An Artful Couple & Their Jackson Home
A thoughtful space where a photographer and painter can age in place in the thick of the Jackson art scene
Photos by Audrey Hall
It started in Montalcino, Italy. Each year since 2005, Ed and Lee had been living in the hill town for weeks at a time, Ed teaching his elite photography workshop and Lee painting en plein-air. They loved their life there—being part of a community that felt like family, walking everywhere, making friends with shop owners and restaurateurs.
When they returned to their home in sleepy Wilson, Wyoming, from Italy in 2013, Ed said, “What would you think about moving into town?” Lee replied, “I’d been thinking the same thing.” She was thrilled.
They’d lived in Wilson since 1990, when they owned the award-winning Riddell Advertising agency, commuting 20 minutes to their office in town. Since selling the agency in 1999 they continued to commute, serving on boards, attending art openings, and enjoying the outdoors. Ed served as a mentor for young businesspeople in Jackson, and Lee was a partner in Trio Fine Art for six years. When they found the lot in the middle of town in a traditional neighborhood just three blocks from Snow King Mountain and around the corner from the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts, they were charmed by the central location. And it was on the north-facing side of the street—“It’s all about the light,” Ed says. “For artists, light really means north light.”
They contacted Will Bruder, the architect who had designed their advertising agency office building and their Wilson home. Ed and Will collaborated on the new house, creating a thoughtful space where the Riddells could age in place in the thick of the Jackson art scene.
“It’s about living an intentional life,” Ed says, sharing his mantra. “It was our intention to create a home to take us through the next stages of our life.” It would include a room for Ed’s beloved printing press and working studios for Ed and Lee on the ground floor, with movable partitions for hanging their work that could be transformed into a guest room or, in future years, a caretaker apartment.
Special touches include an elevator from the ground-floor entrance to the second-floor living quarters, again with thoughts of their later years in mind. “It may be the only residential elevator in town,” Ed says. And Bruder placed windows that align perfectly with the spring and fall equinoxes, an intentional detail that was important to the Riddells to mark the changing seasonal light.
The Riddells are firmly entrenched in the Jackson community. And now the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts, a variety of restaurants, the post office and Town Square are within a five-minute walk. “People said, ‘but you’ll hear the noise from the brew pub!’” says Lee. “And we said, ‘We love the noise from the brew pub.’”
Do they miss the pastoral setting of Wilson? “It could be a lonely place,” admits Lee, who is enjoying the “town” lifestyle. On Friday afternoons in the summer, Lee hosts art lessons for the neighborhood children, who love coming to her studio. “Check out this photo,” Ed says, holding out his phone to show a circle of lilacs around the base of a young aspen tree planted in their yard. Shortly after the Riddells moved in, they found the wreath. “That meant so much to us,” Ed says. “It was a welcome gift from the neighborhood children, inviting us to the community.”
At the entry Picasso’s quote “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls” sets the tone, with artwork displayed salon-style along the stairway.
The upstairs space includes a tokonoma to display book art, an open room for living/dining/cooking, and a master bedroom and bath. The balcony provides a connection to life on the street in summer.
Light floods the living room, with slot windows east and west for privacy. A natural gas fireplace warms the space and invites conversation.
Shadows dance on the wall behind the butterflies.
With room for eight at the table, the Riddells enjoy entertaining and invite guests to join them as they prepare meals in the spacious kitchen.
“I Think I Grow Tensions,” poppy pods in resin, by Mayme Kratz, is a focal point in the dining room area.
The master bedroom is spare, with radiant heat in the floor for warmth.
Ed, Lee and dog Tosca enjoy the studio downstairs. Moveable panels, on wheels, can create different room configurations including a guest room when needed. The studio includes a galley kitchen and a full bathroom.
Snow King Mountain provides a beautiful backdrop.
The lilacs surrounding the aspen trunk were the neighborhood children’s welcome gift to the Riddells.
The side entries offer Lee and Ed an opportunity to meet their neighbor Agnes Bourne and trade stories or celebrate the day with a glass of wine through dog Tosca’s fence.
ARCHITECTURE Will Bruder Architects