2022 Homestead Magazine


Homestead Magazine


Search Results for: elements of architecture

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.”

Tour of Homes gives a glimpse of the Top

Fish Creek Lodge - Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes

Fish Creek Lodge – Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes

By Jason Suder / Jackson Hole News & Guide / Sept. 09, 2105

Nobody comes to the Tetons to sit inside, but enjoying the mountains from the comfort of a living room does have its attractions.

Jackson architects, designers, builders and landscapers have worked wonders in their fields, and some of them will get to show off their finest during the 2015 Fall Arts Festival as Homestead Magazine presents its third annual Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes.

Set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, and Saturday, Sept. 19, the Showcase of Homes celebrates these domestic accomplishments with a self-guided tour of a few of Jackson Hole’s most spectacular living spaces.

“We choose homes based on location in the valley, architectural style and the range of professionals behind the project,” said Latham Jenkins, founder and president of Circ Design, which publishes Homestead and organizes the Showcase of Homes.

Five residences were selected to show a cross section of the valley’s designs, from the more traditional to mountain modern. During the two-day event ticket holders will be able to explore the houses and discuss design elements with the professionals who designed and built them.

Local charities benefit from the tour, with proceeds from ticket sales supporting organizations selected by each homeowner. They include the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the Jackson Hole Land Trust.

Fishcreek Compound - Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes

Fishcreek Compound – Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes

Unlike gallery artists, who are able to show work in public settings, architects and interior designers mostly operate in the private realm. The Showcase of Homes is an opportunity for John Carney of Carney Logan Burke Architects to expose some of his work that few people ever see.

“We do these beautiful one-off houses,” he said, “and unless the client had a commitment to want to share that they typically will shy away from that kind of thing.”

Carney is responsible for the architecture of two projects in this year’s Showcase of Homes. His Lodge at Fish Creek represents his talent for adhering to the rustic character of the valley.

Although not as classic as what the phrase “log cabin” conjures, these 12 homes in Shooting Star offer a clean look of wood slats and stone masonry exteriors. Large windows in the high-vaulted living rooms look out at mountain views, giving a contemporary slant to the ski-town chalet.

“It’s a little more contemporary, but still in the rustic category,” Carney said. “My house, by contrast, is much more modern.”

Carney’s own home, which is also on the tour, gives a deeper insight into the architectural process.

Carney will be available both days to explain his process, which begins with analyzing the landscape to help his clients stick to the design restrictions of their subdivisions but concludes with a personalized development.

Some homes feature trimless detail, which Russ Weaver, onsite superintendent of Ridgetop Pavilion atop North Gros Ventre Butte, pointed out allows the interior to flow into the natural contours of the landscape. This same living space has 360-degree views of the mountains: Sleeping Indian to the east, the Tetons to the north and west, and the Snake River Range to the south.

Ridgetop Pavilion - Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes

Ridgetop Pavilion – Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes

The large number of windows that give such views demanded that Weaver and his team undergo numerous energy tests that may become commonplace in coming years. A pressurized blower test and hot-water-supplementing solar panels were among them.

The final product of each home is an exhibition of the latest developments of architectural creation in the realm of mountain modern. Showcase of Homes offers this look into the creative process and use of the latest technology to build cutting-edge work.

“Unlike Homestead Magazine, which is a static medium, the Showcase of Homes is experiential,” Jenkins said. “Not only do you get to experience the special design, but you can interact with the artisans who created it.”

Without it, the mastery would remain restricted to homeowners and street-corner tourists.

“They really want people to come in and kick the tires,” Carney said.

Tickets cost $75 each and are limited to 250 people to ensure a personal and quality experience while also giving the professionals the ability to answer questions from each visitor. Tickets can be purchased at JacksonHoleShowcase.com.

