was an adaptive reuse project – an outdated office building with a parking garage. It was in a great location, and we were able to help the new owner transform the space into a beautiful dance studio. It really gave the building new life! It’s been fun to see a space so well enjoyed, when it had been in a position where a new owner easily could have demolished and replaced it instead.”

When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time? 

“I love to spend time with my family, traveling and exploring. We love to spend time in Utah’s beautiful weather and landscape, and I’ve always been drawn to the desert and the mountains. I also have a small farm at home, and usually end up spending time wrangling chickens or children on the weekends.”

Want to work with Brittany on your upcoming project? Call 801-417-9951 or send her a message to get started!

Interior Architecture: Setting The Tone For Interior Design

If you’re like us, you may be known for the occasional HGTV binge-watching session…which means you’re familiar with what a difference great interior design can make! Before your very eyes, homes have been completely transformed on shows like Love It Or List It, Flip or Flop and our favorite, Fixer Upper. You have watched as designers change the color palette, add textures, and mindfully selected furniture and artwork to create a feeling that wasn’t there before. And you have witnessed Chip and Joanna turn a sad, decrepit nightmare home into a luxurious farmhouse dream!


But there’s something else happening behind the scenes… these homes aren’t only transformed by interior design. Most of the time, there are significant changes made to the interior architecture.

Interior Architecture sets the tone for interior design.

Photo: Michael Browning

So what is interior architecture? 


As with architects and designers, the lines between interior architecture and interior design are sometimes blurred, creating confusion as to what each term actually is. 


We like to think of interior architecture as the blank canvas for interior design. Before you start decorating, you need to have a safe and structurally sound space to decorate in, right?


Think of the static elements of a room as the interior architecture.


If you removed all of the furniture, artwork, and fixtures like door handles, knobs, faucets, etc., what would be left? The flooring, walls, ceiling, and windows. Anything permanent within a space is part of the interior architecture.

When you remove the non-static elements of a space, you are left with the elements of interior architecture.

Photo: Steven Ungermann


The way a space functions is also part of interior architecture.


Is there an open-concept? How do you navigate from one room to the other? Where are the bathrooms located? If the building is an office, can you efficiently go back and forth between the most commonly utilized rooms? And if the building is a home, are you going to be able to hear family members in the living room as you try to sleep in the master bedroom? 


Carefully planning a space around how it will actually be used is important to the quality of the building, and the enjoyment of those working or living in it. 

The best Interior Architect will take the way a space is actually used into consideration when designing and planning the space.

Photo: Michael Browning


Everything behind the walls is all part of interior architecture, too.


How does the plumbing run through the walls? What about the electric wires? A trained and board-certified Architect will determine the best placement for each of these, helping you avoid maintenance issues in the future.


All of these are examples of how interior architecture sets the tone for interior design. The two go hand-in-hand, but paying attention to the interior architecture creates the foundation for a safe, functional space.

Interior Architecture sets the tone for interior design by creating lines, angles, and a functional floorplan.

Photo: Michael Browning

At Trio Design, we believe the best architecture makes the lives of building users easier. In the initial consultation, we take time to get to know our clients and gain an understanding of what it is they want out of their space. Then, we put our knowledge and experience into action, creating a strategic plan to bring that dream to life.

Do you have dreams for an interior remodel? Let’s chat about it! Our team of licensed Architects can help create a plan to bring those dreams into reality. Schedule a free consultation today!

Why You Should Build in the Silicon Slopes

Like Silicon Valley in California, Utah’s Silicon Slopes region has long been a hub for business, especially tech startups. However, unlike Silicon Valley, the Silicon Slopes have remained an affordable place to live compared to most US cities. With local residential and commercial real estate both increasing in value, now is a great time to invest in this growing market by building your home or business here.

The "Silicon Slopes" region includes the metropolitan area from Salt Lake City to Provo, Utah. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Silicon Slopes is the metropolitan area from business-friendly Salt Lake City, Utah to Provo, Utah. (Photo: Shutterstock)

You’ve heard it before – location, location, location! 

Regardless of the purpose that a building serves, location matters. If it’s a business you’re starting, location defines who your customers are, and how easily they can get to you. If it’s your home, the area in which you build is going to shape your entire lifestyle. Your commute to work, your children’s schools, and your proximity to the things you love to do; like shopping and dining in the city, or exploring the great outdoors, are all determined by location. 

Of course, constructing a building is also a considerable investment. Location heavily influences the overall value of your building, so where you choose to build is a significant financial decision, too. When well-planned and executed by an experienced professional team, constructing a new home or commercial building can bring you a return on investment in the future.

If you are on the hunt for the best place to construct a building right now, look no further than the Silicon Slopes. 

With close proximity to both the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Brigham Young University in Provo, the Silicon Slopes region is home to a well-educated talent pool

The Silicon Slopes sit between two highly rated universities, the University of Utah in Salt Lake, and Brigham Young University in Provo. (Photo: Parker Gibbons via Unsplash)

Where are the Silicon Slopes?

A relatively new term, the “Silicon Slopes” region is defined as the metropolitan area stretching from Salt Lake City to Provo, the two biggest cities in Utah. 

