New WRJ Design Showroom Opens for Appointments in Jackson Hole

WRJ Design’s new WRJ Rustic showroom includes such unique pieces as a wooden Asian trough used as table centerpiece and a vintage Philadelphia birdhouse shown atop a rusted metal wine rack.

WRJ Design’s new WRJ Rustic showroom includes such unique pieces as a wooden Asian trough used as table centerpiece and a vintage Philadelphia birdhouse shown atop a rusted metal wine rack.

Whether it’s to browse sumptuous samples of exclusively-carried luxury brand lines or to mingle with artists during the annual Palates & Palettes Fall Arts Festival event, our team has always admired WRJ Design’s downtown showroom space. Blending design inspiration with singularly spectacular retail selections, the showroom is a top destination for anyone who is designing, buying, or decorating a home. And now, much to the excitement of these same interior aficionados, WRJ has announced the opening of a new showroom–WRJ Rustic. This expanded space will house antiques, collectibles and rustic design, providing another beautiful venue to absorb the freshest takes on designing for our valley, all while sparking inspiration that truly crosses the globe. Learn more below:

WRJ Design of Jackson Hole has expanded its showroom space with the addition of WRJ Rustic, an additional showroom highlighting antiques, collectibles and more “rustic” design elements and ideas, says WRJ Design CEO Rush Jenkins. WRJ Rustic is now open by appointment.

“Our clients enjoy both contemporary and rustic design – and everything in between,” says Jenkins. “We’ve created the new showroom with a more rustic flavor, giving focus to antiques and collectibles from all over the world – Europe, Asia, the U.S., Turkey and Morocco.” Pieces currently for sale in the recently completed showroom can range from the whimsical – a 20th century German gerbil cage that mimics European houses – to the unusual and unexpected – an industrial-looking rusted metal grid wine rack and a clean-lined Philadelphia birdhouse with “window” detailing on either end and a rich patina.

“Some of our one-of-a kind pieces include wooden troughs from Asia that make wonderful centerpieces on a table, vintage cabinets from the Adirondacks, and very special hand carved stags with original antlers from the late 18th-/early 19th-century royal hunting lodge of the Prince and Princess of Belgium,” says Jenkins.

“Rustic interpretation is in the eye of the beholder,” explains WRJ Design COO Klaus Baer. “For WRJ, we interpret rustic as having clean lines, and not restricted to the styles of the American West. Our take is more global, with both European and American mountain influences – and then incorporating the unique and textural rustic pieces into contemporary clean design.”

The WRJ Showroom in Jackson is known for displaying the work of a carefully curated selection of artists, with a focus on local work. WRJ Rustic will show the work of three artists new to WRJ, whose work offered an intriguing counterpoint to the new showroom’s rustic style: Montana artist Julie Chapman and Havoc and Laura Hendricks of Salt Lake City.

WRJ Rustic is open by appointment only; appointments can be made at the WRJ Showroom, 30 S. King Street, or by phone at 307-200-4881.

About WRJ Design:

Headquartered in Jackson, Wyoming, WRJ Design imparts the special serenity of its local Teton landscape to interior designs in Jackson Hole and across the country. Begun out of a passion for great design by Rush Jenkins and Klaus Baer, WRJ creates experiences and environments through its designs, whether for interiors or exhibitions, that provide timeless reflections of the owners or collectors. WRJ’s exhibition designs for titans of philanthropy, fashion, music and politics offer insight into the lives of these luminaries as they showcase the objects they loved. For more information visit www.wrjdesign.com.

That’s A Wrap! Another Successful Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes

Shooting Star Elegance dining room.For two days of banner fall weather–crisp, blazing with color, and dappled with ideal late season sunshine–troupes of intrigued homeowners, art lovers, and Fall Arts Fest attendees entered the foyers of some of Jackson Hole’s most elegant residences, looked up to the ceilings, and said, “Aaaahhhh.” It’s hard not to, after all, when you encounter some of the valley’s most dazzling residential design.

