Watch Rush Jenkins and Klaus Baer show you how to create an inviting atmosphere with special holiday details. Jenkins and Baer, award-winning interior designers and authors of Natural Elegance share their philosophy and stunning photography of their gorgeous interiors. Jenkins and Baer, of the Jackson Hole-based firm WRJ Design, create interiors infused with a unique elegance—a vernacular versed in the beauty of the wilderness combined with sophisticated contemporary design. Juxtaposing a warm palette with rugged elements, they create homes that have a deep connection to the natural world just outside the windows.
Read below for a full transcript of the conversation.
Kellie Abreu - Good afternoon. It is my privilege and pleasure on behalf of First Republic to welcome you here today. I'm Kellie Abreu, deputy chief banking officer for First Republic. One of my areas of oversight is our Jackson Hole market. We've enjoyed doing business in that very special community for just about two years now. And during my frequent visits there, I was lucky enough to forego a, or forge a warm friendship with this creative and energetic duo. Rush Jenkins and Klaus Baer are award-winning interior designers who began their practice in the beloved mountain town of Jackson and have expanded bicoastally with our clientele to many of the urban markets that our bank serves. Together, they have created a very special look and feel with a focus on enjoying our homes and making them comfortable during these unusual times. They successfully intermingle new pieces with antique and bring the great outdoors in, showcasing phenomenal natural views and balancing rustic elements with modern simplicity. Today, we've asked them to share the philosophy and stunning photography of their handsome interiors. And a few things to note. Rush and Klaus just won "Mountain Living’s Home of the Year Award for the third time, which no one else has ever done before. They previously won in 2016 and 2018 as well. And their amazing book "Natural Elegance" was published last fall by Vendome Press and has entered its fourth reprint. We can't wait to see how Rush and Klaus will show us how to create an inviting atmosphere styled with special holiday details. Rush and Klaus, I'm turning the mic over to you. Welcome, my friends.
Klaus Baer - Thank you so much, Kellie. It's great to hear your voice, as always. And I really want to extend a very special thank you to you, and to the First Republic family. You guys have been phenomenal, and we really, really appreciate all your support and encouragement for us. And hello everyone today. Thanks so much for joining us and taking some time out of your busy schedules. It's actually a snowy day here in Jackson. So hopefully we'll find provide some backdrop scenery that might be inspirational for you guys. My name is Klaus and my partner here, Rush. We'll just do a very quick introduction of ourselves, and not going to talk a lot about us. We're going to hopefully jump right into some really great imagery that you'll find really inspirational today. So, I grew up in the East coast. I grew up in the North Georgia mountains and really have a fondness for the mountains still to this day. And also, my father was Austrian. And so, I had the great fortune of spending a lot of time in Europe growing up. And I think over that time, even as a young kid, I really developed a great fondness for the Old-World classic and charm sensibility of interiors and just antiques and just the general sense that you would find there. So being in Jackson is something we really have loved to do and really embraced being in the mountains. And then Rush, we'll let you tell you about your background.
Rush Jenkins - So I grew up in Idaho, just the neighboring state, on a farm. We farm several acres of wheat, potatoes, hay, and yes, every night morning I got up and milked 50 head of cows. And that was one thing I was so excited to leave at the age of 18. And so, I fled, and to California, where it was warmer, and to pursue a degree in landscape architecture. I was there for 11 years, practiced landscape design, and then decided I wanted to further my graduate work in fine arts. So, I applied to graduate school in London and with Sotheby's and moved to London for two years. While I was in London, I interned for the auction house in the the European furniture department. It was quite an extraordinary experience. And I have to say in all my career what has really been pivotal is my time in London. You know, we studied every day, country houses, we'd go to country houses, we'd go to museums. We would go through tons of lectures. It was just an incredible time to really embed myself into fine arts. From there, I was hired to work at Sotheby's in New York, and became the director of design of exhibits. And that was quite the experience. In that role is the opportunity to see not only the collections of all the luminaries and people who have collected extensively like the Kennedys, the Mellons, Bill Blass, but the opportunity to also see the interiors and the architecture and how those individuals were able to hire the best. And for us to be able to work hand in hand with those collections and also bring them to life at Sotheby's. In 2000, actually, I met Klaus. A short stint in my interview from London to New York, and it was I love her first sight and we became partners in life. And then also eventually in 2008, 2008, I think, we were designing the exhibit for the presidential Reagan library. And we had decided we were coming, we were in Jackson, and then through Yellowstone was that point we decided we wanted to really return to the West. My love and Klaus' love of nature has always been part of our DNA. My family were one of those original settlers in Southern Idaho. My mother was from ranching, my father was from farming. And so, I grew up loving the land. And so, I really wanted to return to the land that I grew up in and also bring back all the experience and expertise that I had collected over many years. So, when we were in Yellowstone, we decided that we would move here, and there's no better place to be inspired than the gates of Yellowstone. And Klaus, of course, being part Austrian and spending a lot of time there, we felt it was the right move. And so, 10 years ago we moved our company here and it's always been the philosophy and the DNA of WRJ to embed all of our interiors and everything we do with nature. So, the environment of nature is extraordinarily important to us. And this project here is a great example. We had the opportunity to work with BCJ, who designed the Apple stores. This is a home in Jackson and this office is surrounded on three sides by glass just overlooking the West, all the mountains. And you see the sunsets. If one doesn't get inspired here, I don't know how you get any work done. I wouldn't, I would just sit up there. And then actually in this picture here you can actually see that area that juts out on the right-hand side, that is that office cantilevered over the house. Spectacular setting, actually. And then they're up on a view. So, you've got this crazy view across the field and across all these beautiful grasses. Oftentimes there's a herd of elk coming through. So, it's a true testament, I think, to the setting and the place and just the environment. And then I love this picture here. It does remind me of my farm boy days. And so I think that, you know, when you connect to nature I think now, when we're all, you know, been sequestered in our homes and COVID has been such a big factor in the last eight months, being connected to nature and fresh air and having that opportunity to think and to process and to connect spiritually back to the land I think is super important. And there are so many things in nature that we can bring into the interiors. And we do that in collaboration with architecture teams. This home here is actually on 30 acres next to the Snake River. And I would love to have Klaus tell you a little bit about this story.
