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Is mountain design the next big thing?

NEWSLETTER / February 2023

CHAIR MAN Jeremiah Young, owner and creative director of Kibler & Kirch, is a modern Renaissance man. Along with his much sought interior design work, including major current projects in Colorado and Idaho, he is known as a guru of vintage cowboy style, and has been called on by Country Living to share his favorite “camp style” green paint and the Wall Street Journal for insight on designing with mounts. His Stapleton Gallery mentors rising Montana artists, and he brought Billings its first pop-up shop with Kibler & Kirch Presents. Now, Mountain Living provides a profile of Young as a chair designer – and appreciator – in its just-out March/April 2023 issue, where he discusses the crucial connection between anatomy and comfort and the “perfect yin-yang of masculine and feminine” in the best chairs’ lines, as well as the lure of timelessness, saying: “We want pieces that age so beautifully they only get better looking as the decades go by.”

IT'S A LOG STORY Architectural Digest has called WRJ Design’s remodel of a dated 1960s home on a Jackson Hole ranch a “perfectly updated log cabin,” notes Jackson Hole magazine, which interviewed WRJ co-owner and creative director Rush Jenkins about the log home renovation trend for its new Winter 2023 issue. “Although no longer the dominant force it once was in the Jackson Hole materials palette, there’s still something special about living with log,” the magazine writes. For WRJ, that includes modern treatments to refresh log homes while honoring regional roots. In one small example that speaks volumes, Jenkins points to the cabin’s fireplace of locally sourced river rocks, which offers “a nice, natural element.” While retaining that original appeal, the team updated the fireplace’s “heavy mantel of knotty, knobby wood … with reclaimed timber, which is lighter and has a simplicity to it that can be more contemporary in the Western vernacular,” Jenkins says. (PC: Eric Piasecki)

CAPTURED San Francisco Bay Area luxury publication Capture has again featured the work of JLF Architects in its new Winter 2023 issue (last year’s winter issue featured the team’s popular design of a Park City house that deftly combines historic rustic and contemporary elements). This year, the magazine turns its sights on a new Jackson Hole house that makes the most of its Snake River setting, talking with JLF principal John Lauman about how his childhood “steady diet of Legos” perhaps started him on the path to his now 26-year tenure with the firm. Lauman also discusses the importance of the firm’s Design-Build partnership with Big-D Signature and their sustainable approach to the featured “True North” house, including its relationship with its riverside site and the contributions of specific elements such as salvaged timber, regional stone, a new geothermal system and high-efficiency window glazing. (PC: Audrey Hall)


PR TIP OF THE MONTH Mountain design is “the new black”

National design editors, once mostly dismissive of Rocky Mountain West architecture and interiors, have begun seeking out regional work as not only relevant but popular with readers. While Covid wreaked havoc with designers’ schedules as supply chain issues caused major delays, the Westward expansion it inspired was real, encompassing mountain communities including Jackson Hole and Big Sky, Montana. Word PR client Susie Hoffmann’s Envi Interior Design introduced her fresh, fun take on Western contemporary – or “mountain minimalism,” as Mountain Living dubbed it – to the tony Yellowstone Club, “setting the trend for the whole community,” as an Envi client told the magazine. Says Hoffmann, recently interviewed for Big Sky Journal’s upcoming HOME issue, “I think design in Montana is on the leading edge of design nationwide.  We've seen a progressive body of work come from our state.”

Along with the raised national awareness, regional magazines – ideal for their ability to connect Mountain West clients with designers’ and architects’ most interesting work – have continued to grow. Last year’s Big Sky Journal HOME was catalog-thick and we look forward to the 2023 issue, while Cowboys & Indians is expanding its “Home & Ranch” section. We asked Mountain Living editor Darla Worden to comment on the trend: “Mountain Living continues to grow in size as we receive a record number of beautiful submissions from homes built in the Mountain West,” she responded by email. “We attribute the surge partly to the pandemic when homes were remodeled to fit the way we lived or new homes were built to reflect our new needs. I also wonder if the popularity of TV’s ‘Yellowstone’ with its spectacular scenery has spurred some of the growth.”

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