Designing vacation homes requires “a different mentality” than creating primary residences, Hoffmann tells BOH. “You have a license to have a little more fun and maybe be a little less practical.”
BOZEMAN, Mont. (PRWEB)
August 26, 2022
The respected media of record for the American home industry, “Business of Home” is considered a must-read by designers across the country, and selects editor-in-chief Kaitlin Petersen’s annual “50 State Project” – a candid conversation with one admired designer of every American state – a prestigious honor. This year’s choice to represent Montana, founder and creative director of Envi Interior Design Studio, Susie Hoffmann, has become a go-to mountain vacation home designer for the state’s exclusive Yellowstone Club. Her recent Business of Home interview follows her somewhat uneventful New York City-to-Bozeman, Montana, career trajectory—Hurricane Katrina played a role—as well as delves into her focus on wellness in design and new Envi projects far out of state .
Hoffmann’s interest in the more meaningful, well-being aspect of design was sparked by a personal struggle. “I had a really serious health problem that just stopped me in my tracks. It was the kind of thing that makes you reevaluate your life,” she tells BOH. “At first I was like, ‘Wait, why am I doing design? How can I help other people?’ Then it became, ‘Wait, design can help other people.’” After graduating from Parsons, Hoffmann worked for famed New York designer Clodagh, where she learned about feng shui and chromotherapy, and began looking at design with the approach of “How does your home affect your health? How does everything around you affect your well-being?”
After a brief plan to establish a business in New Orleans, upended by Hurricane Katrina, Hoffmann made her way to Montana, where much of her family had moved. Although she loved the big-sky country, she wasn’t sure the Mountain West feel was a good fit. “I just came from working in New York for one of the top designers in the world. Meanwhile, it was all about rustic log construction here in Montana, which wasn’t my jam,” she tells Petersen. “But it was actually a great place to start a business — and I was weirdly ahead of the curve, right? Montana is booming now, and has been for a while, but it wasn’t quite there in 2006 [when Hoffmann founded Envi]and what I really tried to do was to introduce a completely new concept and style of design.”
Hoffmann was lucky with early customers who were looking for more than the then-ubiquitous “fancy log cabin.” They were building a Japanese-inspired spa and pool house in the resort town of Whitefish, Montana, intended as a wellness center and art gallery all in one. The vision matched Hoffmann’s philosophy and experience perfectly and, then just 30 years old, she was entrusted with what would become a beautiful – and often publicized – project. “We are still in contact,” she says. “I feel like they took a chance on me, and it was a great thing to be able to start my business with a project that was and still is very highly rated.”
The pandemic has brought an unprecedented real estate rush to the Bozeman/Big Sky area of Montana where Hoffmann lives and works, and Envi has designed several projects in Yellowstone Club, a CNN pick for best private ski resort and retreat for bold names. Designing vacation homes requires “a different mentality” than creating primary residences, Hoffmann tells BOH. “You have a license to have a bit more fun and maybe be a bit less practical,” she says, comparing the approach to hospitality design – another area where she has expertise, including her Scandinavian-inspired design for Nordic Brew Works in Bozeman and a view-focused clubhouse at Big Sky’s tony Moonlight Basin. “It’s short-term,” she says of the more playful outlook on holiday homes. “I think people are often looking for something that has a little more benefit or more fun.”
In a residence called “Blue Bird Powder Day” that Envi created in the Yellowstone Club for a Bay Area client, for example, requests for “fun” and “hip” design features led to a three-story glass staircase, glass “peekaboo” windows in the floor and a trapdoor leading from the lounge directly to beds in the bunk room below. Blues and pinks and whites, colors seen in Montana skies after a snowstorm, inform elements throughout the home in furniture, cabinetry and artwork.
While rejecting the notion of limitation to traditional Western aesthetics, Hoffmann has learned to embrace the West in ways that allow for contemporary style to make a statement while continuing to honor the region. “I think it’s so important to have the context of Montana—we’re here, so let’s embrace the palette and the materials,” she tells BOH. “But you can do it without going too far in the Western direction and in a way that is still forward-thinking and contemporary. We can draw inspiration from Scandinavia, and it can still be Montana—it can still be a mountain house, but it doesn’t have to be ‘the American Mountain West.’ Why not look at what has been happening in Switzerland for centuries?”
Recently, Envi’s work has expanded far beyond Montana. Hoffmann, whose global experience dates back to summers in Germany with her cabinetmaker grandfather and architect uncle, is working with an international construction team on an ultra-luxury oceanfront project in Mexico, and recently brought the entire Envi team to Salone taken. [del Mobile] in Italy to see what’s new. “I am very excited about the scope of the work we are doing. It’s not just Montana, and it’s not just contemporary style in Montana – it’s contemporary Envi Design style in Mexico,” she tells Petersen. “It’s so exciting to be able to live here and appreciate the lifestyle and the beauty of Montana, but also explore different styles and types of architecture.”
About Envi Interior Design Studio:
For Susie Hoffmann, interior design is about the total experience of space, balancing all the senses in a holistic approach that respects architectural cues and a sense of place, while expertly intuiting the client’s individuality. Her Envi interior design studio, which she founded in Bozeman, Montana in 2006, has become a go-to resource for homeowners looking for homes that promote an active lifestyle and connection with nature at nearby Big Sky and the exclusive Yellowstone Club. as well as in coastal California and Mexico. Envi’s sophisticated mountain elegance pairs an undeniable element of fun with a commitment to wellness, promoting peaceful and joyful retreats for residential clients. An Interior Design Best of the Year finalist and Luxe 2020 Gold List honoree, recognized annually on Mountain Living magazine’s Top Mountain Designers list, Envi also designs occasional hospitality projects, including Yellowstone Club’s Moonlight Basin Clubhouse and Bozeman’s Nordic Brew Works. Follow Envi @envidesign on Instagram and for more information, visit envidesign.com.
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