Klaus - This house has a crazy background. So, you have to, I have to give the clients credit because this used to be literally a rock quarry. And there were cars, there was a school bus that was just dumped in it. I mean, it was a trash heap. And they somehow had the amazing vision to see that this could be a beautiful pond once it was landscaped, they've built this spectacular home here. And as you actually walk in the front door you see straight through across this pond straight up to the Grand and up the Tetons. It's a spectacular setting, very calm. And there's a picture we'll show you in a few minutes, it's kind of a surprise dining room. So, we'll get to that in a minute. Many of the homes we do here are, you know, inspired by materials that are connected to the region. Farm wood is often used, stone that comes from various parts of the region, hardwood floors that are, you know, varying finishes and varying woods. So, there's lots and lots of elements that we bring into the interiors that help, and you want the home to really feel like it's part of the land and that it's inspired by the land and by the area. So many of the homes that we have the opportunity to do are definitely inspired by that. Like this one you see here on screen, and this, I have to say, is one of my most favorite bedrooms that we've done because who would not want to open that big giant door and look out every morning and have, looking across the field of grasses up to the mountains, kind of cuddled up with this really cozy fur blanket that we have. And the two chairs that we have on either side of that Ottoman are a beautiful mohair. It's very soft. So, there's also a trick a door here. There's a screen that can drop down. So, you can literally go glamping from home and come up with your cashmere but look out to the land. So, it's a really great example of how you can really bring literally the home right inside and feel like you're living in. This is a great example, also, of another house that we did here in Jackson, the architect was JLF out of Bozeman. We've done a lot of projects with them. In fact, there's four, four or five, I think, in our book. And the what's so great about working with them is that their philosophy of working within the environment and being inspired by the environment and creating homes that feel like they have been born from the environment and been there for years and years and years over generations is what I love about their firm. And this is actually a master sitting room with a fireplace that juts out, overlooking the Grand and the thin grasses and then aspens nearby. And so, you're, it's not uncommon that the client will be here having a cup of tea and watching the wildlife go by, just like this moose, this fella here. He actually was a little guy that sprung to life right after we finished the photo shoot. He had been about 20 feet away from the photographer and the team as they were shooting outside. And these guys are, can be aggressive, actually. They're not like cows. They can be pretty pretty mean. So, you have to keep your distance, but he got up, he startled everybody. And then he kind of moved just off into the aspen grove. But this is definitely something that we know is not common in most places in the country but certainly something we were able to really enjoy and have our clients help them enjoy in their settings and their homes. I think it's also; you have to remember that we're part of their environment. We're their guests, they were here long before we were. And so, when you, it's respecting, you know, that harmony with nature. This is a great project that we had the opportunity to do. It's a barn that was inspired by old historic barns in the area and done in a contemporary way. So, you have the steel trusses, and you know, this huge glass and steel wall that looks out to the Grand. It's certainly inspiring to be able to work out here. I think, again, during COVID, you know, all have sequestered to our homes it's the perfect opportunity for many of our clients like this one to be able to exercise and be inspired and feel that serenity.
