2024 Homestead Magazine


Homestead Magazine


Search Results for: elements of architecture

A Housewarming





Story By
Katy Niner

Photos By
Ed Riddell

Is contemporary intrinsically cold? That was the concern of a couple when they found an architectural masterpiece in Alta, Wyoming. Designed by skyscraper architect Richard Keating, the striking structure felt like a stretch for them, their East Coast roots and their predilection for mission-style furniture. “I thought it was absolutely gorgeous, but the house was essentially all steel, cement and glass,” one of the homeowners says.

They turned to their friend Rush Jenkins, CEO of WRJ Design, for advice. His counsel ultimately became the deciding factor in their decision to purchase the 70-acre estate.

“Our caveat was: Can modern be warm?” the homeowner says. “Rush assured us that it can be. He told us: ‘I promise you I can make your house feel like a home.’ That’s what convinced us to pursue a purchase.”

From the moment Jenkins glimpsed the house—cutting a daring silhouette above the rolling Teton Valley—he knew it would become a capstone project. Drawing on his background in both landscape architecture and interior design, he believed the residence represented a singular opportunity to design a holistic schema in communion with the setting.


“We consider every element in our design by envisioning a world that transcends the distinct components,” Jenkins says. “Everything must come together to create a calm, tranquil environment in harmony with their surroundings.”

Contextual complement

Honoring Keating’s angular architecture and its roofline reflection of the jagged Tetons, Jenkins imagined the interiors as a warm complement by channeling the wheat fields below the bold home. Also conscious of context, Keating had referenced Alta’s agrarian setting by using the corrugated metal sheathing silos and sheds to create a clean, minimalist stage for an interior vision.

Jenkins and WRJ Design Director Nida Zgjani rose to the occasion with an eloquent plan that proved worthy of the architectural statement Keating had made. Upon installation, Keating wrote Jenkins: “I wanted to relate how much I appreciate your firm’s work and the quality of interior design that the house never achieved in the prior owners’ time. … Please pass on to your team my appreciation and thanks.”

Harmony is the essence of WRJ—the foundation of our design philosophy.

Keating had sited the house in a particularly dramatic location, with endless views west and south. By his placement, the house serves as an amphitheater for nature: storms rolling in from the west, the wind whispering through the tawny waves of wheat, the fields changing hues with the seasons. “The house is immersed in the beauty of movement and seasonal change,” Jenkins says.

Thus inspired, he pulled this palette inside: the whites and grays of winter as upholstery, the wheat color from the fields as wood finishes, the azure of the endless bluebird sky as accents, the rich brown of the fertile soil as anchoring elements.


“The architecture is obviously a statement,” Jenkins says. “The interiors must communicate with the architecture, but also the landscape. All three elements must speak to each other and, through this open dialogue, achieve an overall harmony. As a designer, I consider the full circle: the architecture, the landscape, the interior. If you get that dynamic right, the house feels harmonious. Harmony is the essence of WRJ—the foundation of our design philosophy. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to have a place where you can retreat and feel nurtured.”

Graceful sanctuary

Attuned to art, Jenkins incorporated key pieces from the homeowners’ collection, including a landscape painting by their friend and Teton Valley neighbor Scott Christensen. The lustrous oil painting now lives within the entrance hall, its rich composition tying into the textured leather-and-bronze BDDW console—one of the first pieces picked for the house—and a pair of bubble sconces from Paris found at Ralph Pucci in New York. This serene vignette serves as an interior threshold, setting the tone for the rest of the house: for the majesty to unfold in the open living area, for the tranquility achieved throughout the interior. “Like the unfurling mystery of nature, the house reveals itself in moments,” Jenkins says.


Generous philanthropists, the homeowners needed living spaces capable of staging charitable events with many guests, but also cozy evenings with their family. The resulting living room flows with grace between seating and dining areas. Honoring their more traditional past, Jenkins chose several key pieces that translate the gravitas of classic furnishings into sleek shapes, such as the Holly Hunt seamless dining table in a deep walnut and the June Ho game table with its solid bronze trunk and white top.

To complement the concrete floors, Jenkins blended in gray, bamboo-silk rugs by Ralph Lauren, low-pile masterpieces that nearly disappear. Rife with such careful pairings, the home feels harmonious. “Your home is your sanctuary, the place you go to escape the troubles of the world,” Jenkins says. “Your home should rejuvenate you.”


Two enclaves, in particular, issue invitations to relax and restore. The first is the circle of Janus et Cie handwoven armchairs on the veranda, ergonomic designs that encourage sinking into (no pillows necessary). Guests can sit, sink and soak up the vista with a cup of tea or glass of wine, listening to the owls perched on the fence posts, tracing the pathway that leads to a fire pit imagined by WRJ’s COO, Klaus Baer. The other memorable moment lives inside, in the window bays Jenkins upholstered and plumed with pillows from Turkey. Loro Piana silk-and-linen drapes frame the bay, creating the perfect place to page through a book.

Luminous landscaping

Echoing WRJ’s approach, Brannon Bleggi, of Verdone Landscape Architects, set out to ground and soften the concrete, steel and glass structure without tethering its transcendent architecture. “We wanted to make it seem like it was floating in a sea of native grasses and plants, so that you see bits of the concrete poking up above, like waves lapping against a boat.” This sense of soft movement honored the structure’s form while simultaneously better integrating it with its surrounds. “The big thing was to showcase what the site had to offer,” Bleggi says.

The original overgrown shrubbery had made the house feel dark and cold, so Bleggi prioritized light. Rather than break up the geometric lines of the structure itself, he allowed filtered sunlight through aspen stands to soften the angles.


The element of water was further cultivated by revealing the brook to the south, a natural waterway previously heard but not seen. “We went in and surgically plucked out and poked holes within view of this mass of willows. We opened up peekaboo views into the brook which changed the whole liveliness of the house.”

Like WRJ, Bleggi considered texture and palette. “The native plants played well with texture, while allowing sprinkles of color to rotate throughout the seasons.”

Your home should rejuvenate you.

