TYLER ELLYSON, UNK Communications
BIG SKY, Montana. – Alder & Tweed Design Co. employees are not permitted to publicly discuss their clients.
So, Emily Bridge and Katie Ward have to be careful when talking about their work.
They won’t divulge their names, but a quick Google search gives you a good idea of the type of people they work for: A-list actors, popular musicians, sports stars and tech moguls.
“It’s pretty exclusive — definitely celebrities and the 1% that live there,” Bridge said of the Yellowstone Club, a private ski and golf community nestled in the Rockies near Big Sky, Montana.
Covering 15,200 acres, this members-only oasis offers world-class skiing, an 18-hole golf course designed by former PGA player and renowned course architect Tom Weiskopf, and other luxury amenities.
When someone buys a multi-million dollar home in the Yellowstone Club, Alder & Tweed is recommended for interior design.
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“We can walk into these beautiful homes and put beautiful things in the house,” Ward said. “It really doesn’t feel like work. I think everyone, deep down, really enjoys picking out beautiful furniture and putting designs together.
For Ward and Bridge, the opportunity to work for the high-end design firm is a dream come true.
“Somehow, right out of college, I landed my dream job,” Bridge said.
The 24-year-olds met at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where they both studied interior and product design. In a smaller program, they developed close relationships with professors and classmates, many of whom took the same classes together year after year.
“We all became really, really good friends,” said Ward, who is from Omaha.
“It was nice to have that support system around us,” added Bridge, who grew up in Kearney.
The UNK program also exposed them to a variety of design concepts and career paths. For example, Ward completed his internship at the Walker Art Gallery on campus while Bridge worked remotely for Jackie Barnes Design, a Cincinnati-based interior design firm.
“I think it really prepared us for this job, because everything is so different all the time,” Bridge said. “There’s no one-size-fits-all process, so it was nice to see all the different possibilities there are in interior design.”
After graduating in the spring of 2021, Bridge decided to “spread her wings” and seek employment outside of Nebraska.
She was browsing job postings on Indeed when she saw Alder & Tweed’s listing for a designer in Park City, Utah. Naturally, she went to the agency’s website and found an “awesome company that’s very classy.”
During her interview, Bridge mentioned a roommate who also recently graduated with a degree in interior and product design. Alder & Tweed happened to have two openings in its Big Sky office, and Bridge and Ward was the perfect fit.
“She’s definitely rewarded for it,” Ward said with a laugh. “She got the bigger room when we moved.”
“It was our deal,” Bridge confirmed.
Ward and Bridge currently live in Bozeman, Montana, about 45 miles northeast of Big Sky, where they have worked since September.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Ward said. “We have such a great team around us. It’s as if we were all friends who worked every day in very beautiful houses.
In addition to the Yellowstone Club, Alder & Tweed has design contracts with Montage Big Sky, a nearby luxury resort, and Wasatch Peaks Ranch, a 12,740-acre private community and club in the Wasatch Mountains near Park City, Utah. Ward designed 22 units at Montage Big Sky, which includes a large hotel, several restaurants, a 10,000 square foot spa and private residences.
With a third location in New York, Alder & Tweed works with clients across North America. The company has designed homes in Las Vegas, Martha’s Vineyard, Cabo San Lucas and Los Angeles.
Both Ward and Bridge hope to grow within the company while continuing to do what they love.
“I can do this for the rest of my life,” Ward said. “It’s literally perfect. It’s so much fun.”
“The sky’s the limit,” Bridge added. “If I can do it now, I feel like I can accomplish anything.”