Rush - So this is that shot I spoke of a few minutes ago. This is that dining bridge that's part of that home. And I'd never seen anything created like this, frankly. I think it's completely unique. And this again was a JLF project that we worked with on, and so you can notice here that the bridge is actually a room, it's the dining room, but right now the doors are retracted. Like accordion doors, they just retract. And when they're closed, it's just all glass and steel. And the only thing you have to be careful of is that you don't tip back because you might end up for a swim in the middle of dinner. We were lucky enough to have dinner here with these clients, really lovely folks. And it's a beautiful room. It's a stunning location. I don't think I've ever experienced any place where I feel more connected to the right outside in the middle of dinner, if it's spectacular. So, it's really important that things in places like this next project that you do, we are always looking at nature. What's color palette? What is the sky, what is water? What are all those elements that we want to bring into the fabrics, into the finishes and, you know, and also bring into the textures. You know, we're, as humans, we're all about our senses. And so, what are you touching? What are you seeing? What are you hearing? This is example of these windows that are below, they tilt. So, you can imagine in the morning when you're waking up, you're hearing the water coming by, and it's not uncommon for this client to, when they're waking up, to see a moose or elk having a sip of water there. But it's that connectivity that really, I think, connects to our soul, really connects to our essence. And we have so much fun in doing that for our clients, resonating, finding out what resonates for them, and figuring out how that then resonates with the environment and also with the architecture, because it all needs to melt together in harmony to create the greatest experience for whoever's going to be living in this home or visiting this home. So, I think in our projects that's one of our greatest joys. So, you know, the other thing is about comfort. You know, so oftentimes it, you know, we can talk about the environment. We talked about nature and how it inspires, but ultimately a house is where we live day in and day out. It's where we have our families, where children run, where we have dogs that are playing, where we have, you know, all kinds of activities that are happening. And it's very, very common, actually, for our clients to ask us to use materials that are durable, that are going to be resilient. We have two Newfoundlands, not small dogs. They're about 120 pounds each. And so, we know all too well what it means to have something be durable to dogs. And so mohairs, walls, linens, this environment right here, you'll see this sofa is done in mohair and has those fur pillows. And so, there are, they wanted to have an elegant room, but they also want it to be livable. And this has had lots and lots of use. I love it when we've had some projects where clients have dumped wine, bottles of wine or glasses of wine on the rug, and it just goes out to be cleaned and it comes back, and it was great. So that's a testament to the materials and the durability of that.
Klaus - Yeah. There's got to be a lifestyle factor here. And I think this is a really good example of it. It might not be apparent at first, but you know, this could easily have been a wood table or a glass table that was colder and harder, but just by using a cowhide on the top, it really warms it up. And it's actually also very, very durable along with that beautiful throw on the sofa there, you know, it just becomes this really interactive, tactile kind of room. Same with these pieces here. The Native American box, excuse me, on the on the wood, on the stone there, covered with the beautiful blanket and the wall there. It just gives a sense of texture and sensuality that, you know, a home should have that. It should evoke that when you're walking through it.
Rush - Absolutely, and I think that, you know, one of the things that we are always looking for is how to make a place feel serene. How do we make it have that harmony, serenity, that Zen sort of feeling? Bedrooms are one of the greatest places to do that because that's where we want to relax. This is a great example. This is a home that we did in Yellowstone Club, and it's looking out to the mountains and it's framed by these really beautiful linen drapes. But you have linen here, you have cashmere, it's in the room as well as the fur on the bed, the really buttery leather that's on the headboard. And then the color of the chairs was inspired by the blueness of the sky's color in Big Sky, Montana. So, the credenza underneath the window, we love working with craftsmen and it's not uncommon that we'll do a custom piece that's made by local craftsmen or regional craftsmen. So, this piece is a maple front with, it has a bronze surround. And then the lamp we found in Paris is this beautiful piece of stone that has been incorporated into a lamp. So again, it's created all these elements together to create a Zen and harmony. This project here, the same thing is that how do we, there's varied clients, varied projects, from very contemporary to very rustic and that's, I think, the one great joy that we have in our firm is that we get to work across a very broad spectrum of projects and styles. This one, they loved antiques. They really wanted to incorporate antiques. They wanted to have also very rustic elements. There's a ton of stone. There's this incredible mantle that's made out of limestone. And then it has these white plank wood floors, bronze windows. And so, for us, it's about how do we bring the harmony of all those elements into the interior? With really soft leather, those blue leather chairs. They swivel and turn to the fireplace. So, you know, when you have a fireplace like this you absolutely want to turn and look, but the beauty of this fireplace is you actually can look through this fireplace into that dining room that had the doors that were, or the windows were all open. The sofa is a blue cashmere and then the table is an antique piece. So again, it's about comfort. And this is a couple here, by the way, that has had a dogs and kids and lots of wine spilled on things. And they just take it in stride and have it cleaned.
Klaus - Yeah. Yeah. So, this, in contrast to that last image, which is just so interesting to me, you know, this again is in the mountains, but this looks much more contemporary. The setting and the lifestyle of this is a far different viewing than the last one. But at the same time, we've incorporated that walnut, that beautiful walnut wood on the fireplace wall with the inset bronze that wraps the fireplace itself. And then that chair in the foreground you can see with the really beautiful wood background, and it's got a, I believe it's cashmere or wool fabric?
Rush - Wool, yeah.
Klaus - And really comfortable. And then the sofa itself is a really wonderful mohair as well. So for us, it's all about having this I think really great opportunity to bring a lot of the materials that I think a lot of the people throughout the rest of the country can't necessarily use because it just might be not appropriate, like a wool. You're probably not going to see that as much in the cities, but out here it is absolutely right at home. So we're really lucky to bring these wonderful textures and textiles into the projects.
Rush - Absolutely. And this is a great example of pattern. This rug was inspired by Native American patterns and it's a wool rug, but then on top of that, we designed this coffee table made of walnut. So it's a live edge walnut coffee table. And then the sofa, even though it's a contemporary sofa from Poltrona Frau in Italy, but it has these beautiful fur pillows that really bring in the warmth and the textures again. So this is a great example of bringing some natural elements with the orange floral piece on the left. Even the cocktails were coordinated here, but at the end of the day, it's about all the layering and about all the textures. And it can be very, very subtle, but I think it's the layering of many of those things that will make it interesting.