Such intrigue endures: Having lived in the finished home for several years now, the homeowners feel entirely at peace in the space. The warmth they hoped to see in the final product was actually achieved throughout the process. “All projects like this are fun, but there’s always a certain amount of stress involved,” the homeowner says. “This project turned out to be just fun. Rush and Klaus removed the stress for us.”


Timeless East Jackson Mountain Retreat






Story By
Kirsten Corbett

Photos By
David Agnello

Settled on a picturesque hill in East Jackson, the Hoover residence blends a mountain lodge with urban convenience, modern lines with a rustic timber-beam structure, and indoor comfort with nearby wilderness. It’s the perfect in-town retreat for a mountain-inspired family.

A hand-selected team composed of Enclosure Studio, Trauner Fay Designs, New West Building Company and Frederick Landscaping contributed its unique talents and finest work to produce this meticulously crafted home.

While appearing as one property from the street, the structure cleverly conceals a dual residence. The primary home holds five bedrooms, seven baths, a recreation room, personal library, sauna and hot tub, theater and gym. Mirroring it is an attached three-bedroom, five-bath townhome for extended family.

Owners John and Jenifer Hoover originally envisioned a modern mountain home with an open floor plan, yet they wanted a timeless design. Choosing a traditional timber-frame structure met their goals, while providing character and warmth.

From rustic, wooden skis to geometric, hide-hair ottomans, carefully layered interior elements create a comfortable yet sophisticated dining area for both intimate dinners and larger celebrations.

New West sourced the post-and-beam structure from Colorado Timberframe, where the Douglas fir wood and joints were machine cut with such exactness that only wooden pegs now join them together. Trauner Fay advised builders on just the right color of stain to retain warmth and bring out the wood’s natural grain.

All of this brings the beauty of the outside in, being the main reason why we live in Jackson in the first place.
~ the hoovers

A charming entry features a black, iron staircase against a three-story illuminated rock wall. Timber beams extend forward, leading visitors along hickory floors past a small office and into the open living area. Building designer Destin Peters intentionally varied ceiling heights here to create intimacy, strategically revealing some structural beams while enclosing others. He also featured reclaimed-pine ceilings in some areas, while in other spaces a more traditional white ceiling contrasts with the beams.

“We felt that all great spaces have an appropriate level of detail,” says John Hoover. “In an effort to make cozy spaces we put thought into how each area would feel.”

The dining room’s lower ceiling and stone fireplace protect the space, making it an inviting place to celebrate with family and friends. Though the well-equipped kitchen could easily turn out a multi-course meal, built-in and medium-distressed white cabinets and a marble island create family comfort.

Directly adjacent to the kitchen and dining areas, a vaulted ceiling sweeps up two stories with uncovered windows. The design draws your eye to views of the Tetons and the National Elk Refuge, a rarely obtained perspective in town.

Throughout the house, a one-eighth-inch inset on the Sierra Pacific windows, provided by View Point Windows, eliminates windowsills. Thoughtful window coverings and skillful landscaping conceal most of the surrounding development, so a gentle sea of rooftops and forest takes precedence.

Natural rock extends in one continuous wall from the ground level to the third floor, making a dramatic statement in the Hoovers’ primary entry, while bringing a bit of the outdoors inside the dwelling.

Although the main living room’s scale is truly grand, Trauner Fay’s inviting touches mix a modern palette of white, cream, grey and black tones with natural wool rugs and sophisticated textures. The iron accents on an ottoman and table decorations echo the entryway and tie the spaces together.

Open iron-railing walls overlook the living room from the second floor, sheltering a private library complete with fireplace. An adjacent seating area faces the Tetons. Here, the ceiling trusses are inset with an iron bar, rather than solid wood, to further enhance the view.

Multiple beams meet in this timber-frame intersection,
illustrating the meticulous craftsmanship and design
inherent to the structure.

The master bedroom also opens toward the mountains. A wall behind the bed conceals a circular, walk-through closet, making it easy for one partner to rise early, while the other sleeps in. A children’s bunk room and nursery are thoughtfully located nearby.

In the master bath, a light copper tub fills via a ceiling-mount spout with a gentle column of water. Travertine tile and a sealed glass door separate the wet bath environment for convenience. Interior designer Kristin Fay employed tumbled and honed travertine in all seven of the home’s bathrooms, designing a unique pattern for each application.

This continuity of key materials applies to the transition between the interior and exterior of the building, too. The same flagstone appears on outside porches as in the foyer and pantry floors. Exterior barnwood is also used as an accent wall in the entry powder room, as well as in the dining and entertainment cabinets. The same stone used for the main hearth, fireplaces and interior stone stairway wall is used outside on the chimney and entrance.

As the Hoovers say, “All of this brings the beauty of the outside in, being the main reason why we live in Jackson in the first place.”

Hickory-and-iron stairs lead from the main floor down to ground level. Designed for casual entertaining, this space features a third fireplace, floor-to-ceiling glass accordion doors that open to a hot tub, and a barnwood-adorned bar. A home theater, designed to acoustic proportions with a surround-sound system, next to a home gym and steam shower, complete the amenities.


The home’s three fireplaces were designed to appear as if they rest on top of each other, from ground level, to dining area, to library. However, they each use a separate flue, which required technical expertise in the installation.

During summer, generous decks draw the family outside. Sam McGee, owner of Frederick Landscaping, created a paved-rock seating area near the front entrance that provides a relaxing outdoor setting complete with natural gas fireplace. Careful placement of shrubs along the edge of the steep hill draws your eye beyond the nearby rooftops to beautiful scenery. A stream, fed by a 400-gallon ground vault that collects rainwater and recirculates the site’s runoff, provides both a safety measure and the ambient pleasure of running water. The deliberate yet organic landscaping ensures that the family will maximize use of the outdoor spaces during warmer months.

With such extraordinary attention to detail, the residence took nearly 1½ years to plan and design. Despite working on a tight site located on a hillside on a curve in the road, the team completed construction, landscaping and interior design in just 14 months. The result is outstanding: an in-town oasis designed and built to last for generations.

Thoughtful site planning, combined with shrubs installed to just the right height, creates the ideal outdoor seating area for viewing the National Elk Refuge and Tetons, while camouflaging its in-town setting.

