Every year, the Western Design Conference is held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming showcasing art, fashion jewelry, furniture and home accessories and interior design. Led by Executive Director Allison Merritt and her talented team, this conference is the perfect opportunity to experience the influence of the West and Mountain States through one-of-a-kind installations and some of the most exemplary interior design you’ve ever seen.
How to Blend Southern Hospitality with the West
This year my Charlotte-based design company, Anne Buresh Interior Design, had the privilege of participating in the Western Design Conference Designer Showhouse. Locally sponsored by B & B Builders and Deanna Briggs of Sotheby’s, the Designer Showhouse featured five empty rooms and a hallway. The hallway and each of the five rooms were designed by separate expert interior design companies. I was honored to design one of the rooms in the Designer Show House.
Alongside established resident-area designers, I was tasked with designing the room to embrace both western design and my own design sensibilities. The space started out as a completely blank slate. I had two goals for my space – to make the room feel elegant, inviting and comfortable and to cohesively blend my southern hospitality with the West.
Design Tip 1: Use the Environment to Inform Your Design Choices
There is an endearing saying in Jackson Hole; “People come to Jackson for the environment, but they stay for the people.” I can personally attest to how warm, welcoming and authentic the people of Jackson are, but I also experienced first-hand why the environment is such an integral part of life in Wyoming. With its beautiful dusty blue snow-capped mountains, its wheat-colored grasses and its colorful Aspen trees, Jackson Hole connects you to the Earth and your surroundings.
Use colors and textures found outdoors to inform the colors and textures used indoors. At the Western Design Conference Designer Showhouse, I took cues from the magnificent outdoors’ subtle colors. While the dusty blue pillows on the sofas represented the dusty blue from the surrounding snowcaps of the Teton mountain range, the soft neutrals and wood tones used were inspired by the tall billowing grasses and Aspens of Jackson Hole. The area rug selections – a luxurious hand-knotted Oushak rug over a custom diamond-patterned seagrass rug – also brought in the colors of the gorgeous Jackson Hole outdoors, but in a soft and subdued manner. I was honored to have this space awarded “Best Interior Design” at the Western Design Conference.
Design Tip 2: Use Accessories to Blend Two Different Looks
Use accessories that integrate both looks in one. I chose one wall of the show space to blend traditionally framed art with Western-inspired art, using a skull and horns alongside works featuring colors from the surrounding environment, including a painting of a pair of dusty old Western boots. The neutral linen drapes brought an organic quality to the space, while the alabaster lamps and accessories pulled in colors from the upholstery and tables.
Add accessories that speak to each view or wall of a space. One of my favorite pieces in this showhouse space was the artwork above the wood console. This abstract painting pulled in all the colors of the environment, while the horn lamp gave a delicate nod to the West. The slip-covered ottoman and saddle colored Hermes blanket brought a richness and contrast to the neutral color story.
Design Tip 3: Ensure a Successful Design Ratio
Create a balanced look by thinking about ratios. When two styles seem to be opposing each other, balancing them is important. Try not to give more weight to one look versus the other. Instead, add several elements that speak to both styles.
Combining two different design looks is possible if you are strategic about it. By using sources of inspiration and carefully considering the sizes, shapes, colors, patterns and textures of your furnishings, you can achieve a blended look that is seamless.