Klaus - Art is critical. Rush is going to have a lot to say about this series because of his background with Sotheby's, but I'll just say, you know, I think it's important to remember that art does not necessarily have to mean expensive. It should mean what you love. It really should be about collecting the pieces of art that integrate with something that speaks to you and that is different for all of us. And I think that's really important to remember and stay true to. So why don't you talk about this?
Rush - I have to say having been at Sotheby's and worked with Sotheby's on all these collections for so many years, when a collection comes to us from Sotheby's to design the exhibit, for example, the collection of the Mellon family, that collection had many Rothkos and it has some extraordinary paintings from Matisse, across the board. But the thing with art is you have to look at it, as Klaus said, first and foremost, what do you love? If you're able to collect what you love, then you're going to enjoy looking at the art every single day. And that's what's really meaningful. So collect art first and foremost that you love. And then it's extraordinarily important that you look at art in the context of the environment where it's being placed. There is a magic that happens when you put the right art within the right place. And if you don't, the art's not going to sing as much as it could. And nor are the pieces, the furnishings are also going to fight. So understanding scale, understanding the size, understanding the palette, understanding the color, the content, all those things are really important. So this is a project here that, this project was, again, the BCJ. You have this concrete that's very cold and very rigid but then this is a piece that is, was designed by an artist, a very important artist out of Japan. And this is actually woven paper that has incredible, it looks like it's actually fabric, but it's softened this space. And so art isn't just what's on the wall, it's also objects. And this is a great piece of that. This is also another great piece. This is, I'm actually looking from the living room across the staircase, through a window, into the dining room, within the interior of the house.
Klaus - It's almost an optical illusion. You kind of can't figure out where you are. It's really interesting how they did this.
Rush - Yeah, it's a really, it's very, very, very unique and the art piece was unique because it is framed. It's the right size, perfectly the right size. The pallette of this is inspired by not only the interior materials of the concrete but also the exterior materials of stone, the sky, the sage, also the grasses, you can see that all through the piece of art. And we were able to find that that stone bowl that we were able to place on the table and it actually has the same textures and materials that you see in the art piece. And so we're constantly striving to find out what's the harmony and the connectors between the various objects, whether it's the painting or the objects or the architecture or the furnishings and the fabrics and the exterior. So this is a great example, also, of an art piece that was commissioned by the owner. This is an artist out of Montana and he really loved this piece and wanted it to be front and center. And so we wanted to make sure that what we did for this interior was complementing the art and not fighting with the art. So many of the fabrics that we used, the textures that we used, were inspired by this art piece here and as such, I mean, this does become a focal point of the room.
Klaus - One thing I think is really interesting about that piece of art, actually, Rush, is, you know, you could look at that and it's a very kind of Westernesque landscape but if you had changed the frame of that and it had been much more sort of a traditional element it would really change the way you experienced that piece of art. So even though that's a little detail, it's a big detail because it does make a difference in how you experience something.
Rush - For sure. There's been many, many times when clients have brought us their art and we have to reframe them because they may have an ornate frame that just doesn't work anymore with the interior that we're doing. So a frame can either detract or add to the beauty of the art.
Klaus - This is one of my favorite homes, actually. Really lovely couple that we had the great fortune of working with. And they happen to have an extraordinary collection of Aboriginal arts, one of the most precious in the country, apparently. And so the idea here was how do we make that artwork shine at the same time making it a really comfortable, beautiful interior. And so the way we achieved it was through a lot of playing around with the pallette. As you see here, this just kind of like neutral tone sort of sofa or settee there. And how that plays all through our work, I think, is a really nice dance. In addition to that, the pallette throughout the rest of the home is in that similar vein. And you can maybe speak more about this room.
Rush - So this is another one of the Aboriginal pieces. In fact, both of these are, and you could see where this is important that when we consider the art, if a client has the art collection already in place or they're working on it, we want to see it. We want to work with it. So the pallette that we have here in this room was very much taken to, inspired by the piece of art. We brought out the oranges in a subtle way. We also, with that pillow that's in the center of that sofa, where the detail is of the small detailing of the stitching and the craftsmanship there is similar to what you see in the art piece or the details that go into that art piece. So it's important to have, you know, the right finishes, the right pillows, the right accessories that help do that. I love this piece, this is one of my favorites, this droplet of water in this photographic piece. This is an amazing piece because we were able to look at the beauty of this, the harmony of what's happening in the water, and we wanted to bring that droplet into the chandelier. So the chandelier are droplets of glass and the globes are in varying sizes and we wanted it to be in harmony with that piece, but then we also, let's take it a step further. Let's do the same thing whereas if the droplets of the chandelier are dropping onto the table. So we designed this table where it has bronze embedded little droplets that kind of float along the top of the table. Really exciting when this all came together. We also designed the rug, so it was a little bit like water and the client was really, really happy. And that's where it's great to do, to take a piece of art and to figure out how do you make it not cliché but how do you do those subtle things that people may or may not notice that they're all kind of together?