Modern Tranquility In Alta

The open floor plan draws in full daylight through the large, energy-efficient, triple-pane windows that line both sides of the great room.



Email: ajwoolstenhulme@yahoo.com



Story By
Julie Fustanio Kling

Photos By
Joe Burns +
Tony Jewell Photography

Nestled between pastoral landscapes to the west and rugged mountain peaks to the east sits Yellow Rose Ranch, an Alta neighborhood where a Philadelphia couple staked their retirement claim. Recreational pilot Joe Burns caught a bird’s-eye view of Teton Valley in 2002 while on a solo flight along the Lewis & Clark Trail from Ocean City, New Jersey, to Bend, Oregon. He fell in love with the valley when he stopped for fuel at the Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport and envisioned retiring in this sleepy community.

But first, he had to sell his wife, Dot, on the idea. Her first thoughts of life in the West resembled that of Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie—until she met a local group of well-read, outdoorsy women that goes by the name of WHALES (Women’s Hiking And Literary Epicurean Society). After that, she never looked back.

Early on, the Burns dreamed of building a rustic log cabin; but in the end, they settled on an elegant, energy-efficient modern design so they could implement the latest technology and lower their carbon footprint. After putting the project on hold when the financial crisis hit in 2008, they finally completed it last August. They’ve now known their builder, Kurt Mitchell, for almost a decade and think of him as a member of the family.

Inset wood floors in the great room mirror the soffit line above, defining the space. The soffit additionally hides high-intensity LED strip lighting, which indirectly illuminates the ceiling.

Mitchell, a founding partner of With The Grain, has been building custom homes in Teton Valley since 2004, after moving his company from Colorado. Last year, he engaged Todd Witek as a partner in the company and became a full-service design-builder. Joe Burns and Mitchell share a passion for construction. “I was looking for a builder who would let Dot and me collaborate on the project,” says Burns. With 42 years of major construction experience, he has worked with many general contractors. Selecting one to entrust with his largest personal construction endeavor was a calculated decision. “Kurt is a straightforward and genuine guy. He has a great deal of passion for building homes and a meticulous manner that I can appreciate. I knew we’d make a good team,” says Burns. His wife is quick to agree.


To round out the project’s leadership team, the Burns selected a local architect who advocates for collaboration in a design-build environment. Meghan Hanson, a Passive House-certified architect based in Idaho and Montana, started Natural Dwellings Architecture in 2008 after working with Carney Logan & Burke Architects in Jackson. She enjoys working with clients to combine their goals with high-performance design elements, including highly insulated and air-sealed structures and passive lighting, heating and cooling options. She received recognition early on in her career for an innovative straw-bale house she designed and built for herself.

“Joe is a researcher who has a methodical, mechanical mind,” Hanson says. “This house was a wonderful learning experience because all involved passionately believed in utilizing environmentally conscious, energy-efficient strategies.”

The dual-island kitchen creates both a welcoming workspace and a natural environment for entertaining.

One of the materials she researched and used in the process is ROXUL insulation, a spun rock mineral fiber comprising basalt rock and recycled slag, a byproduct of steel and copper. It offers excellent fire and water resistance while providing sound absorption and thermal qualities. It was an integral part of a very sophisticated wall system.

The exterior of the home’s creative H-shaped design is made of Corten steel and Charwood™ siding, a product made by a Japanese process known as shou sugi ban, which was invented to create weather-, fire- and pest-resistant material. In this case, it is just a facade. The real weather barrier is the rainscreen underneath the exterior steel and siding, which brings air up and moisture down. “Meghan provided the most thorough and detail-oriented architectural plans I’ve ever seen,” says Mitchell. “They provided a solid foundation for our design-build collaboration.”


Inside the house, it is as quiet as a walk in the forest, thanks to the triple-paned windows, an impenetrable air envelope and an exceptional insulation package. With a light and airy feel, the great room boasts large windows with a view of Fred’s Hill at Grand Targhee Ski Resort and two ambiance-building elements—a propane fireplace and a wood-burning stove.

Concrete dominates the floors throughout the home. “Joe and Dot wanted the concrete floors to have a light sheen to them, one that would stand the test of time,” says Mitchell. “We selected Teton Concrete Surfaces for their expertise in concrete floor polishing.” The floors create a pattern that, together with the functional yet decorative soffit, frames the open living space. The soffit gives the room an intimate feeling, while also providing a buffer for canned lighting.

The home features drywall-wrapped windows and door jambs and a smooth drywall finish. To achieve this labor-intensive look, known in the business as a Level 5 finish, Drywall Solutions craftsmen worked meticulously with genuine concern and care throughout the process.

The home’s low profile and H shape make it inherently stable against gale-force winds. This geometry, combined with its exterior rain-wall system and triple-pane windows, creates an industrial-strength and deadpan-quiet home even under the most extreme weather conditions.

The home’s roof is a blend of Corten standing-seam metal and cedar shakes. Mark Franklin of Roof Rescue seamlessly transitioned between roof areas and from one roofing material to another to provide watertight peace of mind.

The south wing of the house was designed for the Burns’ two kids and grandchildren, with a separate living room, bunk room and guest bedrooms. A walnut guest bed headboard mirrors the shape of the Big Hole Mountains visible through a window above it. The bed frame was cut from the same slab that local woodworkers used for the dining table and a bench in the mudroom. Because of the home’s geometric design, when the guest quarters aren’t in use, the Burns can isolate that portion of the home, turn off its heat and hot water and realize energy savings.

Throughout the entire home, a glycol-water mix runs through pipes underneath the floors, providing hydronic heat, even in the garage. A nod to Burns’ mechanical background, the crawlspace floor is concrete, so he can comfortably access the home’s mechanical workings. And, there is a live roof above the entryway where wild grass grows. Every detail has been considered, from making sure the wood grain aligns in the built-in cabinetry to using zinc terrazzo strips in place of the control joints and at the concrete transitions to the maple floor.

“When you have homeowners like the Burns participating in the process, the outcome is almost guaranteed,” Mitchell says.