It was the second annual Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes, hosted by our team at Homestead Magazine, and another runaway success. This time, four generous homeowners opened the doors of their residences to benefit local charities, while the teams of designers, architects, and artisans associated with each one were present to welcome every guest. Couples and groups of friends hailing from Cincinnati, the Bay area, the East Coast, and beyond all remarked on the unique opportunity to see such a variety of homes in an equally diverse variety of valley settings.

JH Builders at the River Meadows Retreat

The self-guided tours could begin and end anywhere, and could also be spread over two days. Many began with the European-reminiscent stonework and glass breezeways of the Shooting Star Elegance property, whose glorious indoor/outdoor living spaces and water feature provide a tranquil escape nestled at the base of Rendezvous Mountain. From there, a natural next stop proved to be the the artistic and superlatively appointed Teton Pines Sanctuary, a family home in one of the Clusters bordered by serene aspen groves and completed with a collection of world-class artwork. The next two stops took guests further into different habitats of the valley, from wooded National Forest-bordered land at the River Meadows Retreat to a snaking drive through the Snake River Canyon and its glowing mountain maples to the Martin Creek Cabin. River Meadows meant a spectacular peek inside a custom-constructed Swedish Cope log home, while the Cabin mixed fresh alpine styling with a peaceful creek-front setting at the Snake River Sporting Club.

Beyond the awe-inspiring settings, furnishings, fixtures, and design elements, however, the real draw of the Showcase events is the way they allow tour guests to meet and mingle with our area’s hardworking, visionary design professionals. It’s also a pleasure for the same professionals to interface with the local community and potentially interested new clients.

Rush Jenkins, who along with his partner Klaus Baer at WRJ Design decorated both the Martin Creek Cabin and Teton Pines Sanctuary, spoke to the singular character of the event.

“It was WRJ’s pleasure to participate in the 2014 Showcase of Homes, hosted by Homestead Magazine. We are grateful to our clients for sharing their homes with the public, which allowed some of our work to be seen for the first time. Having the opportunity to collaborate with professionals and experts in their field was a great honor.”

It is, indeed, rare to leave the showroom and enter spaces that have been envisioned, executed, and decorated by local artisans–to experience them in their fullness is a fantastic opportunity. The conversations between patrons and professionals, however, are what really set the Showcase apart. “The Showcase of Homes was an excellent event for Snake River Sporting Club and for Re/Max Obsidian Real Estate,” noted Fred Harness of the Martin Creek Cabin, “we’ve had several follow-up communications with new clients wanting more details on the next phase of new homes we are building. Definitely a success!”

Throughout each self-guided tour, guests had the chance to get their questions answered. For instance, tracking down the rich green soapstone used in the River Meadows Retreat, or learning about how the smoothly curved walls in the Shooting Star home were crafted by Big D Signature.

While nibbling treats and sipping from glasses of wine, these conversations continued throughout the day, as multiple professionals emceed each home. “It’s great to see the finished product and the excitement of people’s reactions and how they come together to experience our completed homes, from the old materials to the contemporary styles,” said Jon Eaton of Big D. This sentiment was echoed John D. Korhonen, an architect with Ellis Nunn & Associates, who touched on the “positive feedback and conversation,” while Andrew Miller of JH Builders mentioned that “it was great to meet a variety of people from all over the country.”

The generosity of the homeowners in both opening their spaces to the public eye and in selecting the four charity beneficiaries for ticket sales–PAWS JH, The Yellowstone Foundation, Community Resource Center, and Fire Services/EMS–truly capped the event’s success. As Megan Jenkins, who helped organize Showcase, said, “It really is the perfect way to enjoy a great day, see the valley, meet the artisans behind each project, and best of all, give back to the community.”