Klaus - Yeah. So this is an extraordinary piece here. I'm going to just speak a minute about. So what hopefully you can begin to see here is this is obviously a metal structure, almost like a framework that you would see a skyscraper made out of. It's all copper, and then the little fuzzy parts that are scattered throughout there are actually, you'd never guess it, but they're actually the seed heads that the artist went out and pulled apart, you know, out in the field and glued every single one of them to a little light bulb. So there's a little LED gel light source right in the middle. So we basically recreated all the little dandelions and they're interspersed within this metal framework. And we actually found this when we were on a personal trip or design trip to London, and we saw this, like, this would be phenomenal to use in this project. And here you can see it implemented in their entry foyer, which is a really beautiful, wonderful way to welcome your guests, if you can imagine. And so what you can't quite see here, because the rug wasn't finished in time, unfortunately, is we continued the spirit of the little dandelions into the rug. It was a custom design rug that we did. And it looks as if they were kind of being blown across the rug surface. So it was kind of a play, you know, there's a double play there, but a really interesting piece, truly artisan, if I've ever seen something.
Rush - Yeah, I mean, this is a great example in that same home where the architecture was so beautiful. The sensuality of this staircase through the curves was just amazing, all the plaster. And so we wanted to find a fixture that would compliment the curve of the staircase. And so this is again from carpenter's workshop. This is a fixture that's made of acrylic with a bronze top and the light is embedded into the top of the bronze. And so you see on the picture on the right, they kind of dance and and intertwine as you go up the stairs. It's a 25-foot-long fixture and it's a three-story staircase. So we wanted it to be something that you, as you climb up the staircase, or you're descending down the staircase, that you're experiencing similar sort of curves as the curve of the staircase. And so it becomes an art installation, in a way. It has a function of a light fixture, but really, it's an opportunity to do something much more special than just a light fixture. And we had thought about the droplets of light that you see a lot, but this was something much more unique and ultimately very appropriate to this space. This is another really fun opportunity. This is actually a painting of elk in the elk refuge in the mist here in Jackson. And this is done by Catherine Turner, who is one of our our local treasures as an artist. And so this was a special commission for this client, and we wanted to have the interior of this dining space inspired by this piece of art. And the antlers of the elk in the spring, I think it's the spring. They have velvet on their antlers that they end up shedding. And so we ended up doing velvet inspired, where the fabric as velvet and the colors inspired by the color of the antlers. And then the tabletop is stone. It's actually out of Belgium. And then you see on the island, it is quartzite. So there in the mist of this painting you see all those colors and those tones. And then the quartzite has this iridescent quality. It's really beautiful. And so the chandelier also has facets of quartzite connecting that to the island.
Klaus - So collecting, and we've talked a little bit about this today, and you know, this particular image is dear to our heart. It's our home, actually. And the painting, which is actually behind us, we love. We found it in New York and it's got just this beautiful tranquility, elegance to it that we always loved. But as I mentioned earlier, you know, one of the, I think, most important things to remember about collecting is this should be personal, personal to you. And those two little bears, those little statues sitting there, are two that Rush had gotten for me way back in 2000, I think seven or six. We had completed the exhibition design for Geoffrey Beene's personal collection and those were in that collection. So we got them at Sotheby's and gave them to me for the holidays. So just something very personal that no one would ever know, you know, that history, that story, but it was fun to have. And then those walking sticks that you see over on the left are also interesting. They're just interesting. There's a lot of different elements going on there. There's one that's actually a snakeskin, another one that is an ax. There's another one that's a kind of a claw from a bird. So it's just, it's really about creating interests. And oftentimes they spark really interesting discussions and conversation.
Rush - But the most prized piece in this entire photo is our dog, Buddy.
Klaus - Yeah, he's the cute one in the front. He's no longer with us, but he was a sweetheart.
Rush - He was a rescue. This client, they had a tremendous amount of art. They had also had collected, you know, the bases. They had collected furniture. They had been collecting Danish mid-century modern furniture. And so the two sofas are that, and we had them reupholstered in a mohair, but then this room really shows you how you can take a collection of like the pots and collect them on the coffee table, or, you know, it really is about the placement and how you try to accentuate the collection, making sure there's harmony between every element within the room. And for example, the ibex which is on that table, it's by Ashley Tudor, she's out of San Francisco, and it's a solid bronze skull that is just really beautiful. It gets the stone. So, you know, there are ways of which to work with a collection, to accentuate the collection, and to be sensitive to everyone's, to that collection. Because I think at the end of the day, when you collect something, you do it out of a, hopefully you do it out of passion and love. And so I think it's important that you believe that it's displayed in the same manner. And then there's also ways of which you can, you know, use rooms in various ways. And this is about using a table in various ways.