In The Round

Designing In 3D

Three-dimensional modeling encompasses visualizations of every aspect of the home, from the architecture and interior design to the landscape architecture.
Story By
Katy Niner

Photos By
Latham Jenkins +
Veronica Schreibeis Smith

Imagine stepping inside your home long before the walls are built. Imagine gazing through the bay windows of the breakfast nook, months before the Pella order is placed. Imagine shifting the roofline several inches to better frame the front door, well ahead of any change-order headache.

Three-dimensional modeling makes such visualizations possible. “If you fly through a 3-D model, what would normally take you a week to synthesize in your brain becomes instant cognition,” says Veronica Schreibeis Smith, CEO and founding principal of Vera Iconica Architecture.

Everyone involved with the project, including the architect, interior designer and contractor, works within the same model, thereby making it a detailed representation of the final product—accent pillows and all!

Gone are the days of flipping through unwieldy stacks of drawings to get a sense of the structure; now, walking through ideas is as easy as pressing a keypad. “Instead of lugging around huge sets of drawings, you can click on a button, instantly see the structural detail, and then move on,” Schreibeis Smith says.

They love the idea of looking at things with such freedom.
— ElisA Chambers

By using building information modeling (BIM) software like ArchiCAD or Revit, everyone involved—from the architect to the client to the structural engineer—can picture the project down to the details. No more lost in translation. No more disconnects between disciplines. Everyone is speaking the same language and seeing the same elements.

“The communication is better, the collaboration is better, and the coordination between sets reduces the room for errors and omissions,” Schreibeis Smith says.

Elisa Chambers of Snake River Interiors refines a design using 3-D software called ArchiCAD.

It’s like playing with a dollhouse, says Elisa Chambers, owner and principal designer of Snake River Interiors. Clients can explore the house and experience every room in all three dimensions. “They love the idea of looking at things with such freedom,” she says.

Within a 3-D computer model, subtle changes or discordant elements can be flagged and fixed with ease.

Designers revel in the freedom as well; the software gives creatives the space to realize their ideas in full in far less time, thus easing the stress of the ticking time clock. The time saved designing frees up focus on the front end, empowering designers to fully understand the clients and their needs. Chambers considers this comprehension to be the most important part of the process; she often draws on her master’s degree in psychology to extract clients’ ideas and then act on those articulations.

No more lugging around blueprints;
3-D models are accessible on any
portable device.

Once designed, the model can become a virtual job site through cloud-based programs like BIMcloud by ArchiCAD, of which Schreibeis Smith was an early adopter (she says she got goosebumps during a conference presentation of the platform). “Putting our designs on a cloud-based server gives access to all of our consultants,” she says. As such, the workflow is seamless. “The drywaller can be working in one room while the plumber is in the neighboring bathroom.”

Discordant elements can be flagged and fixed with ease; changes made with one click and a quick instant message, rather than a re-drafting of documents. For example, after doing a virtual home tour, one of Schreibeis Smith’s clients decided a room felt too small and so moved the wall 4½ inches into the garage. “The only other time they would have caught that would have been when their project was framed,” she says. “At that point, moving the wall 4½ inches would have been silly to do for the expense. Now, you can catch things like that in the modeling phase.”

Even with BIM, changes are still made on-site. Ultimately, 3-D modeling cannot erase all issues, but it does empower everyone to focus on what matters: communicating well with each other.

Creating A New Look At History

This 12,000-square-foot, ultra-modern residence in Telluride, Colorado, provides gorgeous vistas from every angle.


Story By
Meg Daly

Photos By
Josh Johnson + Michael He eron +
Steve Mundinger + Pat Sudmeier +
David Marlow

Forty years ago, Bill Poss started an architecture firm with a holistic philosophy: quality of design, quality of service and quality of life.

Since that time he has enlisted a team of professionals who love what they do and love living in the West. Creating seamless transitions from inside to outside, room to room, this all-inclusive architecture and interior design firm prides itself on making livable spaces tailored to clients’ Mountain West lifestyles. There is no single, cookie-cutter Poss design; the firm strives to be responsive to each client’s vision as well as the landscape, respecting every home’s specific environment.

“What I like about Jackson is that it has a history of being very Western-oriented, but now with a more contemporary sensibility,” Poss says. “We like to incorporate historical elements and also give modern interpretations in order to create a new look at history.

Another view of the above home: Deeply inspired by its surroundings, the architectural design incorporates soaring, angular rooflines.

“For homes in the West,” he continues, “we bring in those broader vistas to capture the romance of, say, looking out a window at a great snowstorm.” Incorporating clean lines, expansive windows and bright pops of color lends a contemporary feel.

Another nod toward history can be found in an outdoor fire pit, where family and guests gather and tell stories, as humans have done throughout the ages.

Local architectural traditions were reinterpreted to carefully integrate this family retreat, part of an 860-acre working ranch, into the rural site.

We want the building to take advantage of the site and gracefully connect with the land.
~ andrew wisnoski

Poss team members view themselves as instruments to help clients realize their dreams. “We want to create an environment that is unique to our client,” says Melanie Grant, the interior design director. Having an interior design department in-house means a creative cross-pollination of ideas can take place. Grant says the working environment is like the relationships they have with clients: collaborative and fun, not stuffy or formal.

The building exterior of this Colorado compound features native stone, timber and shingle siding in the style of great mountain lodges.

With expertise in creating regionally and contextually sensitive structures, Poss ensures each building looks like it belongs in the environment. “Architecturally, the colors and materials are hugely important,” says Andrew Wisnoski, a partner at Poss. “We don’t want buildings to be incongruous with their setting. We want the building to take advantage of the site and gracefully connect with the land.”

The Poss team understands how people today want to live within their Western surroundings, and they create spaces for a range of activities suited for their clients’ lifestyles. Poss is recognized for its quality; projects are customized to individual clients’ needs and are built with careful attention to every detail and material selection.

In sum, says Poss, “We pride ourselves on creating legacy homes and ranches that our clients can enjoy with the generations coming up through their families.”

Breathtaking architecture and a barnwood-and-timber frame interior blend modern and rustic design in this elegant Colorado residence.

Bucking The Trend

Jamie Farmer and Scott Payne love to use natural light when designing houses. This home can be lit entirely by sunlight during the day.


