Today Ted speaks with Klaus Baer, COO of WRJ Design, an interior design firm he co-founded with Rush Jenkins in Jackson, WY.

Listen in as Klaus shares how he made the transition from Bear Stearns in New York to co-founding WRJ in Jackson and the inspiration behind one of his original home designs that evoked a “European aesthetic mixed with an American Western heritage style”.

Klaus reflects on his most memorable projects, including his exhibition work for a number of high-profile figures such as Nancy Reagan and Johnny Cash.

He touches on the idea of American excellence and how architects and designers can nurture that symbiotic relationship that leads to truly timeless works of art.

Klaus speaks on the WRJ brand and his partnerships with European craftsmen, and why he puts so much focus on soft skills or aptitudes when hiring new team members.

Finally, he talks about his and Rush’s experience publishing the book Natural Elegance: Luxurious Mountain Living.

Klaus Baer & Ted Bainbridge

Topics Discussed

  • [04:10] Klaus’s background and career in the interior design space
  • [15:39] How working with Nancy Reagan impacted Klaus and his foray into exhibitions
  • [23:14] What gilded age architecture can teach us about the American Dream
  • [26:14] How Klaus chooses his more “humble” projects apart from prestigious clients
  • [31:31] Partnering with European craftsmen and differences between different countries
  • [39:36] What most don’t know about doing photography for an interior design book
  • [48:14] Getting Natural Elegance: Luxurious Mountain Living published
  • [52:41] The importance of fostering soft skills among team members
  • [56:05] Skills that Klaus wants to impart onto the next generation of designers
  • [59:06] What Klaus is most excited for
  • [01:00:33] Klaus on how anyone can live the American Dream

Connect with Klaus Baer & WRJ Design

Key Quotes from Episode

  • It doesn’t matter the industry—excellence is excellence.
  • Something that looks great today has got to be timeless. It’s got to work 10, 15, ideally 20 years from now if possible.
  • As interior designers, we are very focused on the nuance of the human appeal of all the textures and tactile layers that go into the interiors that we work on. Architects are more interested in the form and the shape of the house.
  • Being an intern is probably one of the best things a young person can do to really understand if they want to be in the industry.

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