Klaus - Yeah, this is a great example, I think, of a multi-use room that we helped them to figure out. They have a dining room, a proper dining room across the room, but this was more of a library, kind of like a game table, almost like a homework table. Take your pick. You're looking out to actually one of the slopes at Jackson Mountain Resorts. This is a slope-side mountain home and the family has kids. So they needed space for homework, for, you know, a workspace for a laptop. And so at the same time, the way we've decked it out here, something that Rush loves to collect is books. It's almost like a kind of a library. So you can transform spaces fairly easily, and especially the way that everyone's spending much time now with the Zoom calls and the COVID issue. I think it was a great way to approach a room, the flexibility that might have for your lifestyle. And then, you know, really when you are collecting it's not only just about, you know, the objects, but sometimes it's also about how when you're out, I think many of us have done that when we've been on the beach and we collect shells and we bring them home and we put them in a bowl, you know, this branch that we put in them center of this table it was just from outside in the area and cutting it. But what is really wonderful is that when you're able to create it in an environment like here where we do the palette of this beautiful cream linen drapes and then put this branch on there, you know, it just has, then you really see a clean palette in the back to really appreciate the beauty of the branches and the architectural element of those branches. And I think that that's, you know, part of the collecting is what is a way to bring out the simplicity of an item as well. This is, again, just showing some of the details that we combine in this room where it has, they had this beautiful little bowl that they'd collected and this, you know, not an expensive little deer, brass deer, but those moments and how they're put together can be very charming. And I think that that's what's important. It doesn't have to be always important and always expensive. But what I also do love is, you know, when we are designing various rooms, it does come down to the little details like that chandelier, you know, those are art pieces into themselves.
Rush - Yeah. And I personally love to work in the kitchen. And even though this is a tiny little guest house that we did and the kitchen's even tinier, it is such a charming little place to, you know, clean up your dishes or cut some tomatoes or whatever. We've got an old master painting there against the wall. And these really old, wonderful bowls that we found and the texture, I love the texture of the granite on this. So for me, it's a lot of the times about, you know, the actual experience of all those little materials that you interface with on a day-to-day basis, those are what bring you joy, I think. It doesn't have to be this big, giant motion, you know? It could be something that's very subtle and just meaningful.
Klaus - And then finally on this one here, you know, we all have these moments sometimes where we have bookcases and we have places where we want to place objects and it's not uncommon for clients to come to us and say how do we display these book cases? How do we display these shelves? There is an art to definitely doing that. And in this case, it would've been simple to just fill the shelves with books and call it a day. But it's actually an opportunity to create a moment of discovery. And, you know, years ago, when I was in landscape architecture, I studied abroad in Japan. And that philosophy was so much about the half hidden, half seen, and also the discovery. And I love to compare it to a great novel, you know, a novel that you, the only way you can get to the end of the novel is to read page by page, chapter by chapter. And that just unfolds in such a beautiful way. I just recently finished the book "The Boys in the Boat", which is truly amazing. I recommended it to anyone. It's just an amazing story of the Olympians in 1936, the boys that went to Washington. So, but that discovery, and I think that those sort of elements that are really important about, you know, how do you display? So they had these books and they had these objects. So we artistically put them into this bookcase here, but it's also kind of complimented by the art piece to the right. And when I saw the art piece and how we did that I thought, okay, there's a great opportunity to kind of have there be a slight relationship between the two. So bringing it home to the holidays, happy holidays. This is actually on the cover of our book, actually. But the reason we included it in this presentation today is that, you know, people think that they have to go out and spend $1,000 on a Christmas floral bouquet or something for flowers. And that's not the case. Honestly, there's so many things that are right outside the door. And this was an example of that. This is actually a crabapple tree that we have in our yard. And we were like, hey, let's go grab a couple branches and we'll bring them in. And they just worked out, they're beautifully staged. This has again, kind of been the philosophy of that Asian kind of very simplistic flow of design, I think. And you can probably speak more about that since you studied that.
Rush - Well, I think that this is, again, this came from, as Klaus mentioned, you know, this is something from the yard. And I think that, you know, it doesn't have to be expensive, but when you put something together just in a very artistic way, what I love about this, it does have a Japanese-inspired, you know, kind of the asymmetry of the branch.
Klaus - It's like ikebana, kind of.
Rush - Yeah, and the placement of the two little vases. But, you know, that's just a simple way to do it. And then this is, you know, again, getting ready for the holidays, you've got your blanket, you've got your cup of tea or your coffee or hot toddy. And this is actually a client that this house was, we had the fortune of having it published in "Traditional Home" last year and it's ski in, ski out. And so it's not uncommon for them to sit here and watch their kids ski by. And so it's, you know, the holidays are all about bringing family together.
Klaus - And who wouldn't want to come and spend the holidays here. I mean, this is such an inviting front entrance of a home. I love this one. And what's interesting is if you notice, if you've been paying attention, this is the very first log cabin, log style type home that we've included. So I think one thing that I've taken away over the years is when we first moved out here it was very much more of a heavy presence of more of these log homes. Now we're seeing a little bit of a resurgence because things have gone more contemporary and now, they're coming back a little bit, thanks to the show "Yellowstone", if anyone has watched that. I think Kevin Costner has made that whole feeling very popular. This is this the same home, I think.
Rush - Yeah, the inside. So making that environment welcoming. The little gift on the table, you know. There's just little moments, you know, you can drop your coat on the bench. You know, it's just, it's small moments that you can create in your home for the holidays that can be meaningful. It doesn't have to be too fancy.