We hope to see you at the Showcase of Homes during the Fall Arts Festival next year! Until then, stay tuned by subscribing to our blog, where we update our readers regarding interesting artistic happenings and feature ongoing profiles of Jackson Hole’s design professionals.

Buzz is Building for the Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes!

Check out this press release from the Fall Arts Festival about our upcoming event:

Showcase of Homes Tour Reveals the Art of Living Spaces in Jackson
Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival event opens doors on exclusive homes and ranches

Fall Arts Fest Showcase of Homes

“Shooting Star Elegance” (left) and “River Meadows Retreat” (right) are two of the homes to be featured in the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival’s Showcase of Homes Tour.

Jackson, Wyoming – August 22, 2014 – The art of Jackson Hole home design has become an integral part of the annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, offering visitors the opportunity to peek behind usually closed doors both of mountain modern Jackson, Wyo., residences and of surrounding historic ranches. The Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes, September 12 and 13, provides a chance to experience the beautiful craftsmanship and unique architectural designs of local homes – including firsthand discussions with the professionals who designed and built them – while Historic Ranch Tours on September 6 offers the chance to experience Jackson Hole’s cowboy culture of old while exploring the beautiful country properties.

“Visitors and locals alike are curious to get an insider’s view of some of Jackson Hole’s fabulous homes and ranches,” says Maureen Murphy, director of special events for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, “so these ‘art of the home’ tours have been a popular addition to our annual line-up of Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival events.”

The first home on the Showcase of Homes tour is Shooting Star Elegance, located at the base of Rendezvous Mountain and combining old world style with modern appointments of the highest level. Next is the thoughtfully designed 5,515-square-foot “cabin in the woods” known as the River Meadows Retreat. The tour will also visit Martin Creek Cabin, located in the private Snake River Sporting Club, where the river runs through it.

Now in its second year, the Showcase of Homes tour gives its guests the opportunity to see a variety of imaginative Jackson residential design. More than just a walk-through, the tour also includes face-to-face interaction with the designers, architects and creative professionals responsible for some of the most exclusive and artistic homes in Jackson Hole. Hosted by Homestead Magazine, the Showcase tour is available Sept. 12 and 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $75, available at WRJ Design Showroom at 30 S. King St., or online via Homestead Magazine. Ticket proceeds are donated to local charities chosen by the participating homeowners. The tour is limited to 250 tickets so purchase early; this event typically sells out.

Those interested in architecture and design dating back to Jackson Hole’s early days will enjoy the Historic Ranch Tour, where guests will tour historical valley ranches while getting a taste of the area’s cowboy heritage with real cowboys, Wild West entertainment, and an old-fashioned Western barbecue. Hosted by Mountain Living magazine, the tour leaves at 2 p.m. from Home Ranch Parking Lot on the corner of Cache and Gill Streets in Jackson. Tickets are $50, available from the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. Limited seats are available so advance reservations are required.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival continues to secure Jackson’s place as a leading cultural destination for collectors, art lovers, and families alike. The 10-day event presented by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce brings a signature mix of visual, contemporary, culinary, Western, landscape, wildlife and Native American arts to Jackson, Wyo., September 3 – 14, 2014. Along with the Showcase of Homes tour, The Fall Arts Festival offers visitors more than 50 family-friendly events, many of them free. Visit the festival online at http://www.jacksonholechamber.com/fall_arts_festival/ for a full calendar of events.

Conveniently located just 20 minutes from the Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson is served by major airlines including Delta, United, American and SkyWest. Reservation information for Jackson’s numerous hotels, as well as a complete schedule of Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival events can be found at www.jacksonholechamber.com. For additional information, contact Maureen Murphy at Jackson Hole Chamber, 307.733.3316.

Tips for Building Green in Jackson Hole

Local contractors B&B Builders give Homestead some input.

