By Tammy Christel
For some time now, the Victor, Idaho showroom of partners Rush Jenkins and Klaus Baer's company, WRJ Design Associates and WRJ Home, has quietly turned heads.
Quietly around here, that is. In the most sophisticated arts, furnishings and estate auction circles, WRJ's dynamic work is not only well-known, it's in demand. This spring, Jenkins and Baer will open a flagship store in Jackson. Their 2,800 sq. ft. showroom at 30 King Street is set to open May 2012.
WRJ provides interior design, estate curatorial, exhibition and event design services; they are in the midst of designing a Hollywood Memorabilia Auction exhibition in Beverly Hills.
WRJ has confirmed it will design the exhibit around the sale of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” Among art history’s most significant works, “The Scream” is being sold at Sotheby’s New York in May. One of only four privately owned images of Munch’s work, it is expected to sell for at least $80,ooo,000.
“We are thrilled to have the pleasure of working with Sotheby’s,” says Jenkins. “It is a great honor to be involved with such an historic auction.”
Jenkins and I recently toured WRJ’s new space. "We’re working on five exhibits for Sotheby's so far this year,” he said. “One is for Brooke Astor's collection. Another is the Saperstein house, L.A.'s second largest home; the contents of which are being sold by Sotheby’s in April, among several other exciting collections this Spring and Fall. “We are also happy to already be working on several local interior design projects,” he reports.
Jenkins, an Idaho native, and Baer, from Georgia, are putting down roots in Jackson. Their new interior design showroom is about lifestyle. A series of partitioned rooms will evoke being in a real home, with spaces designed as dining, living and bedrooms. WRJ wants to provide visitors memorable experiences, and will carry a selection of fine furnishings and fabrics, including Ralph Lauren and Loro Piana. The store will be accentuated with a variety of objects from around the world.
Art and furnishings made by locals, that tie into the look WRJ wants to achieve, will be featured. The showroom's atmosphere will be achieved through combining a careful a mix of Contemporary Western elements with Classic flair, with a nod to Rustic ambience.
"We love the concept of layers; it makes what we do interesting," says Jenkins. "If you have a mix of things from contemporary to traditional, and it’s done in a vetted, beautiful way, it can be successful. We want to do that with our lighting, our furnishings, our objects and rugs. We’re trying to find the best that’s out there, and that doesn’t mean the most expensive; it just means really great design."
Jenkins and Baer believe in the importance of community.
“The Victor store has been a great success; we were pleasantly surprised that a lot of people from Jackson came over and asked us, 'When are you opening in Jackson? We can’t wait to see it!' We are excited to keep our Victor store next to Sun Dog Café, but Jackson will be our WRJ Flagship store, as well as our WRJ design office headquarters," Jenkins emphasizes. " We plan to bring in highlights from some of the auctions and exhibitions we have designed, as well as host events throughout the year, with book signings, lectures on art, design and interiors."
Most importantly, Jenkins and Baer want their new showroom to beckon visitors. As Jenkins describes it, "The space is meant to feel like someone’s residence…as if you are walking through a private home. As you pass through the store, you move from room to room, and will see a beautiful collection of antiques, art and decorative objects. We want you to feel like you want to live there…amongst luxurious wonderful things!"
Visit WRJ's website, www.wrjassociates.com for a look at some of their projects; the new www.wrjhome.com website is scheduled to launch this spring, or phone 307.200.4881. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.