The Joy of Home

Our homes are our refuge, now more than ever. As we shelter in place, we are given the unique opportunity to slow down and focus on what’s truly important in our lives, to assess our values, and to live with greater intention. Although our world has become restricted in ways that most of us have never experienced before, we can embrace this challenging time and view it as a chance to enjoy our homes in new ways, connect with our families and friends, and support our greater community. We must find the beauty in everyday life and recognize the sacred in it all. 

Family is the heart of the home, and for so many of us, we commune in the kitchen or around the table to eat, talk, or play games. We are fueled and uplifted by connection with our family and friends. In this time of isolation, it is imperative that we continue to nurture our need for togetherness and create lasting memories within our homes. One way to do this is to plan a Skype or Facetime dinner date with friends or family members who are far away. Set a beautiful table, grab a bottle of wine, and enjoy an evening together. 

Your dining table may be known for its lively dinner conversations, but during isolation, it can also serve as the perfect place to have a seat and meaningfully bridge the distance with those you love. In this time of electronic connectivity, we often neglect to take the slow approach to communicating with our loved ones. Write letters. Send cards. Encourage your kids to draw pictures or write to your extended family and friends. When our worlds are confined to our homes, the mailbox can bring us unexpected joy and connection.  

Spending a lot of time at home can really bring things into focus. Over time, our homes become a repository for our lives, and before we know it, we are burdened by things that no longer serve us. Take this time to evaluate the things you are holding onto and why. Sometimes less is more. Clearing out unused things not only helps declutter your home, but it also provides an opportunity to reflect on the things you do value and relive cherished memories in the process. 

Although we may be confined to our homes, the world is at our fingertips. Take this opportunity to learn and grow. Feed your soul. Take a virtual tour of a museum or learn a new language. Enlist your friends and family to join you in this process of discovery. We may be physically apart, but we are better and stronger when we do things together.  

Please join us next week to peruse our couch chronicles and our favorite items to have on hand during a lockdown.

SRI Celebrates International Women’s Day

On this International Women’s Day, we encourage you to join us in celebrating the achievements and accomplishments of women, reflecting on how far we’ve come, and recognizing that the fight for equality is an ongoing one. At Snake River Interiors, we are an all-women team that is passionate about design and our shared goal of bringing beautiful and thoughtfully designed homes to those families with whom we work. Although we hail from different backgrounds and have had vastly different life experiences, our team shares a common aspiration—to do our best work, while continuously learning and growing as professionals and women. We are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, aunts and colleagues, and we are powerful beyond measure in all aspects of our lives, both as individuals and as a team. When women get together, we can move mountains! And we can also design your dream home.   

On this special day, we’re celebrating women working together and creating an environment where everyone can thrive, by reflecting on the power that comes from working on an all-women team. Meet the women of SRI: 

Elisa Chambers, Owner and Principal Designer 

“I didn’t start out with the intention of having an all-women team–it happened organically. But it makes sense: Women are incredibly strong and capable.  They take care of each other in the workplace, in the home and out in the world, because they are empathetic and nurturing. Thanks to these qualities, women create productive and effective work environments, where every member of the team is empowered to grow and succeed.” 

Cheryl Askegreen, Textile Librarian 

“Working on an all women team gives us a unique advantage of open collaboration in which each designer’s voice is heard. The comfortable atmosphere fosters creativity, as we all work to support each other in creating an artistic vision for each project.” 

Christine Baum, Interior Designer 

“There is a great joy that comes from working on an all-women team. Women are not only smart and skilled, but also thoughtful and caring. Our natural strengths in nurturing others, combined with our strong work ethic and professionalism, create a work environment where individuals feel challenged, encouraged and supported.” 

Carmen Bonilla, HR and Office Manager 

“Having an all women firm strengthens our team dynamics. We can communicate and share our opinions without the need to feel competitive. We value each other and learn from our different perspectives and ideas, without having to worry that we will be overshadowed by the male counterpart. Our team is strong, because we are all professional women who work hard and are passionate about the success of our firm.” 

Carissa Cannon, Interior Designer 

“Getting the chance to work with other women with different design backgrounds and career and life experiences is uplifting and unique. Although we are all very different, we listen to each other, value each other, challenge each other, encourage each other, respect each other, give each other strength and confidence, and, most importantly, support each other. Everyone is not only passionate about what they do, but we all teach each other so we can learn and grow.” 

Miriam Garcia De Alba, Business Coordinator 

“Some of the benefits of working with all women are that there’s more active participation, even for the shy ones. We’re able to speak our mind more easily, and if we’re struggling with something, there’s always someone willing to help. We are full of optimism and positivity when we encounter issues, and this helps us to analyze situations and solve problems more effectively.” 

Katie Neubecker, Design Assistant 

“Women have the nesting instinct to create harmonized spaces. Just like people motivate and encourage each other, subtle changes to our surroundings can also have an impact on our lives. It is inspiring to work with women who challenge themselves to think beyond the status quo to give rise to radiant ideas that enhance the environment of others.”

Heidi Stephenson, Interior Designer

“Women in my life make things more beautiful…relationships, experiences, and even spaces. This same beautiful influence is evident in our work at SRI because of our all-female staff. We build each other up, while we create beauty for our clients.” 

secret garden

designing with nature in mind: tips & tricks from elisa chambers

Bringing a touch of the outdoors in and integrating greenery into the home can instantly bring life and soul to a space.

As interior designers, we know the importance of showcasing outside views when designing a home by allowing the outdoors to provide bursts of color through a changing seasonal backdrop. Although rooms with stunning views and floor to ceiling windows allow the natural world to truly shine within a home, creating gorgeous outdoor views is only part of the process. When designing, we always find thoughtful ways to bring the outdoors inside by incorporating plants, floral arrangements, and flowering branches into a home.