Founded by brothers Ben and Brent Johnson in 1999, B&B Builders has had its hands (or tools) in many local projects over the intervening 15 years. Involved in building custom homes for the luxury and vacation markets in Jackson Hole and other areas of the Intermountain West, years of experience have honed the partners’ knowledge of local homeowner concerns and desires.Cowboy 2 05

Among these is a concern for green homebuilding. Always an eco-conscious pocket of the West, many Jackson Hole homeowners bring the same conscientiousness to their building plans when approaching a home or remodeling project. However, green building in Jackson Hole is not without its challenges. How to adequately heat a home in our harsh winters? What about the preference for facing buildings away from the sun and towards the Tetons? The views are, quite rightfully, the building focus of many local residences.

Ben Johnson of B&B Builders

Ben Johnson of B&B Builders

Ben Johnson, the Vice President of B&B Builders, agrees that “extreme winter conditions can be a challenge” for homeowners hoping to go green, although the trifecta of a good “architect, builder, and subcontractors” can go a long way in ameliorating these challenges. Energy efficient buildings are cited as money-savers, but Johnson cautions that prospective homeowners should educate themselves as to the cost upfront. An informative sit-down with your architect and builder beforehand may help mitigate any possible cases of sticker shock.

“Some ‘green’ building practices can also be cost efficient,” he says “however, many can result in much higher expenses, which should be considered. We often have clients interested in going “green” who are extremely disappointed when they see the cost difference.”

Striking the correct balance between desired sustainability and efficiency with building costs and homeowner needs can indeed be tricky. What else should homeowners consider when dreaming up the ideal green home or remodel?

Get Familiar with LEED
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This rigorous certification system was put in place by the U.S. Green Building Council, and surveys homes on 8 different factors before granting a rating. Browsing the USGBC rating system can be an effective way to discover green building avenues, even without the need to attain accreditation.

Cowboy 2 6

As a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council themselves, B&B Builders is quite informed on the topic of constructing with energy efficiency.

Arranging a Site
Situational concerns are especially significant in Jackson Hole, where homes are often constructed on bluffs or in areas that also constitute wildlife migration corridors. Considering these factors when choosing how to situate a home is key, as is taking into account the possible impacts of erosion. One way to combat this problem is to landscape with native plants that don’t require extensive watering. As forest fire danger is also a perennial concern for local homeowners, fire-safe landscaping presents a proactive approach to safeguarding home and hearth.

Exterior of a home constructed by B&B Builders.

Exterior of a home constructed by B&B Builders.

Check the Source
The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit that oversees the sustainability of the wood that is used in building projects. As wood construction is a foundation of local construction, paying attention to where timber is sourced can certainly mean a greener home. Reclaimed, local, or certified woods all meet the LEED standards. Many local builders and sub-contractors use Douglas Fir, as well as reclaimed hardwoods to construct everything from floors to window frames. Sealed concrete and even bamboo can also meet the criteria for greenness.

Lowering Consumption
Homes constructed to utilize energy-saving lightbulbs in kitchens, or outfitted with low-flow showerheads and toilets in bathrooms are less wasteful of energy and water—this is also one of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to go green. Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can include these greener substitutions. In the case of an extensive renovation, however, Johnson urges “if possible” to “arrange to live somewhere else during the remodel.”

Hansen 16The Jackson Hole Energy Sustainability Project has some tips of its own for local residents and prospective residents.

Clean Air
Living in a green home isn’t simply about how your builders build or how you and your household creatively think through ways to cut down on usage. It’s also about the air you breathe. LEED certified buildings must meet certain standards of non-toxicity, which comes down to painting and finishing with water-based stains, paints, and sealers. Natural vs. synthetic carpets also contribute to low toxicity around the home, as do proper ventilation and the usage of air filters. As Jackson Hole’s climate is already so dry, mold and the moisture levels of indoor areas are of lesser concern than they are in other regions of the United States.

Cowboy 2 04Ben Johnson affirms that while classic “rustic mountain” styles remain a mainstay of local home projects, “rustic contemporary” is gaining a foothold. As local homeowners hope to embrace green building practices and modern modes of construction, a team of expert builders, architects, and designers is key to outline the project, address the scope of the home, and highlight the newest innovations of the practice.