Klaus - Yeah, I love the sectional grid that we put together, we thought it would be a nice way to just demonstrate a bunch of different ideas that we all probably see around the holidays. Rush and I tend to be very much attracted to kind of the timeless classics, I guess you could say. One of my favorites here is that upper right image of that wreath, it's a new take on a hurricane, glass candle hurricane. They're actually inspired by elk antlers. and they're made in glass.
Rush - Deer antlers, yeah.
Klaus - And just a really beautiful, simple form and shape. And then that lower middle image I also think is really great. We've got kind of that classic setting of, you know, the white dinner plates. You've got the silver and the glasses, some greenery, but in this case it's actually set on a stone tabletop which has got this great rusticity to it but at the same time, it just, I don't know, it feels like the mountains. I love it. It's really great.
Rush - In fact, you've shown here where, you know, it doesn't always have to be about the red and the holidays. This is just a really simple, very calm, you know, the white of flowers. And this is on that stone tabletop with, you know, so it's about getting together for the holidays. It doesn't matter what religion you are but it's about, you know, how are things composed? What's what's the warmth and the love at home? And how is that also expressed through the table arrangement? How has it expressed through the items that you choose? You know, that's what really, really matters, especially in these times. And so this home, the next slide you'll see is this really wonderful interior that, this was in "traditional Home". And it's just, it's about, you know, the tree, we love decorating trees. Christmas trees, that's one of our passions, it's one of our things at Christmastime. We have this little village that we've been collecting over the years, but here, this is, you know, showcasing how can trees be seen a little bit more connecting to nature because this is a larger tree with two small ones and that's how they grow. They're varying sizes in nature. So it's just a simple expression of Christmas. And so on that note.
Klaus - On that very happy note, we want to thank, again, the First Republic team and everyone for joining us today. Happy holidays.
Rush - Happy holidays.
Klaus - To the end of this crazy year we've had, cheers. I think we're going to stick around here for a few questions, if there are any. Happy to answer anything that comes along, so.
Kellie - Yeah, we do have a few questions that have come in. One's nice and practical. What factors go into making a couch or sofa comfortable? The depth of seating, the material, the softness, the firmness. What do you think?
Rush - I think it's mostly the make-out factor. So, yeah. You know, it's interesting, because what I might consider to be comfortable you may consider to not be comfortable. So we, with our clients, we do vet. You know, we've sat in thousands and thousands of sofas. So when we show something to a client most clients are most important in comfort. And so the style is equally important, but it also cannot be the thing, style cannot supersede comfort. And so it's the level of down, it's whatever they feel it is. It could be a tight cushion. It could be a, you know, a down independent cushion. But I think that that's so much about the process when we're with our clients, we take them on on a sourcing trip and we have our clients sit in every single piece of upholstery so there are no surprises. So when it comes to their home and the house is installed, they've sat in that and then it's, you know, then they're going to just love to sink into it. I had one funny story. When we first moved to Jackson, we did this house for this couple that were just starting to date and we did this gorgeous sofa and it was all upholstered in cashmere. And he was really wanting to have something that she would love. She was not aware of this, what the ultimate sofa was going to be. So we installed the sofa. We were there, she came home at that very moment and she literally crawled on that sofa like a cat. And I turned and I'm like, okay, this is success.
Kellie - So good. We have a question here about pallette. So we noticed that you gravitate to a neutral palette. Do you think that helps the kind of calm and serene vibe that your spaces seem to have? And we're wondering if you ever go with like a, you know, vibrant color and a punchy pattern or if that's just not your aesthetic.
Klaus - That's a really great question. And we do get that question asked, if you look through our books and our website, you probably will see a thread throughout. And I would venture to say the thread that we use is more of a harmony. we aren't the design firm to use giant movements of color. We like to use pops of color and have a pallette that is serene and just harmonious as kind of the backdrop. But what we're also able to do, and it's hard to tell through the pictures, but when you get up close and personal into these homes there's a tremendous amount of texture that we use. And that registers to your brain. So when you're actually walking through it, the color palette might be more kind of, I guess, in the same direction, but those textures are going to really pop out and they're really going to read very differently. Do you want to add to that?
Rush - Yeah, it's a very good question, because we have been asked that and we have incorporated pops of color into projects. I recall a project that we did, it's in our book, you'll see that the daughter's room was, they wanted it to be really lively, really bright. And so we did this really beautiful pink headboard and it was really beautiful at the end of the day. It was a pink and white and cream scheme. Another client really wanted a ton of color in the bedroom for his daughters. And so we did a tremendous amount of purple and lavenders, because we also ask a lot of questions of what are your favorite colors? And then we can create these pallettes of these interiors that will resonate with the client. Also color, if you do a neutral background on something, color is a great way to bring in pillows and throws, those pops of color so that, you know, that sofa could have a life that's much longer, and it's not so keyed into one color and you can always change out the pillows and change out those things a lot less expensively.
Klaus - Yeah.
Kellie - Great, great. My, it's so funny. My question was, do you ever go high-low? And I'm laughing because in the chat one of our clients is asking do you ever have any recommendations for companies who bridge elegance with value, for people who aren't yet able to afford luxury? So it's a nicer of saying my sentiment. You know, do you believe in that or do you, do you stick with the best of the best all the time?