Book-ended by the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Brigham Young University in Provo, the Silicon Slopes region produces an extraordinary quantity of talent. These new graduates are eager to grow their careers within the startup community. Many businesses, including Amazon, have sited Utah’s extensive talent pool as a reason for setting up shop in the Silicon Slopes.

We can confidently tell you that Utah, specifically the Silicon Slopes region, is a fantastic place to invest. 

Why, you ask? Let’s dive in:

The Silicon Slopes region is growing quickly, and by 2065 will have added 2.5 million new residents.

By 2065, it is anticipated that the Silicon Slopes region will have added 2.5 million new residents.

The Silicon Slopes area is growing incredibly fast.

Utah’s population is growing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the country, and the value of both commercial and residential real estate is increasing right along with it. 

By 2065, Envision Utah predicts the Silicon Slopes will have 2.5 million new residents. To find out what is bringing so many people here, we reached out to our friend and local real estate expert, Alicia Holdaway. The owner of Sherpa Solution, Alicia is a licensed Realtor with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty and currently serves as President-Elect on the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. When it comes to Utah’s real estate market, she knows her stuff!

About Utah’s Population Growth

First and foremost, we asked her what’s bringing all of these people to Utah. It turns out that the state has always been one of the top states for population growth. Until recently, about 70% of Utah’s growth had been coming from “internal growth” – AKA, children of existing Utah residents’ growing up and buying houses. The other 30% was “external growth,” people moving in from out of state. 

This number is on the rise; however, as companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Adobe have begun to recognize Utah’s business-friendly environment. These companies have been relocating and building second headquarters here, joining the ranks of Utah-born companies like Ancestry, Overstock, Pluralsight, and Qualtrics (among others). 

The influx of large companies has brought a massive number of new jobs to the area, and this job growth has contributed to a rapidly appreciating housing market. In the last year alone, Salt Lake County homeowners saw an average appreciation of 6.9%, and in Utah County, 6.7%.*

With Silicon Slopes home values rising quickly, now is a great time to invest in building a custom home.

With home values climbing, now is a good time to invest in building in the Silicon Slopes. In many cases, equity is already earned by the completion of construction. (Photo: Shutterstock)

What this growth means for those building homes:

With appreciation rates like this, and the length of time it typically takes to build a house, “new owners often move in with equity already gained,” Alicia pointed out.

When you build a home from scratch with an architect, 9-12 months is typical; however, it always depends on the scope of your project. Our Trio Design team would be happy to provide you with an estimated timeframe; please reach out to chat about your upcoming project! 

Alicia also gave us a hint at where we might see the most growth in the coming years:

“Utah County is slated to increase the most over the next ten years since that is where the developable land is, and Bluffdale specifically is to see some great appreciation over the next 5-10 years as the state prison relocates and that land gets redeveloped.”

Residential homes aren't the only buildings increasing in value; there is also high demand for commercial office space, making now a good time to invest in commercial construction as well.

Commercial buildings in the Silicon Slopes are increasing in value as well. (Photo: Shutterstock)

And for those building commercially:

According to a recent report released by CBRE, which details Utah’s commercial real estate outlook, all commercial industries performed well in 2018. The report notes that there is a strong demand for office space, in particular, citing record-high absorption rates (the rate at which a new office building is leased), and low vacancies. In the same report, CBRE also predicts an increase in commercial rents. 

From city life with great shopping, dining, and entertainment options to endless outdoor adventures, the Silicon Slopes have it all.

Salt Lake City offers a business-friendly environment with easy access to a multitude of outdoor adventures. (Photo: Sherpa Solution)

Ready to join the Silicon Slopes? 

Don’t walk, run! In the grand scheme of things, the Silicon Slopes is still in its infancy – but as they say about all infants, it will grow right before your eyes, and if you blink, you’ll miss it. Now is the time to set the foundation for a solid return on investment. 

As if that isn’t enough motivation, mortgage interest rates are the lowest they have been in three years. In most cases, your rate can’t be secured until construction is close to being completed; which means the sooner you start building, the better your interest rate will be. 

With this urgency, however, it’s important to avoid cutting corners in the construction process. When building a completely custom home or commercial structure, we cannot stress how valuable it is to have someone in your corner to keep the builder and their sub-contractors accountable for quality work. Your team of professionals should include a licensed, experienced Architect who can design the structurally-sound, up-to-code building of your dreams, and a knowledgeable Realtor who can help you find the perfect location and determine the market value of your completed building. 

At Trio Design, we are committed to providing high quality, client-focused service from project inception to completion. We’re with you every step of the way, helping you navigate everything from the design to the permitting process, and keeping a close eye on the construction of your building. To learn more about our project management services, please contact us!

master bathroom before + after

The Master Bath at Our House with the Red Barn, was a little outdated… to say the least.  It was a 3/4 bath, with wall to wall pink carpet and open to the rest of the master bathroom.  The shower + toilet room (also carpeted) in all of it’s musty mildew-y glory was screaming for help!

In order to reduce costs, we tried to keep the existing plumbing where it was.  With somewhat limited options for growth to improve efficiency, we chose to leave the  shower and toilet in place and forego a private toilet room, we were able to relocate the closets to add a free standing tub to upgrade the space (always considering resale value) to a full bath.  We implemented a dark color materials palette on white walls that played on variations of the same shape and with different sheen finishes.  Start scrollin’ now for the, the before + during & after.


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