More than a temporary trend, green building is here to stay in the valley.

(all images provided by B&B Builders)

2013 Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes: Recap

This year as part of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, Homestead Magazine’s Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes presented something unique: the chance for patrons to leave the gallery space for the home interior space. In recognition of the vibrant architectural, design, and building community of the valley, the Showcase offered ticket holders an intimate glimpse into every aspect of three magnificent local homes, and the opportunity to interface directly with the design professionals who made it so.

From airy modern to warmly-textured western to updated lodge luxury, the three featured properties—Gros Ventre Overlook, Owl Creek Elk Refuge, and Tucker Ranch Retreat—meant a full sampling of the latest in architectural and design innovation. “We loved the fact that all three houses were very different and all three spectacular!” noted one guest. Spaced over two glorious fall days in Jackson Hole, 200 guests experienced a treasure hunt of a day with rambles through “dream homes” that are usually sealed to the public, hors d’oeuvres, and most importantly, the chance to enjoy face-to-face conversations with premier valley artisans in the fields of architecture, building, and interior and exterior design.

The Showcase of Homes was successful in raising $9000 for local charities selected by the generous homeowners that opened up their doors, including The Grand Teton National Park Foundation, Center for the Arts, and JH Land Trust. Each organization will also receive a matching grant through the Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities. Event organizer Megan Jenkins counted the event a resounding success based on “the enthusiasm showed for each project by all of the attendees” and the “opportunity for people to have one-on-one conversations with the design professionals.  You could really appreciate the work and craftsmanship of each home.  People really had a great time and were extremely complimentary. ”  She hopes that the attendees were inspired and motivated to try “innovative things with their own spaces.”

This was echoed by multiple guests, who indicated that they attended precisely to network with design professionals and were looking forward to following up with the artisans who designed, built, or furnished the homes they visited during the tour. One noted the “informative,” “friendly,” and “welcoming” aspect of the Showcase, while another enthused, “I loved seeing the exquisite houses and having all of the builders, designers and others present to answer questions.”

Participating design professionals were able to connect with patrons in the context of their own design schemes and craftsmanship, illuminating their work in new ways. “It really is rewarding to have great clients who let you show off their home and attendees who comment on what a great job we all did,” noted Sharon Nunn, Vice-President of Ellis Nunn & Associates, Inc., whose firm designed the Owl Creek Refuge. “I look forward to doing it again next year.”

Bradley Suske of The Bradley Company—landscaping firm for the Tucker Rancher Retreat—felt similarly. “I thought it was an amazing experience for me,” he said. “I really felt like I was in my element.”

Megan Jenkins was pleasantly surprised at “how excited people were to be able to tour some of the masterpieces that are in this valley.” The three homes on the self-guided Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes tour allowed a multi-layered peek into all the creativity afoot in the Intermountain West, and the Renaissance in western style being forged by our singular community of creators, drafters, and craftspeople. With the canvas of the Tetons as its backdrop, Jackson Hole’s creative identity continues to evolve, and these exciting new properties are on the vanguard of it all.

Our mission at Homestead Magazine is to highlight Jackson Hole’s top-notch residential architecture and design community for local homeowners and visitors. Next year, we hope you’ll join us to tour one-of-a-kind homes, learn the ins and outs of the design process, and be inspired by the myriad possibilities of your own spaces.

Modern Shape, Western Substance at WRJ Design Associates

WRJ Design - Ashley Tutor

WRJ Design Principal Rush Jenkins and artist Ashley Tudor

What sets the aesthetic of the Jackson Hole homeowner apart? It wells from the setting: a love of rustic Western textures melded with the contemporary. Sleek, sharp lines that simultaneously pay tribute to the legacy of place and the outside world.

