Local designer wins three national awards

Jason Clifton of Bauer/Clifton Interiors was recently honored with three national awards at a conference of the Interior Design Society in Las Vegas. The awards, designed to honor “outstanding achievement in residential interior design,” were given in recognition of three local home renovation projects Clifton completed for Bauer/Clifton, which he runs with Jeremy Bauer. Clifton, who accepted the awards in late January, said the recognition by the IDS and his peers was very gratifying.


“It was pretty exciting,” Clifton said. “And getting three for three was essentially the cherry on top.”

In order to quality, Clifton had to prepare an overall project description for each entry that ranged from 18-30 pages, and include before and after photos of the spaces (see accompanying photos to see an example of one of the projects).

“It was my first year submitting anything, and so I figured, ‘Why not just do three if I’m going to do one?’ But turns out it’s a lot of work. The submission portion was almost as much work as the design itself,” he said, laughing.

In a few days, Clifton and partner Bauer will unveil a different kind of before and after project, one that they had to execute in a very short time frame — three days — but which they’ve been planning for nearly a year: the design for Juneau’s Wearable Art Extravaganza at Centennial Hall. Clifton said he and Bauer started thinking about this year’s design early on.

“Last year we came away from the show feeling really inspired and started the ground work for the design of this year’s show and theme last March,” he said. “So we really only took a few weeks off before the wheels started turning again.”

Bauer and Clifton have been partnering with Northwind Architects on the design for the show for the past nine years, giving the popular event its overall vibe and energy, and helping to steer the selection of the theme, which this year is “Technicolor.”

The team began setting up for Saturday’s show on Wednesday, a process that this year includes installing and hanging all the lights with a lighting designer from New York, and setting up video screens to show music videos filmed by Patricia Kalbrener for each entry.

Other large-scale projects the design duo have taken on in Juneau include the Governor’s Inaugural Ball and some weddings, but in general they don’t do very many, due to the amount of hours involved.

“Typically we usually tackle one or two of these a year because they are really demanding in a different way than what we do day in and day out.”

The day-in-day-out is continually rewarding, Clifton said, in part because of the changing nature of the challenges they face.

“Each project and each client is different from the last, so it keeps what we do really fresh, even for us,” he said.

Clifton said when he first walks into a client’s house, he pays close attention to how the space is used.

“I’m noticing how the client is living — or not even living — in the space ... and a multitude of different things,” he said.

With the living room project that earned him one of his IDS awards, one of the main things he focused on was opening up the space to connect it to the rest of the house, allowing the natural light to flow into surrounding spaces. As a result, a seldom-used space became one of the home’s focal points.

Usually, he and partner Bauer will naturally fall into lead and support positions on any given project. Clifton brings his strengths in interior design, while Bauer brings a background in architecture.

“While we always work as a team as well as with our assistant designers, coming away from meetings there’s always one of us, essentially, that is in sync with the project as well as with the client, and normally that person will jump start the inspiration and the design process,” he said.

The IDS awards reflect projects where Clifton was the lead designer.

For more on Bauer/Clifton, visit www.bauerclifton.com.

For more on Wearable Art, visit www.jahc.org.


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