Personal Style: one work

> Story by Katy Niner
> Photography by Latham Jenkins

Distillation: Eliot Goss, “Logjam”


For most of his life, Eliot Goss has pursued two parallel tracks: architecture and painting. Educated on the East Coast (at Princeton and MIT), he moved west, landing first in Denver, then settling in 1990 at the foot of the Tetons. With architecture taking up 98 percent of his time, he carved out 2 percent for painting. Now, the ratio has flipped: He spends the majority of his time making art, reserving a small part for longstanding architecture clients. No longer as driven to sell his work, instead he is “trying to make as terrific a painting as I can.”

“Logjam” evolved over six months and three canvases. Last summer, Goss spotted this tangle above the String Lake outlet, a composition made compelling by the slab boulder, the rushing water, and the deadfall pile-up. He painted a 16-by-20-inch canvas en plein air and let it sit for several months. Come winter, he zoomed in on the log angles and dark flow. By the following spring, he moved up in size, creating the final composition. “I take what I learn from focusing down into the painting and then going large.”

Goss prefers “to paint right on the dividing line of objective and non-objective painting,” à la his favorite 20th century painter, Richard Diebenkorn, whose Ocean Park series also balances on that knife-edge.

Goss works with a painting advisor, his old friend Joanna Reinhoff in Colorado. An abstract artist early in life, Reinhoff now works in poetry, with an incisive eye she applies to his paintings, approving only a small fraction. Her main advice: Focus. Eschewing the Renaissance ideal of foreground, middle ground, and background, she tells him to zero in on the most compelling idea; disregard the deep space and bring everything to the surface. Goss reconsidered past paintings, magnifying small moments of success into new works. Thirty-four studies surfaced from this exercise, including “Logjam.” He said, “You get an entirely different painting. You abstract it naturally through the process of painting. … It’s changed the way I paint and changed the way I look at landscape.”

Goss paints in two-hour stints—bursts of creativity that suit his “impatient” artistic temperament. Larger compositions begin with an underpainting, often done in purple. Over this, he adds two or three layers. This was not the case, however, with “Logjam”: It worked, miraculously, with only one layer of overpaint.

Goss initially worked in watercolors, but switched to oils 15 years ago. Recently, he began applying a plethora of mediums to portraits, attending the weekly model sessions at the Art Association. His favorites—faces in charcoal and watercolor—line the foyer of his studio; the rest he returns to the models. After so much experimentation, he appreciates the tactile nature of oils.


Magnification: Bronwyn Minton


Bronwyn Minton does not abide by classifications of genre; instead, she adventures across disciplines, merging mediums and creating processes all her own. Her latest work, part of a group ceramics show at the Center for the Arts, blends drawing, photography, sculpture, and interactive installation. Creative in all avenues of her life, Minton spends her days working as the associate curator of art and research at the National Museum of Wildlife Art; nights and weekends find her experimenting in her home studio, playing with her son, Odin, or cooking with her husband, Mike.

Minton is fascinated with lenses: mythological, literary, and scientific. Although she studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, she has since stepped away from the camera. And yet, the act of looking remains crucial to her practice. Metaphoric in her mind, lenses frame a view, whether magnified or distorted.

For this piece, Minton sourced micaceous clay. The bits of mica lend sparkle, a dance of light
magnified by the lenses.

The installation’s design emulates the way Minton draws—the doodles she makes, the intuitive marks
on paper, the evidence of hand-to-eye communication. Equipped with components cast in her studio, she
composes her installations on-site.

Growing up with creative parents in bucolic Vermont, Minton’s childhood brimmed with experimenting and making. “I was always encouraged to try things and work with different ideas and media.” She carried this intrepid sense of inquiry with her into the problem-solving art program at RISD.

Minton builds large installations out of small pieces, akin to individuals making up a community or granules forming a beach—all models of magnification. She sees patterns: the play of tiny things, of light on water, of cells in organisms. “I use simple forms derived from nature as a starting point, often exploiting radically different scale, from the microscopic to the monumental.”

Through reoccurring experiments, Minton explores the interface between humans and nature. “I am fascinated by how mythology, literature, and science form lenses through which we have interactions with nature.” On hikes, whether around town or on vacation, Minton collects objects found in nature: seed pods, shed shells, botanical tufts. Her sculpted “specimens” grow from these ground finds, as she plays with scale, making the microscopic monumental, and through simplification, distilling detail into essence.


