The Jackson Hole home of designers Rush Jenkins and Klaus Baer is a lesson in insightful curation. The couple, who have lived in picturesque Wyoming for a decade and lead WRJ Design have brought their timeless aesthetic to an array of high-end homes, as seen in their book, Natural Elegance: Luxurious Mountain Living. But for their latest project, they revamped their own guest house, filling it with thoughtful memorabilia, antiques, and local flair.
Cue the fall colors, apple cider and elk bugling: It’s time to pack up and head to Jackson Hole.
While Jenkins was raised just 90 miles west of Jackson Hole in Idaho Falls, Wyoming, Baer grew up in the North Georgia Mountains. “Around 2009, we were hiking near Yellowstone and looked at each other and said, Why don’t we move out west?” Baer recalls, after years of living in New York City. They yearned to bring that same cinematic scenery into their daily lives.
They soon fell in love with a cozy stone-and-reclaimed wood cottage, built circa 1952 and surrounded by decades-old spruce trees. Their neighborhood, Gill Addition, a unique area four blocks from the town center, also happens to border the National Elk Refuge, a 25,000-acre parcel home to elk, bison, swans, eagles, trout, and enviable sightseeing.
At 2,000-square-feet, their two-story guest house had plenty of potential but featured “finishes typical of the 1960s, that weren’t at the level of the aesthetic we were hoping for,” Jenkins says. By gutting it completely and adding white tongue-and-groove shiplap, oak flooring, and reclaimed barnwood timbers, the home has become an uber-cozy retreat that feels as if it’s straight out of an autumn fairytale.
The decor is all about embracing the natural elements and layering history. In the living room, the central hub of the home, there’s a fireplace with stone from a nearby Idaho quarry, a 1892 trophy head from the collection of German emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II, a glass-topped yardstick table the couple purchased in the Hamptons, and an array of 1700s art prints from prolific Italian architect and artist Piranesi (purchased at Christie's).
That warmth and evident attention-to-detail continues throughout the rest of the home. The kitchen was likewise gutted, though the layout was kept intact. There, they went with white Shaker cabinetry, Sub Zero appliances, and a paneled refrigerator. The small breakfast nook, like the living room, is a treasure trove of antiques, such as the recovered cowhide chairs they got from an auction. If you look closely, you can even spot sketches from Baer himself he completed while in school at Parsons School of Design.
“It was fun to create this little oasis,” Jenkins says.
In the front of the home, the two created an art niche that provides views straight to the backyard, while a Mother of Pearl and walnut credenza sits in the foyer. “I love this piece,” Jenkins says. “You have this little cabinet and it doesn’t take up much space but it’s super interesting and elegant.”
In the main bedroom, Loro Piana drapery surrounds the room with luxury. There’s a crane painting by local artist Kathryn Mapes Turner (which holds special meaning to the couple, as cranes mate for life), plus a book with the first writings of Martin Luther from the 1500s.
While there are too many stunning pieces in this home to pick a true stand-out, the couple have aced its design and proven that meaningful curation takes time.
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