WRJ Design’s Rush Jenkins reveals the best tips and rules for renovating interior spaces

A newly opened layout by WRJ Design centered around windows and views, white walls and ceilings, and light oak flooring set the stage for a fresh interior with a Teton-inspired color palette (PC: Eric Piasecki).

“Homeowners want open, bright living spaces and a connection to the outdoors,” says Rush Jenkins, creative director of WRJ Design.

Based in Jackson Hole WRJ Design love nothing better than a new build project where they have the opportunity to collaborate with the team of architects from the ground up, offering feedback on every detail, from the layout of the space to the landscape to lighting design. However, building land is scarce in Jackson Hole, where national parks and nature preserves leave only 3% of land available for development. As a result, WRJ’s project mix has changed in recent years to include up to 30% renovations, with clients choosing to purchase existing homes and renovate them.

While these older properties can provide a solid framework, “tastes have changed over the last five years, let alone the last 20 or 30 years,” says Rush Jenkins, creative director and co-owner of WRJ Design with his partner and COO. Klaus Baer. “Homeowners want bright, open living spaces and a connection to the outdoors, but many existing homes are dark, with log walls that have weathered to an orange hue and clunky, broken floor plans. .” The company is adept at transforming outdated spaces into interiors that live and feel the way homeowners now want them to – sleek yet relaxed, with an easy flow for entertaining and living in and out. Below, Jenkins shares some tips that can help ensure a successful renovation.

Go all out. “Renovations shouldn’t be done on a piecemeal basis because once you refresh one room, the others look outdated,” says Jenkins. “I always say let’s dive in and do it all. It may seem overwhelming at first, but customers are always thrilled at the end. ” A award-winning house came about when future owners stopped to look around the WRJ showroom. Jenkins recommended a home he knew in the popular Snake River Sporting Club community with “great potential” that had been abandoned due to the recession amid its construction in 2009. Fast forward to the “soup aux nuts” where an all-new interior design has created a calm and soothing experience tailored to the needs of the owners and filled with extraordinary pieces from both international and local artists. The home’s potential realized, it received the 2018 House of the Year award from Mountain Living magazine, who dubbed it “Fairy tale finish.

Brighten and brighten. When the owners of a slopeside Four Seasons residence at the foot of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort wanted to spend more time skiing and vacationing with their family in the mountains, they turned to WRJ Design to transform their townhouse dated in light and airy retreat they imagined. “We reconfigured the 3,280 square foot two-level, 3-bedroom residence to be more usable and livable, brightening and opening up each room with fresh colors, clean lines and new materials from floor to ceiling and everything the rest,” says Jenkins. Solutions included eliminating unnecessary walls to bring logic and flow to a confusing, compartmentalized floor plan while gaining natural light from enlarged windows. The team also removed heavy crown molding and used a warm white paint for the walls and moldings, adding functional and decorative lighting wherever possible. Reclaimed oak floors in a natural tone replaced the old black-stained floors, and white-painted cabinets and light-toned quartzite countertops replaced the predictable wood and granite in the kitchen. A palette of blues, greens and natural tones have been woven into the interiors, inspired by the surrounding Tetons.

Honor history. “While modernizing a space to adapt it to current lifestyles and tastes is at the heart of most renovations, it is important to retain and enhance the original features that have value in “the story” of a home or that particularly resonate with homeowners,” says Jenkins. In the case of the new owners of a 7,500 square foot Jackson Hole cabin once owned by Wyoming “cowboy governor” Clifford Hansen in the 1960s, the team at WRJ Design were asked to honoring the heritage of the region while bringing authenticity to the house in a modern style. way. To reinvent the classic log cabin, WRJ brought the palette of sky, mountains, trees, and meadows into the warm-hued interiors, letting natural light accentuate the meaningful artwork. Suede couches in the great room face the locally sourced river stone fireplace with a striking elk mount as a tribute to the area’s wildlife; in the dining room, painted plaster and upholstered chairs brighten the tone, defining the space in contrast to rustic logs and clogging. Meanwhile, a “glamorous bathroom,” requested by the wife, provides a luxurious sanctuary with marble-slab walls in patterns and colors that suggest the surrounding mountainous terrain. Architectural Digest took note of the sensitive renovation of the property by WRJ Design, calling the resulting project “perfectly updated log cabin.”

Consider the scale. “A simple, cohesive material palette helps a small home read bigger, while well-sized furniture and unique pieces add personality without overwhelming the space,” says Jenkins who, along with partner Baer, undertook the renovation of a small guest house in their own neighborhood of Jackson. The duo reimagined the early 1950s home with lots of charm and rooms telling tales of their own travels, gutting the interior and adding white tongue-and-groove walls contrasting with dark stained oak flooring. Reclaimed barn wood beams on the ceilings and a fireplace made from stacked stone from an Idaho quarry bring a distinctly regional sense of place.

Plug it in. Another renovation consideration, as important in a small guesthouse as it is in a sprawling parsonage, is upgrading technology. Expanding electrical capacity, including increasing outlets and considering necessary items like Wi-Fi, should be part of the initial planning and bidding process, Jenkins notes, because what was sufficient in past decades does not match today’s high-tech needs. He also suggests replacing basic on-off switches with dimmers to create the perfect mood in every room of the house.

Make it a team effort. “While the idea of ​​a remodel may seem simple, remodeling projects can be more complicated and challenging than new construction because you’re working with in-place elements and existing issues,” says Jenkins. “Choosing the right team, who work well together and are used to solving problems, is crucial.” A townhouse in Jackson Hole has undergone an extreme makeover from WRJ Design in collaboration with Vera Iconica Architects and Shaw Construction to transform outdated rental property into a dream retreat. The team updated not only all furniture and fittings, but also interior finishes and plumbing, even movable walls and moving parts to create a space that meets the owners’ needs. One of the biggest changes to the project was the kitchen, which received Shaker-style white cabinetry, reclaimed wood, polished Taj Mahal quartzite, a custom steel range hood, glazed tile backsplash and the addition of an island of 10 feet by 5 feet. Getting creative with the existing square footage, the WRJ Design team borrowed space from an overly large bedroom closet to augment a small living space, providing more space for the family to relax.

About WRJ Design:

Based in Jackson, Wyoming, WRJ Design conveys the distinctive serenity of its local Teton landscape to interior designs in Jackson Hole and across the country. WRJ was born out of a passion for great design by Rush Jenkins and Klaus Baer, ​​who create experiences and environments through inspired design. The team offers owners timeless reflections of their collections by combining the work of regional artisans with finely crafted European furniture and accessories, and unique pieces rich in history and sourced from around the world. A three-time winner of House of the Year, WRJ has been featured extensively in the media, including Architectural Digest and House Beautiful, as well as in their popular book, “Natural elegance: luxurious mountain living” (2019, Vendôme). For more information, visit wrjdesign.com and follow @wrjdesign on instagram.

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