Elevated Design Spotlight:
Cara Fox of The Fox Group
For nearly two decades, Cara Fox and her team at the Fox Group have been creating classical and colonial architectural masterpieces that redefine timelessness. With a focus on blending classic design with modern luxury, high-concept interior design elements, and heirloom pieces, Cara is able to create a functional and captivating living environment that stands the test of time.
From working with up-and-coming artists, to utilizing artisanal craftsmen, to only selecting the finest materials, Cara is dedicated to giving clients a lifestyle and design experience that can be passed down for generations. Renowned for her work across the United States and Europe, Cara and The Fox Group have become one of the world’s foremost experts on classical architecture and modern function, and have been featured in Martha, Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, Veranda, and HGTV.
Elevated sat down with Cara to dive into all things new (and old) in design, including the history of Fox Group, her artistic inspiration and vision, and what every home needs to dazzle the eye for years to come.
Let’s talk about the roots of The Fox Group and The Fox Shop. How did you get started and find your niche in classical and colonial architecture and design?
“…one of the world’s foremost experts on classical architecture and modern function…”
The Fox Group started 17 years ago here in Utah and it grew out of our passion for classical and colonial architecture. At the time in Utah, there really wasn’t any classical or colonial architectural design—that’s all back East. Here, it’s more mountain focused in regards to design and colors. I did a lot of traveling and spent some time in Boston, New England, and England and I fell in love with classical design. I always thought it was poignant that when I’d walk into a 500-year-old manor in England I’d think to myself, “Wow. Nothing has changed and it’s still beautiful.”
During that period, I became inspired by Bunny Williams and her traditional and classical style that reimagined design in the 1980’s, and how the homes still looked like they were completed last week. I thought to myself, “Why don’t we have more of that transcendent architectural style in Utah?” I decided to start redesigning my home—which many aspiring builders and designers do. And after that, people started coming to us to reimagine their homes as well. Eventually, our style and vision caught on. My husband, Tom, and I quit our jobs and threw ourselves headlong into building and design. The business continued to grow and develop, and with the advent of social media, especially our @the_fox_group_ account on Instagram, we started gaining national recognition. From there, we kept expanding nationally and internationally by sharing our style with the world.
To say the Fox Group creates masterpieces of architecture and interior design would be an understatement. How are you able to design homes that seamlessly connect emotionally and aesthetically with different eras?
We’re obsessed with houses. And part of that obsession as well as the growth of our business is because of a lot of self-learning.
When we started out, we read every book on classical architecture and design. We learned about balance and scale, we traveled back east to visit historical neighborhoods, homes, and saltboxes from the 1800’s. We learned about roof pitches, window placement— everything possible. After we gained the knowledge and vision, we just needed to blend a timeless design feel with modern luxury and living.
The Fox Group now also includes an incredible team of architects and co-workers all with similar passions and styles, enabling us to find a balance between aesthetics and function to make the home livable. Plus, we tailor our design concepts to each client. Some clients are willing to give up function for design and other’s are not. But we’ve also found a way to combine both elements by finding innovative ways to incorporate or downright hide modern amenities within a classical environment.
Timeless houses have timelessly been destroyed from an interior design standpoint—trends and styles come and go. How do you create an interior environment that is built to stand the test of time?
When it comes to interior design, quality is essential in standing the test of time. If you use quality elements, materials, manufacturers, and artists, you can create a timeless piece. Without quality, your space will deteriorate in a matter of 5 years. The Fox Group utilizes true artisans to bring our vision to life. Our cabinetmakers have studied under some of the most respected artists of our time—like Chris Peacock. Every piece, furnishing, and home we do is meant to last a lifetime, both aesthetically and functionally. That’s why we call them heirloom pieces. These homes and furnishings and art and materials are all meant to be passed down generation to generation. By creating quality pieces that align with our architectural and design vision, we create timelessness.
From both an aesthetic and functional standpoint, what is it about classical and colonial design that inspires you most?
What I love most is that classical design and architecture has a purpose. The homes, the living spaces, the kitchens—everything was created with purpose in mind. Real functional shutters were meant to be closed during a windstorm. Classical fireplaces were meant to heat homes and be used for cooking. Steep pitched roofs were meant to protect the home from weather. These elements weren’t decorative—they were essential. Many times with modern design, there’s no functional purpose and, often, historical meaning behind the trends. When we build or curate a home, there’s a sense of purpose behind every element we incorporate.
In order to build and curate the perfect home, one must have the emotional landscape to envision it. What experiences have defined your vision?
I’d say travel. For me, travel evokes emotion in design. The most fun I have with projects is when a client wants to use their own personal travel experiences, art collections, or collected furnishings in their design. Memories and experiences add to the collected home. And our homes are meant to evolve over time, which eventually will continue to connect future generations with their family before them.
With The Fox Shop, it’s not just about interior design—it’s also about modern comfort and convenience. What are some exciting trends, furnishings, and fixtures, you’re particularly excited about this season?
At The Fox Shop, everything we curate is made to last forever, both physically and aesthetically, because they are tied to a timeless design age. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t new trends. We want to play off trends while staying true to our vision. We offer new lighting every fall and spring, and new fabric collections with a classical twist. As for our art, we pride ourselves on seeking out and finding new and raw talent. We promote our artists and we’re constantly searching for the next big talent in the art world.
But it’s important to note that we don’t just stick to classically inspired trends, especially with art. We love to branch out and integrate modern pieces into our design schemes. A piece of art speaks differently to each person. I personally have a modern art piece in my foyer. When the bones and backdrop of a home are timeless and classic, then, from a design perspective, everything added within becomes more versatile and personal, and that results in new trends.
What are few interior design items every home needs heading into the holiday season?
We have a holiday section in The Fox Shop so there’s plenty of items to choose from that are curated for entertaining and enjoying the
season. There’s been a big jump in people developing entertainment spaces over the past year. With everyone cooped up for so long, people have been preparing their homes for visitors again. Tables, chairs, outside porches, formal 12-person formal dining rooms— people want to have people around.
But one of the best items you can add to your home for the holidays is a mirror. Place a beautiful mirror near the entry of your home and your guests will love you. People want to check on themselves and this is a hospitable way for them to freshen up while coming and going, and you get to add a beautiful piece to your home.
You’ve traveled extensively and seen beautiful homes across the world. What are some of your favorites?
I have two favorite places where I find inspiration. First is East
Hampton, New York. It’s one of our favorite places to visit and I love that it has both colonial and shingle style homes.
The second is England, specifically the Cotswolds. The area is full of charming scale and balance. The Cotswolds is the best pale to find inspiration for our architectural vision. Everything there is built on a miniature scale compared to the homes we design, but by understanding the flow, we can take that timeless architectural design and incorporate it on a larger scale for balance.
To learn more about Cara, explore projects, or shop for your home, visit www.thefoxgroup.com or follow her on Instagram @the_fox_group_