Look-See: Mike Piggott, “Another Place”


Wander into Mike Piggott’s world and stay awhile. There are no rules for interpretation; see whatever you see. Let yourself experience the art, as he always has: Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, schooled at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Winchester College of Art in England, Piggot now knows the mountains and forests of Jackson Hole.

Piggott observes art as he does nature: ever open to learning. At a recent exhibition of David Hockney’s new work at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, he felt awestruck by the artist’s refreshingly close gaze: One room featured the same stretch of road near Hockney’s Yorkshire home, reconsidered in all four seasons. Piggott felt inspired by how much fun the septuagenarian seemed to be having, pulling big canvases from his trunk and painting en plein air with the enthusiasm of a teenager. “Hockney is someone who actually looks at something,” he said. “He is painting about the process of painting and looking.”

As a painter, Piggott is prone to self-annihilation. “I can have a perfect little landscape and want to stick a tractor tire in it.” “Another Place” gave him an outlet for such instincts.
Some paintings are all-consuming and cerebral, where Piggott finds himself engrossed for a weekend. Others grow at their own pace, like “Another Place.”

A colorist, Piggott lets his paintbrush wander with associations. “Another Place” began with the log stump, which reminded him of Tootsie Rolls. The looping lasso
arrived soon after, the perfect perch for birds. The butter-colored fog seemed to ground the composition. Ever inventorying the imagery, Piggott describes this process as following his nose. He trusts his instinct to “toss an F sharp in there.”

Piggott paints from looking. “In the process of painting or drawing, you learn about what you are looking at.” While other works in his portfolio give clues to his surroundings, “Another Place” pulls from a place of automatic, almost formalist instinct. Like a collage, it accumulated elements over three years, with parts borrowed or morphed from other canvases. An orange paint mixed for another piece made him think of candy corn, and placing the cones close to birds felt right: Spotting a bird on a walk through the woods is, for him, much like being a kid in a candy shop.


Wild One: Amy Ringholz, “Living Proof”


Ohio born and bred, Amy Ringholz once spent a semester in the mountains of New Mexico and resolved to be as bold as nature in her painting. With her art diploma in hand, she drove west to Wyoming to explore the wildness she imagined. Flash forward 10 years and Ringholz had become a Teton trailblazer as the youngest artist ever featured by the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. Never one to rest on her laurels, Ringholz parlayed her Fall Arts triumph into a new career trajectory: A year ago, she pulled her paintings from most galleries and established Ringholz Studios with the goal of immersing art lovers in inspiration. Through events she produces and scholarships she funds via sales,
Ringholz shares her wild muse with the rest of the world.

The phoenix is the spirit animal of Ringholz Studios, specifically its Middle English variant, Fenix, and all its mythology. Fenixes are female; only one exists at a time; their life cycles are ash-born and blazing. Since launching Ringholz Studios, Ringholz has hosted a series of Fenixes, each event larger in magical scale. Last summer at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, she staged the “Rise of the Fenix” event and exhibition. “Living Proof” was the first piece she painted for her modern menagerie. Measuring 72 by 72 inches, it remains one of the largest canvases she has ever completed.

Three deer initially populated the painting, a trio led by the enduring yearling. Ringholz ultimately found the three too distracting, so she painted the followers out.

Keen to combine fashion and wildlife art, Ringholz imagined her animals as models on a runway. For inspiration, she turned to the pages of Vogue, studying the palettes used in the spreads. Those hues informed the circular forms that set the mood, or attitude, of “Living Proof.”

Another difference at birth: “Living Proof” began with a dark background as a stage for contrast. Quite the opposite: It swallowed the geometric design. Ringholz had to wait days for the painting to dry before she could return with white. Deliberately imperfect, she wanted hints of color to peek through.

Strong and daring. Loose and free. “Living Proof” now hangs at Ringholz Studios, the brand-new gallery manifestation of Ringholz’s vision. In its new habitat, surrounded by modern décor, the deer sings.