Have a Seat With Chair Designer Jeremiah Young

A Montana interior designer embraces the joys of sitting
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Jeremiah Young, chair designer and creative director of Kibler & Kirch, is pictured with a miniature version of the Jackson chair, a gift from the Old Hickory Furniture Company. | Photo courtesy Kibler & Kirch

Anyone who has ever been stuck sitting on an uncomfortable chair—and who hasn’t?—knows how irksome the experience can be. Instead of enjoying a conversation or savoring a tasty dinner morsel, you’re busy wiggling and squirming in search of a sweet spot that likely doesn’t exist.

Profile Antique Navajo Chairs

This image from a previous Western Design Conference depicts Old Hickory Leanback chairs upholstered in vintage Navajo rugs that play against one another as a collection. | Photo courtesy Kibler & Kirch

Jeremiah Young has made it his lifelong mission to guarantee that discomfort never happens to his clients. The chair designer and creative director of Kibler & Kirch interior design, Young makes sure every seat offering in his Billings, Montana, showroom provides the optimal sitting experience.

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Equally at home in a cabin or loft, this Butte chair and ottoman were designed by Young for Old Hickory in collaboration with Forsyth Art. Rustic in its upbringing, the design’s straight lines create a modern look. | Photo courtesy Kibler & Kirch

“Designing a chair is complicated, and you really need an understanding of anatomy,” says Young, who fell in love with the art of furniture making while growing up in Tennessee and watching his grandfather craft tables and chairs. “Things like the way a chair meets your lower back and having arms that give your hands something to do are all part of good chair design.”

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The Great Falls chair for Old Hickory is a celebration of wood and woven leather. | Photo courtesy Kibler & Kirch

Among his personal favorites is the Great Falls chair. Named for the eponymous Montana city and inspired by the movement of water, it is fashioned from bent hickory and supple woven leather and shaped to match the flow of the human form. “You sort of pour your body into it and get totally relaxed,” says Young about the creation he designed during his years as creative director for Old Hickory. The venerable company, incorporated in 1899, is known for rustic furniture associated with places like the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. (Fans of the popular “Yellowstone” television series can spot many of Old Hickory’s enduring designs in the Dutton mansion.)

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This Jackson chair is a custom creation in the spirit of furniture designer Thomas Molesworth that Young designed for a show house at the Western Design Conference in Jackson. The classic wingback surrounds its occupants with privacy and comfort. | Photo by Audrey Hall

In another homage to Montana, the Lolo chair, named for the town of Lolo—located near a historic Lewis and Clark campsite—is fashioned from hickory saplings with a sling of Pendleton wool backed in leather. “I imagined the explorers had camping chairs like this one,” says Young about his design.

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Young displays a miniature chair. | Photo courtesy Kibler & Kirch

According to Young, it’s chairs like the scaled-down Ludon chair, described as “a small footprint but a big sit,” that restore your faith in sitting. “These are designs that magically just seem to fit everyone,” he says about the rugged leather juxtaposed with the carved wood frame that is the perfect yin-yang of masculine and feminine. “The best chairs feature sturdiness with a feminine line,” he believes.

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Young’s top picks for interiors include the carved wooden frame of the Ludon chair by Classic Leather and its striking but subtle shape. | Photo courtesy Kibler & Kirch

The curvaceous lines of the classic wingback chair resonate with Young for the same reason, in addition to other attributes, most notably the “wings.” Originally included to shield the occupant from drafts or to trap heat from a nearby fireplace, that same feature makes them optimal for intimate conversation. “Two wingbacks facing each other capture the sound of someone’s voice while blocking out distractions,” he says.

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Young claims this mohair velvet chair by Gabby with a leather gimp is “probably my most favorite place to sit ever.” | Photo courtesy Kibler & Kirch

But while comfort tops the list of good-chair criteria, the word “timeless” comes up again and again as key to the ideal end result. About his own and other designs destined to become family heirlooms, Young says, “We want pieces that age so beautifully they only get better looking as the decades go by.”


Categories: Furnishings & Accessories