Story By
Kelsey Dayton

Photos By
David Agnello + Eric Elberson

SOME ARCHITECTURE FIRMS ARE KNOWN FOR TRADEMARK DESIGN ELEMENTS OR A CERTAIN LOOK THAT IS APPARENT IN ALL THEIR WORK. Scott Payne and Jamie Farmer proudly reject a signature style. They believe architecture should be in influenced by the site, climate and region.
“The context informs the style,” Farmer says.

It’s a philosophy that allows the newly formed Farmer Payne Architects rm to serve Jackson, where its flagship office is located, as well Louisiana and the South, where Payne works from the satellite office.

”We’re not connecting our clients to a particular style,” Payne says. “We’re connecting you to quality.”

Instead of following trends, Farmer and Payne try to defy them. They want to create homes that are unique, functional pieces of art. If anything defines their work it’s high-quality materials and construction and a timeless look, Payne says.

Farmer grew up in Jackson and studied architecture at Montana State University. Payne moved to Jackson to work on high-end residential architecture in 2007 after graduating from Louisiana State University. He and Farmer started on the same day at Carney Logan Burke Architects.

From the beginning, the two architects shared a passion for landscape-inspired design and admired each other’s work ethic.


Both had construction backgrounds. Farmer’s father was a carpenter and Payne studied construction management in addition to architecture in college. As a result, not only do they know how to design and draw, they know how to design and draw structures that are buildable and functional, Farmer says.

This Louisiana home design was informed by its setting on an oxbow and built to maximize views. Place is a big component that inspires all of Farmer Payne Architects’ work.

Payne eventually moved back to Louisiana and started his own rm. Two years ago, Farmer started his own company, Caliber Architecture, in Jackson. This year, the two merged their companies to form Farmer Payne Architects. The merger allows them to work together again and compete with larger rms. It is also a testament to the adaptability of their work, as they serve two drastically different regions.

Oxbow Bend Residence melded mountain and Southern styles to create a unique design.

While Farmer and Payne officially launched their new rm in January 2017, the two have been designing homes for more than a decade and have strong portfolios that support their vision of quality designs informed by the setting. For example, Farmer designed angular homes on West Hansen in Jackson, using a modern sculptural design complete with a medley of exposed and sheltered outdoor spaces.

In Louisiana, Payne gave a progressive spin to one of his projects, the Red River Residence, a traditional brick, Creole-style home featuring antique and reclaimed materials blending with a classic colonial look.

“It’s not one size fits all,” Payne says. “We are adaptable and that’s where we find our niche.”

Also designed to maximize natural light, this Jackson home’s modern angles create unique outdoor spaces.

Space to Rest

September Vhay

Kirsten Rue

“Good composition is good composition regardless if it’s a building’s fac?ade or a painting,” says September Vhay.

She should know; she’s worked as both artist and architect. Now known primarily as a painter of expressive wildlife subjects against minimalist backgrounds, the artist nevertheless continues to identify aesthetic similarities between two careers that seem, at the outset, so different.

In the two professions, Vhay explains, “you use different parts of your brain to solve artistic problems.” Vhay’s family includes both architects and artists, so this concept makes intuitive sense to her: Her father and grandfather were both architects, her sister and great-grandfather artists. The latter, Gutzon Borglum, sculpted Mount Rushmore.

After arriving in Jackson, Vhay worked for seven years as a full-time architect while painting in her spare time. Eventually this dual life proved unsustainable. “I loved architecture,” she says, “but I felt I had more to say as a painter.” From there, she took the calculated risk to focus solely on painting for one year. She’s never looked back.


For Vhay, successful works of art and successfully designed spaces well from the same point of inspiration. In architecture, this is known as the parti—or central idea—which organizes a design concept. For every painting she creates, Vhay approaches its problem in the same fashion.

A home—living room, garage, and all—begins as a bubble diagram. “The same thing with a drawing,” she says. “I’ll do a big, loose gestural one figuring out form and then I’ll hone in on proportions and then it becomes more detailed. When everything comes together it looks simple, but there’s so much structure and thought behind how it looks simple.”

There are other tools of the trade that unexpectedly cross over as well. Architects- in-training often learn to create watercolor presentation drawings, and Vhay worked in watercolors when she made the permanent shift to painting full-time. Her skill with watercolor gives her a reverence—and caution—for protecting the white space of the paper; this cannot be recovered once the painting begins.

“That deliberateness is translated into my oil paintings—I do drawings and studies before I actually do a painting so that, by the time I get the brush to the canvas, I know where I’m going,” she elaborates. Vhay also paints in very thin layers, which allow light to hit the canvas and illuminate her subject with the freshness and depth that has become synonymous with her oeuvre.

Committed observation helps the artist grasp the singular gesture she will translate into oil
or charcoal—the fleck of light over the form; the flexion of joints. Her compositions deploy negative space in equal measure to achieve their impact. “My goal is to get the essence of an animal across to people … and backgrounds are distracting to the animal,” she says.

“Friesian’s Zeal,” 40 x 40 in., charcoal on paper

Vhay describes all of the shapes that are instrumental to a painting’s composition using the metaphor of a team. The eye of a horse? That might be the star forward, all flash and dazzle. The other elements of the painting make up the rest of the team; they must be balanced in their supporting roles. This tug towards simplicity leads Vhay to paint backgrounds with restrained textures or softened edges.

Recently, she’s played with leaving a bit of primed linen visible at the bottom of her canvases: “I like the fact that the primed linen is raw; it expresses what was there from the beginning.”

A pleasing austerity governs how Vhay prefers to appreciate the art of others as well. She explains that, when visiting a museum or show, she frequently selects just one or two paintings and studies it intently.

“I do drawings and studies before I actually do a painting so that, by the time I get the brush to the canvas, I know where I’m going.”
– Artist September Vhay

“Eclipse’s Play,” 15 x 24 in., oil on Belgian linen. September Vhay is represented at Altamira Fine Art.

“I definitely prefer a sparsely hung gallery because then I think people experience art in its own right and are not distracted by other artwork surrounding it.” She appreciates this quality at Altamira Fine Art, where she herself is represented. The high ceilings and sparse hangings allow for plenty of time when patrons can be, in a sense, “alone” with a work.

