Nida Risto Interiors Partner Website

The Things That Make Us

by Ben Bradley

Photo Above by Tuck Fauntleroy

No matter where we call home, the innate desire to be surrounded by personal artifacts and the physical vestiges of our past is nearly universal. Whether those things evoke a sense of nostalgia or bring about the cheerful emotions imparted by a particular person or place, it could be argued that their very presence is requisite for a space to truly have that feeling of home.

A well-worn novel on the shelf by the fire that was read and re-read across the years. Or the chipped ceramic coffee mug carted back home from a transformative trip abroad that has been present at nearly every morning conversation since. They are more than just things. They remind us of who we are, how we’ve changed, and–perhaps more importantly–how we’ve stayed the same.

The significance of personal artifacts displayed and used in a home is not lost on acclaimed Jackson, Wyoming, interior designer Nida Risto. In fact, the eclectic, curated collections of items in the homes of her clients guides and inspires every aspect of the final designs she will create. To better understand the origin of her appreciation for the power of things, one need only look to her upbringing.


Photos by Tuck Fauntleroy

“You can go in and see a place and say, ‘There’s no hope,’ and then you transform it into a beautiful space. It’s like uncovering gems.”

–Nida Risto, Founder & Principal, Nida Risto Interiors

Risto was born and raised along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas in Albania. From the subtropical hills and mountains to the hot, dry coast, it’s impossible to escape the history of the place. At times in history, Albania, or ancient Illyria, was home to the Greeks and Romans, and more recently the Ottoman Empire. Remnants of ancient empires and historical sites dot the landscape, and strongly influence many aspects of Albanian life, including architecture and design. Risto credits this immersion in European antiquities for fostering a deep love of antiques in the home, a design element that features prominently in her style.

In 2004, she attended university in the capital city of Tirana, where she studied architecture. There she discovered a passion for design and began developing the skills that would lay the foundation for her career as an interior designer. A year later, at the age of 19, Risto became the first member of her immediate family to immigrate to the United States. She made her first American home in Idaho where she attended BYU-I, continuing her studies and earning a bachelor’s degree in interior design.

After finishing her degree, Risto took a job with a large design firm and relocated to Jackson, Wyoming. She would spend the next eight years honing her craft and developing her own unique style.


“My style is beauty. I love to design beautiful things.”

–Nida Risto, Founder & Principal, Nida Risto Interiors

For many, 2020 was a year that catalyzed change, and for Risto it would be the year that she decided to go out on her own. Six months pregnant at the time, she felt compelled to make a change to allow her full artistic perspective to become the driving force of her work. Today, she runs a small, gifted team of designers who work tirelessly to bring their clients’ visions to life.


Photo by Tuck Fauntleroy

For Risto and her team, one aspect of their process influences the creative process for the rest of the project. Risto asks all of her clients to share photos that show off the things they love in their homes and the things they don’t like. “It could be just a small space in their home, or one particular piece of furniture they love,” says Risto, “or even just a photo depicting an overall vibe.”

Seeing the things that people surround themselves with in their homes gives Risto’s well-trained eye the chance to gain an intimate sense of her clients and their tastes. Where one might see only an old-fashioned armchair, for Risto, the age of the piece, what type of blanket is thrown over its arm, its orientation in the room, all contribute to her understanding of her client’s style and goals for their new space.


Photo by Tuck Fauntleroy

“When I started the business, I wanted to do something a little bit different,” notes Risto. “I try to help my clients gear their vision towards something more classic that will stand the test of time.” She is also quick to point out that her style has no set definition, and she isn’t married to one particular way of doing things. Seemingly the only commonality across her projects is an interplay between subtle antique elements and modern refinements, while the finishes and final look of her projects exhibit a remarkable variance of style, demonstrating Risto’s creative range. “My style is beauty. I love to design beautiful things. They can be more traditional, or more modern, or more eclectic, and I will work with all of them,” she says.

In hearing Risto speak about her work, there’s an infectious enthusiasm she exudes. She loves what she does. The connection with the clients, the creative process, the final reveal. But when she describes the collaboration in her work, her delight is palpable. “Knowing how many tiny decisions were made across an entire team to make every aspect of a design perfect and seamless,” she explains. “That’s what gives me joy.”

“When I started the business, I wanted to do something a little bit different. I try to help my clients gear their vision towards something more classic that will stand the test of time.”

–Nida Risto, Founder & Principal, Nida Risto Interiors

While Risto loves the blank slate of new build projects, she also finds herself drawn to full renovations, which afford her a chance to take an old space and completely reimagine it. “You can go in and see a place and say, ‘There’s no hope,’ and then you transform it into a beautiful space,” she adds. “It’s like uncovering gems.”

One would be forgiven if the first images coming to mind when considering Jackson interior design include taxidermy, river rock, and timber frame. However, Risto and her team are helping to reimagine what timeless design can be in an iconic alpine setting. More than simply celebrating the beauty of the mountains, Risto’s work lets the individuality of her clients shine through, creating stunning spaces that simply and truly feel like home.


Photos by Lindley Rust