This blend of collectors with a discerning eye for the au courant alongside a reverence for the wilderness led San Francisco based artist and author Ashley Tudor to mark a mental bull’s eye over the town of Jackson as she considered where next to place her work. A contact connected her to WRJ Design Associates and its dynamic collecting and design team of Rush Jenkins and Klaus Baer – turns out, the admiration was mutual. Both parties knew her work would be a perfect fit for, in Tudor’s words, WRJ’s “modern rustic chic aesthetic.”

Tudor specializes in bronze European game mounts that fuse stylized contours and a high gloss finish with the time-honored tradition of interior display. At home in a show room that also features trophy antlers from the collection of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Tudor’s mounts provide a new twist on a classic collector’s object. More importantly, she hopes her work adds to an ongoing conversation between man and nature, and provokes examination of our participation in a food chain that has become increasingly mechanized.

Ashley Tudor poses with an attendee of the WRJ Design Associates opening

Ashley Tudor poses with an attendee of the opening and one of her pieces — a bronze impala.

During the Wednesday night reception hosted by WRJ, Tudor described her own evolution from consumer to active participant in the system of supply and demand. Galvanized by her first elk hunt in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness, Tudor says she “became connected to [her] food in a new way.” A field-to-table chef as well as the author of two books on the benefits of a paleo diet, Tudor views her art as a means to honor the creatures that quite literally add to our lives. “More than pretty pieces that hang on the wall,” the elk, deer, and even African impala that she memorializes in bronze casts are intended to impart just a little of the “soul of pieces and where they came from,” even as they reflect the viewer, caught in the lustrous glow of a high art skull.

The process of turning harvested game into the mounts pictured here is an arduous one to say the least. Beginning with a stripped skull, Tudor adds braces for the original horns before creating a lost-cast wax mold, adding several layers of plaster, and finally dipping the skull in molten bronze. At this point, the individual bronze pieces are painstakingly welded back together before Tudor polishes them manually with pass after pass of a polishing wheel. Then, the animal’s natural horns are re-attached, and Viola! A mount is born.
Elk_Ashley_Tudor

The materials of each mount are an appropriate metaphor for this “collaboration between man and nature.” Bronze and modern metallurgy sinuously curve over nature’s silhouette – rather than overpower nature with ornate decoration, the spare, radiant pieces exhibit “a beauty that magnifies both.” Jackson Hole’s own focus on sharing space with wildlife and gamesmanship means that many a local collector’s interest is likely to be piqued by the thought of introducing a Tudor piece into the intimate exhibition space of the home.

How best to feature a work of art such as Tudor’s? Blair Friedeman of WRJ Design Associates sees the mounts as “very impacting” on their own, and a fantastic focal point for a wall or table space. Tudor also suggests them as accent pieces above the fireplace—a nod to the custom of European mount display—and has even seen homeowners get creative and feature her smaller works as bookends.

A Tudor elk mount affixed over a fireplace at WRJ Design Associates Showroom in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

A Tudor elk mount affixed over a fireplace.

She takes commissions from avid hunters hoping to venerate their trophies in more unique ways, and is scheming to create new whitetail deer and ram’s head pieces for exhibition at WRJ. As has become customary for Tudor, the new works would be a nod to the rootedness of place, an inescapable aspect of owning property in a valley as breathtaking as our own.

Whatever their placement within an interior space, Ashley’s work stands out as an arbiter of the interior style favored by WRJ Design Associates and the Jackson homeowner at large. The mounts’ blend of sophisticated styling within a tradition that honors the great outdoors means objects that are, indeed, much more than a pretty face.

For inquiries on Ashley’s pieces, please contact WRJ Design Associates at 307.200.4881 or http://www.wrjassociates.com.

With a Little Paint, This Timber Frame Home Feels Fresh

Timber frame homes seem to be universal. They’re practically the standard here in rustic Jackson Hole where you can’t walk up a flight of stairs without them being made of knotty pine. [Read more…]