Uncluttered interiors not only give one ample time with a work of art, they “give your mind a place to rest.” Not coincidentally, Vhay identifies with modern design; its bare aesthetic allows the focus to rest on materials and the space itself. The same principle applies to art: “The emptiness gives the viewer a space to which they can bring their perception to a painting.”


“O’Keeffe Dreams Two,” 10 x 10 in., watercolor on paper.

Winsome and reflective, Vhay’s paintings capture moments of pause—the inquisitive blink of a colt or the moment before a ram shifts his weight. They beckon and entreat us to breathe and simply be; a space one gladly enters.

A Window On Creativity


Kate Niner

Ed Riddell

It took 9 million years to sculpt the mountainscape of Jackson Hole, but only 20 to upshift the built landscape. This tectonic shift toward contemporary architecture began with artists Ed and Lee Riddell and architect Will Bruder, a trio whose latest project—a downtown jewel box of design—encapsulates their trailblazing journey.


Two decades ago, Ed and Lee Riddell were living in a log cabin when they offered to host a Phoenix-based architect who was visiting to design the new Teton County Library. Will Bruder had already designed the instantly iconic Phoenix Central Library; he arrived with a modern portfolio, but also an open mind.


A master of luminosity, Will Bruder draws in light through apertures, or slot windows. On the solstices, sunlight cuts a straight line from the Eames molded plywood chair through the bedroom.

Specializing in “the architecture of place,” Bruder approaches each new project as an exploration of materials and making. He catalogues the built history of each region and comes to understand the community. His designs grow “from the outside in and the inside out.”

In Jackson Hole, Bruder discovered latent connections to contemporary architecture like the seminal, unfinished 1940s Mies van der Rohe project for the Resor family at Snake River Ranch. In the Old Faithful Inn, he was surprised to find a vanguard translation of log—he’d expected cabins like his hosts’ home. Such buildings spoke to him of a homegrown desire to experiment.

On that first trip to Jackson Hole, Bruder also found kinship with the Riddells. Creatively simpatico, the three kept in touch, trading books and ideas. “Will turned us into architecture junkies,” Ed Riddell says.

Usually, Bruder begins with the conceptual rather than the concrete. Knowing the Riddells so well, he had an idea of how their wish list had evolved over the 20 years of friendship. “Architecture happens from head to heart to hand,” he says.

From junkies to patrons: When the Riddells needed a new office for their growing advertising agency, they turned to Bruder, who imagined the building (now Jackson Hole Title and Escrow) as a confluence of the new industrial activity in West Jackson with traditions of barn-based ranching and the soaring scale of Old Faithful.

The contemporary architecture of the Riddell Building, completed in 1995, temporarily polarized the community. Young, local architects celebrated it. The old guard was wary. As Riddell recalls, the mayor at the time vowed to prevent “anything like it from ever being built in Jackson again.” But in the end it opened the contemporary door in Jackson Hole. Architects, then and now, consider it a turning point, furthered by Bruder’s subsequent designs: The Mad River building and Teton County Library.


Working in an inspired space made the Riddells want to live in one, too.

After a decade living in the house Bruder designed for them in Wilson, the Riddells became drawn to the idea of living in the heart of town, as they had done in Italy. Once again, they recruited Bruder. Together, they set search criteria: a three-block radius of Town Square (to enable walking) and northern light for their studio. A lone lot rose to the walking challenge: A 50-by-100-foot patch next to the former Gai Mode salon. During that initial visit, Bruder did something he doesn’t normally do: On the last day, he sat down at the Riddells’ dining table and sketched a scale drawing. “By the end
of a day working together, willing to make mistakes, we, by and large, had a house that looks very much like it is today,” Bruder says.


It is this beautifully crafted box that
is about giving an armature for Ed and Lee to go from what life has been to what life will become.”

– Architect Will Bruder

On paper and in reality, Riddell Urban unfolds as a sequence of spaces, eloquently attuned to function. The lower level is malleable: The studio and office can become a gallery with Bruder-designed tracked panels, or a guest bedroom by way of a Murphy bed.

By Bruder’s hand, a staircase—linking the downstairs studio to the upstairs living area— becomes more than a functional passage. The two-story gallery of pictures collected or created by the Riddells leads to a tokonoma, a Japanese altar upon which the Riddells have placed their most beautiful objects. In a nod to Bruder’s canine client, he carved a floor-level window on the landing for the Riddells’ Brittany spaniel, Tosca.

An open concept encompasses the kitchen, dining, and living areas—all beneath a subtly slanted ceiling and its optical illusion of expanding volume. Humble materials complement more refined finishes. In the kitchen, Ikea cabinets augment stainless steel countertops. DuPont Corian solid surfacing lines the shower—a surprise in the master bath. Accent and gallery walls are oriented strand board, an inexpensive composite sandblasted to become as soft as handmade paper.

“As a sculptor, you seek joints between materials,” Bruder says. “Craft becomes the manifestation of ordinary things becoming extraordinary by the way pieces interlock.”

A master of light, Bruder invites illumination through apertures—slot windows he first introduced in the Riddells’ Wilson home. Two pairs of apertures in the living area and bedroom are oriented to the solstices—the days when sunlight slices the rooms in absolute alignment. The experience is transcendent, Riddell says, and invokes Anasazi solar calendars.

Like Leonardo da Vinci, Bruder is constantly inventing. “A lot of architects come up with the big ideas, but Bruder is very detail-oriented,” Riddell says. “He is designing up until the very last minute. Behind the paint on the walls are Bruder sketches.”

In Riddell Urban, all elements are in dialogue: The pleated, linen drapes echo the texture of the corrugated metal around the fireplace; the living area extends to the mountains beyond via the balcony above the street.


Bruder also oversees each project from concept through construction. Ever responsive, he worked in dynamic interplay with the builder, Jeremie Moore of Serenity Inc. Mistakes became opportunities for Bruder to redesign. “Contemporary is a different beast to build,” Riddell says. “There are a lot of details which add to the angst unless you have an open mind about it.”

The malleable first floor accommodates multiple arrangements, thanks to two ingenious Bruder designs: tracked panels and a Murphy bed. The former allow for gallery walls or privacy, while the latter creates a guest bedroom.