For our founder Elisa, having a garden has always been an essential part of her home. She developed a love of gardening from her mother, a National Horticultural Judge with a serious passion for growing flowers.  Learning floral tips and tricks from her mother, Elisa’s interest in gardening has continued to grow stronger throughout her life. After moving to Jackson, Elisa longed to be surrounded by the California botanicals of her youth. Through trial and error, she found ways to grow those plants in Jackson while incorporating Wyoming’s abundance of wildflowers, lilacs, tulips, and exotic grasses into her garden. During the long summer days in Jackson, Elisa’s garden flourishes with a stunning array of floral varieties: climbing roses, peonies, mint, and lavender, to name a few. With this bounty, she creates simple and elegant floral arrangements for her home.

We chatted with Elisa about her own gardening history, how growing flowers helps her feel connected to the earth, and about the importance of designing spaces with nature in mind.


Tell us about your garden! What do you grow and how does it look? Paint the picture for us.

I grew up with a mother who was a National Horticultural Judge. She judged prestigious flower shows, including Philadelphia’s. From a young age, I gardened alongside her. Growing up in California, I was spoiled with an overabundance of plants and flowers. We had gorgeous gardens, filled with every flower imaginable. When I moved to Jackson, I tried desperately to grow some of those varieties. Over time, I discovered that if you orient your house toward the south, you can grow the same perennials in Wyoming.

My garden has beautiful echinacea, lilacs, and at least 250 peony plants—it’s filled with vibrant colors and pungent smelling flowers. Not only are they incredibly beautiful, they thrive in the Jackson weather and sunshine. Peony bulbs love freezing temperatures, so they do exceptionally well with our cold winters. I have tulips, which are a favorite of elk and deer. They pop the blooms off, just like they’re eating M&M’s!

My garden attracts dragonflies, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Under my back window, there’s a dwarf lilac hedge, which I love so much. It’s the first thing to bloom, right before the peonies burst into full color. Climbing roses grow like crazy. I have an eight-foot-tall, hot pink rose bush surrounded by a hedge of blush peonies. I like to create an overwhelming floral explosion in my garden by growing different plant varieties together. Throughout the summer, I cut flowers from my garden every day. 

What are the various seasons for florals in Jackson Hole? The soil and the great mountain air in the Tetons seem exceptional for florals and plants. It seems to be a place where wild things can grow.

Absolutely! The mountain air, rich soil, and the gorgeous sunlight create something magical here. On the east coast, there are four distinct seasons. In California, it’s almost like one continuous season. In Jackson, winter comes and provides a reprieve from cultivating the garden, which makes the spring and summer bloom feel even more spellbinding. With appropriate care, you can stagger the blooming flowers to blossom from the spring through the fall. As you cut one plant back, another plant will blossom. Year to year, I always step back and take a breath and think—yay! It’s all working!

On the west side of the Snake River, plants grow differently than where I live on the south side of Jackson. Because the mountains don’t block the sun, I have a few more hours of daylight, which creates a longer growing season. As much as I enjoy the winter, it’s difficult to watch it come. Although I visit my family in California each winter to revel in the natural beauty, I still find Wyoming surreal and extraordinary during the winter months.

How do you integrate the outdoors into indoor spaces?

When I design homes for myself and clients, I love integrating lots of windows that open into gardens, so you can enjoy the plants as soon as possible. We have about four months of blooming beauty and then we have white, snowy beauty! It’s important to soak it all in.

We love using serene color schemes inside so the interiors can contrast with the beautiful seasons on display outside. Each season brings a different color palette, and, as a designer, you try not to compete with that.

As the seasons come and go, how do you continue to integrate elements of the outdoors into your home?

As the seasons keep turning, everything changes color. Just this week, I can tell there has been a cold snap. It’s starting! I saw a yellow leaf the other day on a tree—just one little yellow leaf, and I knew that things are moving forward.

From summer florals, to fall leaves and winter snow—every season has something special. During the colder months, I order many varieties of cut, flowering branches to display inside my home, including cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, flowering quince, and other favorites.

What do you typically like to use for floral arrangements?

I love to decorate a space with found things, such as old wooden bowls, books about Jackson, cups, and vases. Found objects with a story are wonderful for holding flowers. Sometimes I’ll put an old glass vase into a vintage copper pot to hold arrangements. Other times, I’ll use an old wooden toy from one of my kids, or something silly that just holds meaning for me. My brother recently sent me a bag of colorful marbles that he saved from our childhood, and they will go into a gorgeous clear vase beautifully!

When I design a home, I love to place indoor plants and trees in beautiful old pots. Not only do they look fabulous in a space, they also help improve indoor air quality. In the winter, I display dried magnolia and holly branches with berries in various pots and unique vases. Berries dry beautifully and look great for weeks. Succulents are also amazing in the winter because they can be made into a beautiful wreath or put in a big gorgeous bowl to add a hint of color and vibrance to a space.

What is most fulfilling about having a garden?

My garden gives off such beauty and brings so much joy to my days. Looking at budding flowers makes my heart happy and makes me feel connected to the earth, which is truly an indescribable feeling. It is also a wonderful reminder of my mom. She was instrumental in helping me select plants and deciding where they should be planted. It’s funny because I’m a strong person, and she was a super strong woman as well, so she loved to tell me where everything should go and what was best for my garden space. I still get a chuckle out of those conversations then I walk around and see everything flourishing. I think to myself—well, she was definitely right! I also love to see my kids developing their own passion for growing things. In a difficult world, my garden is something that always offers peace and beauty. This is what life is all about. My kids are here, my husband, my dogs, my garden—it’s simply the best. At the end of the day, you nurture the garden and flowers, but they also nurture you back.