Coats pulled tight against the cold, a crowd gathered behind a beautiful two-story historic home in early February of this year to celebrate the grand opening of Encircle’s second LGBTQ+ resource center, located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Constructed in 1891, the home has functioned as a residence, an executive guesthouse, and most recently, a law firm. Designers Chase Voekler and Paul Tew worked with Encircle Chief Development Officer Landon Creer to conceptualize, design and build the new space. Keeping the core mission of Encircle in their hearts and minds, Voelker and Tew also strived to create a premium environment that parents and families would feel comfortable coming to as well.
As guests enter the foyer, an elegant custom mural designed using traditional Utah flora and fauna motifs by Salt Lake City-based, internationally known artist Matt Van Der Steen greets them, framing the space. Similarly, the inspiration for many of the design details throughout the home derives from the process of planting and nurturing both individual flowers and a bountiful garden. Lighting, colors, materials and finishes were selected to echo metamorphosis and growth—with hopes that this space will provide an environment that nourishes the young people, families and community who visit and experience Encircle.
The Heart of the House
The Kitchen was designed as a place for everyone to gather around, bake cookies (and eat a few), and for LGBTQ+ youth to feel like this is a place that they feel comfortable calling home.
Pictured in the Parlour, crown moulding of interlocking circles, designed by Utah artist Eric Warner, suggest the interconnectivity of the family and community in support of LGBTQ+ youth.
Encircle provides world-class affirming therapy for LGBTQ+ youth and their families. The John Williams Encircle Home has four rooms equipped to provide therapy to the hundreds of clients that Encircle sees each month.
The rooms are tastefully furnished with pieces donated from high-end furniture company Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The company’s co-founder and philanthropist, Mitchell Gold, explained his motivation for contributing to the home: “When I was a young kid, I thought that God hated me. I thought that I was a sinner and broken. And when I finally learned that I wasn’t, that’s when I began to live again.”
“I hope this house is really a beacon to the entire community and to the state and to the country, and says that LGBTQ+ kids are cherished and honored…I want [these LGBTQ+ kids] to walk in here and feel totally fine, confident and comfortable with who they are.”
Co-Founder & Philanthropist
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Home Furnishings
“This is one of the most significant projects we have ever worked on, Rarely do you have the opportunity to use all of your collective professional experience to make a difference in the world.”
“These young people need to feel as though they are worth the very best. Encircle provides an enriching environment for the LGBTQ+ youth and families who step inside its walls looking for safety.”
Before/After Photos by Rebekah Westover