The positivity of the building process is manifest in the peacefully oriented final product. With the garage abutting the alley, the street view is not of a closed door, but rather an open window on creativity. The exterior siding—flash-burned by Delta Millworks into a maintenance-free finish called shou sugi ban—recalls the tumbledown barns considered picturesque in the valley. Through these design choices, Riddell Urban becomes a palimpsest of place and testament to the architectural character of Jackson Hole.


Bruder considers Riddell Urban a wunderkammer, a Renaissance-era “box of curiosities,” where ordinary objects become extraordinary by virtue of careful composition. “It is this beautifully crafted box that is about giving an armature for Ed and Lee to go from what life has been to what life will become,” he says.

No angle goes unnoticed by architect Will Bruder. His designs incorporate the geometry of place. When drafting Riddell Urban, he made sure that the pitch of the roofline echoed the slope of neighboring Snow King, the “town hill” framed by many interior windows.

Thus the home becomes a metaphor for the Riddells’ trajectory as people, artists, and community members, working in context and concert with Bruder. “It’s a jewel box that will weather and patina like the buildings that have been in town for 100-plus years,” Bruder says. “Architecture ages and weathers, like people. That’s how you achieve timelessness.”

In Concert With Context

WRJ collaborated with JLF & Associates on a mountaintop residence made of stone, timber, and steel in Big Sky, Montana.?

WRJ Design

Story By
Katy Niner

Photos By
WRJ Design

Nature is precise: no detail spared, no design unevolved. And eloquent: From soaring spires to minute creatures, nature speaks in strokes both grandiose and subtle. Nature’s range of expression inspires Rush Jenkins and Klaus Baer of WRJ Design. The natural world is the creative landscape where they work.

“Some of the most beautiful places I’ve visited are about discovery and the unfolding of that beauty,” Jenkins says. “Great design does that.”


Always enamored of the Rocky Mountains, the couple decided to decamp from New York City to Jackson five years ago. Uprooting their thriving careers in design and finance, respectively, Jenkins and Baer dove into their long-held dream of opening a design studio at the foot of the Tetons. They knew proximity to nature would nurture their aesthetics—a blend of refined and rustic, casual and composed, classic and contemporary. Lifelong travelers, they wanted to root their worldly designs in the West.

Instinct proved to be a wise guide. The mountains have contextualized their aesthetics; the Tetons, ever their focus, have anchored their studied style in intuitive expression. Referencing nature’s textures and palettes, they have learned to layer elements to create a multidimensional story of person and place.

?Serene accents, such as a Holly Hunt table and chairs, Loro Piana drapes, and Ralph Lauren rugs, soften a contemporary masterpiece in Teton Valley.

We feel incredibly grateful for the gift we have been given to do what we do, and to work with the talents we have in the Tetons.”
– Rush Jenkins of WRJ



Just as excursions outside often become explorations of self and setting, Jenkins and Baer’s bold decision to move outside the design epicenter of New York proved pivotal. In Jackson Hole, they have discovered a community of like-minded, creative mavericks—talented professionals already rooted in the region who are forging their own way. Now, they see their design in concert with context, their portfolio elevated by the opportunity to work with world- class regional architects, such as
Paul Bertelli of JLF Architects, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, and Carney Logan Burke, as well as other talented Jackson architects.

Above all, Jenkins and Baer believe the high caliber of Jackson Hole clients makes for meaningful, magnificent work. No matter how talented the designer, a home is only as hospitable as its inhabitants. Jenkins and Baer feel blessed by the benevolence of their clientele. “They are generous. They are trusting. They are gracious,” Baer says in praise.


Meticulous in their creative process, Jenkins, Baer, and their talented team pay close attention to every aspect of their clients’ experience, beginning with the careful notes they take of each client’s dreams and desires for the home, then followed by the detailed renderings they draft to give clients a comprehensive sense of each room’s layout. All along the way, their clients are ushered into a space that reflects and respects them as individuals. “We take the time to ensure our clients know exactly what their home is going to look like, what it’s going to feel like,” Jenkins says.

?Within a rustic shell, WRJ achieves textured sophistication by pairing a Tim Rein sculpture with nail-head leather Ralph Lauren chairs, an Asian antique bench, and a custom leather and linen sofa.

Clients’ connections to their finished homes are tied to their experience of the creative process itself. “For us, the experience is the most important part of our design philosophy,” Baer says. “What is that person’s experience with their house, with our showroom, working with us? As a design team, we are constantly pushing the envelope as we strive for excellence for our clients.”




Jenkins and Baer work as they live: They embrace transformative experiences, as evidenced by their careers, as evidenced by their location, as evidenced by their interiors. Passion drives everything they do. Channeling the distinctive voice of their personal journey, they approach design as a way to tell each client’s own story. Every room becomes a new page, a new opportunity for wonder. “The experience of discovering beauty cultivates an earned attachment with a space,” Jenkins says.

Beyond the imprint of the individual, every WRJ-designed home nods to the grandeur of the outdoors. Details express this gesture: a sleek side table sheathed in leather; a fur or cashmere throw casually draped across a woven armchair; an antique deer mount imbued with history. Luxury pieces—produced by world-renowned lines that WRJ exclusively represents—look at home in the casual elegance of their interiors.

WRJ designs harmonize with the architecture and setting. Jenkins and Baer complement nature, rather than compete with it.


Danish modern chairs and a custom sofa encircle a coffee table made by a local craftsman. The adjacent breakfast table—a WRJ design—shines beneath Holly Hunt pendants, which are siblings to the chandelier above the kitchen island, also Holly Hunt.?
?A Ralph Lauren chandelier presides over a Carrara marble-top dining table from Belgium, complemented by cashmere/wool, plaid drapes from Loro Piana, and custom mohair sofas.


While continually inspired by their mountain home, Jenkins, Baer, and their team do leave the valley to make discoveries elsewhere within the design world. With passports in tow, they travel the globe sourcing singular products from the finest purveyors they can find. From New York City to Paris and Milan, they experience all the high notes of contemporary design while furthering their knowledge of classical traditions.