Rush - That's a really good question. I think that that is probably, by looking at the photographs, she's like, oh my gosh, they only do high. But the reality is is that actually we do a blend. So we'll create a very extensive budget for projects before we ever start to shop. And a line item is attached to each single item that's key to a floor plan. And when that budget is approved with a client and us and then we source to that. So we try to figure out where, and it's not uncommon that in the common spaces where it's going to be the living room or the master or areas, the public spaces where the clients will spend more money and then, you know, kids' rooms they'll want to spend less. And so not everything has to be at a high level. And quite frankly, there are a lot of really beautiful things that can be purchased that are at very good price points that aren't going to break the bank. And so, you know, don't let cashmere and mohairs, those words scare you, because there are varying levels of that but there are also other materials that are really durable and really great, like Ultrasuedes. And, you know, for kids, if you have a kid's bedroom and you know there's going to be a ton of traffic, it wouldn't be uncommon for us to maybe put something that's going to be more resilient in those bedrooms.
Klaus - Yeah. I would agree with all that. I don't know what has happened in the last five to seven years in the textile industry but it just seems like there has been a flood of really wonderful options for us to choose from and, you know, really great things out there that we can bring into projects at various price points. One thing I do want to say though, on quality, is that I think when you're doing, people do approach their homes, their second, third or fourth homes differently than their primary, but always keep in mind quality. If you can afford quality, buy quality once instead of buying lack of quality twice or three times or four times. Sometimes it's appropriate to look at it as a short-term when kids are young. And we know that in, you know, eight years when the kids are older or they're graduating that you might want to refresh at that point. So you're kind of trying to get through those phases of when, you know, the babies, the crayons, throw up, and everything, but quality, there's a lot to be said for buying a quality piece and then having it reupholstered. Yeah.
Kellie - That's a great approach. Okay, well, I think we have time for just one more. What is one thing that people can do today to improve their living space?
Rush - De-clutter.
Kellie - Oh, I love that.
Rush - That's probably the number one thing you can do to improve your living space is to really just de-clutter. And I think the other is to really surround you, and then when you do that decluttering, keep the things that really mean something. You know, it's one thing to just have a ton of stuff in the room that is meaningless and it's just decoration, you know? It's another thing to really have meaning into the things that are there around you. And then right now, you know, I think it's important that we create various spaces where people can work independent, you know, multiple-use spaces like a bedroom where you might put a desk in a bedroom. Oftentimes we'll put a desk next on one side of the bed and then the nightstand on the other so that you can have, you know, ultimately you want to have spaces these days that can be used for more than one purpose.
Klaus - Yeah, I totally agree. I totally agree. And the thing with the decluttering, Rush is better at that than I am. I have to agree with him though. If you walk into a room and it's just decluttered, it just feels Zen. You know, I mean, I hate to say that, it sounds cliché, but if it's cluttered to the point where your eye can rest on and see certain objects that are in there, especially if they're interesting, your brain registers that space very differently than if it's just filled with a lot of stuff. And somehow just this wash of tranquility, I think, comes over you. So for what it's worth, I would say de-cluttering is a good one.
Rush - Another one that's interesting is we recently were at a a conference with a bunch of designers that are very close friends of ours. There were 11 of us and we rented a house and sequestered ourselves. And one of the designers, she has a business called Finding Sanctuary. You should look her up. Her name is Lisa Kahn, K-A-H-N. And she brought to all of us a candle that was part of, with this most amazing, subtle smell. I'm not a candle person, but this candle has such a subtlety and an earthiness to it that was wonderful. And we've, in the last week we have, you know, just by lighting that candle and putting it next to the computer or lighting it and putting it on the coffee table, it transforms the brain.
Klaus - It transformed it, yeah.
Rush - That one little thing really transformed the experience. And so little things like that, I think, are really important, where it might be crystals. It might be a candle. It might be whatever it is. It might be flowers is a huge one, too. If you can just go to the grocery store and buy flowers and put them in a vase and that will transform a space, that will have a transformation in how you feel about it. A bunch of tulips, amazing. And pillows and throws. You know, you're going to be sitting on your couch, you're going to be in your home or in your bed. So buy things that you're going to want to touch and wrap yourself in, there's going to be a sort of nurturing that you give to yourself by doing that, if that helps.
Kellie - Thanks so much for that insight. Thank you all of our guests and clients for joining us today. We hope you enjoyed the presentation. And thank you Rush and Klaus for showing us true beauty and inspirational design. You have us so excited to hunker down and snuggle in for the holidays. We are so grateful to you for giving us your time and insight and for sharing as generously as you did today.
Rush - Thank you.
Klaus - Our pleasure.
Rush - Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts. We really appreciate you all listening today and giving us the opportunity. And again, thank you to First Republic for this opportunity. We are really, really grateful, and.
Klaus - We love you guys. Thank you.
Rush - Happy holidays to all of you. Stay healthy.
Klaus - Stay healthy and well, for sure. Thank you.
Kellie - Farewell, everyone. Thank you.