They forge friendships with international titans of design—Loro Piana, Poltrona Frau, Herme?s and Ralph Lauren—and then extend these contacts to their clients. Back in Jackson, the team filters its travel experiences into its designs. “Design is born of these experiences,” Jenkins emphasizes.

Tireless in their pursuit of aesthetic excellence, Jenkins and Baer have achieved alignment of profession and passion. Gratitude infuses every aspect of their process: gratitude for their clients, their staff, their consultants, and their collaborators.

“We feel incredibly grateful for the gift we have been given to do what we do,” Jenkins says, “and to work with the talents we have in the Tetons.”


The experience of discovering beauty cultivates an earned attachment with a space.”
– Rush Jenkins of WRJ



Redefining Urban Chic in the Mountains

A dynamic hearth with a suspended steel hood is at the heart of this dream home.

Howells Architecture + Design
Dembergh Construction
Designed Interiors LLC
Willow Creek Woodworks

Story By
Julie Fustanio Kling

Photos By
David Agnello

The scaffolding in the middle of the great room comes down, revealing a symphony of exquisite textures at play around the hearth, the “pie?ce de re?sistance” of this top-down West Bank remodel. An 18-inch flame, beneath a towering chimney of blackened and waxed steel, lights up the room and softens its muted palette with reflections of seamless cherry wood cabinets and a dynamic glass chandelier. The chandelier, which took more than a year to design, dances with 52 dangling LED, glass-and-bronze pods that hang high above a live-edge dining room table. The original vaulted ceiling is the only part of the 5,000-square-foot, five-bedroom house left untouched by architect Michael Howells of Howells Architecture + Design.

It might be the most technically complex fireplace in the valley.”
– Michael Howells of Howells Architecture + Design

A thick glass enclosure floats above the flame and below the steel hood, allowing the cook to see the subtle textures from one end of the kitchen to the living room. The rocks below were specially made to withstand the heat of the fireplace designed by Howells with Walter Moberg of Moberg Fireplaces.

redefining-urban-chic-mountains-2“It might be the most technically complex fireplace in the valley,” says Howells.

“It’s like a Lamborghini,” says builder Mike Prichard of Dembergh Construction.

“But there’s only one,” adds Howells.

Using car analogies suits the homeowners, a Chicago couple whose love of fast cars, clean lines, refined interiors, and integrated systems led them to remodel this dream house to create an urban aesthetic in the mountains sans the pretensions of the city. They loved the location, and the bones of the house. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out on pine trees to the west and aspens to the east, the only canvases in the great room.


With three bedrooms at one end of the great room and a guest wing that can be closed off at the other end, the redesign makes the space luxurious yet efficient; rustic yet refined. The aggregate in the concrete floors throughout the home’s one story is unstained and polished to a low gloss, but was deliberately sanded to reveal a grainy texture. The cherry wood used to craft all of the custom-made cabinets was selected because it harmonizes with the house’s existing fir trusses, which were stained to match. “I love working with wood, stone, and tile,” Howells says. “In this house, each bath has a variety of stone textures. Accent walls afford a heightened point of interest, almost like giving each bath its own mural or tapestry.”

No corner of the interior was spared, either, including the garage, which has custom cherry doors, shelves, and stairs that lead up to the brain of the house—a control room that looks like the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, humming with color-coded pipes and electronic systems. Even the seats in the guest bathroom showers are heated.

“Everything was carefully considered,” says Prichard, adding that in most projects there is an element of give and take when gutting a house, which leads to compromises on details like interior finishes or state-of-the-art sound systems that control everything from large-screen


TVs to the cigar humidifier. “The homeowners saw the value in devoting resources to the infrastructure of the house. The systems you can’t see are what make this project so distinctive. Lighting, AV, shades, and HVAC are all controlled from iPads and touchscreens.”

Prichard and Howells describe the owners as rare clients who appreciate architect-driven design and uncompromised craftsmanship. More than 40 craftsmen worked on the fireplace alone.

“We prefer a masculine and simple look, but being in the mountains we wanted it to be cozy,” says the homeowner, who went shopping with interior designer Kate Binger for hand-woven rugs, furniture, and sculptures that melded the textures of the wood, steel, and stone finishes. “The rugs and the fabrics had to balance each other, along with all of the hard finishes,” Binger says. “If you don’t have the right texture to balance the clean lines it just becomes stark.”

Trips to Chicago, New York, and even Portland, Oregon, led them to uncover the look and feel they sought. The oatmeal-and-gray furniture highlights the organic textures in the bones of the house without taking away from the elements of its design.

Custom cherry woodwork is featured throughout the home. Chandeliers by contemporary lighting company Ochre hang in the powder room and above the dining room table, both custom designed as well.

Binger, who owns Designed Interiors and the showroom Dwelling on the Town Square, brought a more feminine touch to the powder room off the kitchen with grasscloth wallpaper, a waved tile, and an understated version of the chandelier that hangs above the dining room table. Both chandeliers were custom made by Ochre, an exclusive contemporary lighting company recommended by Howells.


Sophisticated inset steel nightstands and headboards play against the neutral palette of the bedroom’s textiles.

The inset steel nightstands and headboard of the master bedroom— and cherry vanities throughout
the home—required the architect, builder, and interior designer to work closely with Willow Creek Woodworks of Idaho Falls. So as to leave no room for error, Willow Creek assembled and sanded the kitchen on-site.

“The architect did not want to see a joint on the finished ends,” says Willow Creek’s owner, Jaxon Ching. “He was very particular about that. First I was a little skeptical. But after a while, I just realized it would take more time. As a cabinetmaker I can see what he was looking at. The overall project looks really nice.”

His favorite part was stitching together leather embossed to resemble stingrays on a floating bronze cabinet in the great room.

Binger sourced as much locally as possible, including a metal base for the coffee table and the dark walnut dining table, which, without stools at the kitchen counter, is used on a daily basis even though it seats up to 14. At a recent dinner party, the homeowners even set a table alongside the fireplace and used the ledge as a bench.


“Given the generous dining table, we skipped the customary redundant bar seating at the kitchen island,” Howells says. “Without stools they can store their china in glass cabinets under the counter. It makes it easy to create a joyous table. It’s where they live their lives.”