Inspirational women: Jesse Hufft

Ahhh, Jesse Rose.  Where to even start with this one?  Jesse is one of those people who walks into a room and everyone turns to look and listen.  She has style, charisma, spunk, intelligence and wit to make anyone want to step up his or her game.  She's also (no accident here) one of the owners and drivers behind the hugely successful, influential and downright genius Kansas City, MO based architecture and design firm, Hufft Projects.   Oh, and she's mother to 3 darling children, Rock, Cash and Clover and wife to the architect behind Hufft Projects.

Below is Green & Plenty's interview with this true beauty who I'm lucky enough to call one of my oldest and dearest friends.

You and your husband, Matthew Hufft have built an amazing business in Hufft Projects, an architecture, design and fabrication collaborative. Tell me about your role there.

Well I've really handled all business matters for Hufft Projects since the beginning, with a special focus on directing the PR and marketing team where I've been influential in getting Hufft Projects in magazines like Dwell, etc.  My role has a broad reach and my day to day changes, but I'm involved with all divisions of the company and I love that!

Speaking of Dwell, the home the Hufft's built for themselves and their 3 young children is featured in this month's issue (April 2015).  The Showhouse is SO awesome (I'm lucky enough to know from experience).  

Check out the feature on the Hufft's own home in Dwell magazine.  
Impressive job!  And SUCH a stunning home...especially for entertaining!  Tell us about your entertaining philosophy?
I love to entertain.  It's a great way to really get to know our clients.  We entertain about twice a month and so my philosophy is "keep it simple".  I serve no-cook apps like smoked salmon with toasts, capers and creme fresh.  Other hits are quick and easy pickled veggies and deviled eggs.  I love recipes from Bon Appetit and have been using them for 15 years...they're always reliable.  Plus a nice "proper drink" to start never hurts.  We've gone classic lately with cocktails, and again, simple: Bourbon rocks or with a splash of ginger is a favorite or tequila (or vodka) with lots of fresh citrus and mint.

How do you feed a lot of people an impressive meal without losing your mind and still finding time to really chat and entertain?
Again, I think simple is best.  For the main, I like one big meat dish that I can make ahead like braised sort ribs or rack of lamb served over polenta or this twice baked sweet poatotes with bacon sesame brittle.   I'll serve a seasonal and interesting salad of baby kale or lettuce with lots of fresh torn herbs, goat cheese, blueberries or grapes and a simple lemon vinaigrette.  Finally, a great bread from local KC baker, Farm to Market Bread.

Dessert is usually a carrot cake I make or a pie from Upper Crust Bakery and ice cream from Glace.

You always look put together and fresh, especially with a full-time job and 3 kids.  What's your style and beauty philosophy?
I would say I have a pretty classic style but I do like to put some sort of edge or current fashion element to it.  I love having a basic uniform especially for work: neutral colors and basic, classic pieces.  It helps me get ready quickly and without doubt.  Items from KC based brand Baldwin and Madewell speak to my basics persona and Kansas City boutique Standard Style and Anthropologie are fun for keeping it fresh.  I feel like I’m re-finding my style after having kids; for 6 years I wasn’t buying things I wanted bc I was pregnant, or going to be.

For beauty, I've recently started using RMS beauty products and am now very focused on my skin.  I love Malin and Goetz lip moisturizer, Deva products for my curly hair and an eyelash tint always helps make me feel better (I go to Hoopla for that)!

So if you had $50 to spend on style or beauty, what would you buy?
I'm much more focused on my face and skin now so I would probably spend it on a peel with my aesthetician or an oil.  I also need a great hat!

A few years ago you and architect husband, Matthew designed your own home.  What are some of your "must have's"?

  1. Mud room: the holding chamber for backpacks, shoes etc. with lots of storage and ways for kids to reach their own things, hooks shoes etc.
  2. Storage everywhere so everything can be clean again quickly.  We have lots of cabinets.
  3. Flor carpet tiles, especially because we have 3 kids and 2 dogs.
  4. Big glass doors that open to the backyard so I can see the kids play. 
  5. Smaller bedrooms for the kids leaves more room for the laundry and playroom on their floor. 
  6. Having the playroom on second floor makes bedtime more seamless and they’re starting to wake up in the morning and just go play rather than come bug us.  It will become the homework room eventually.
Any wish list items?
  1. A butler’s pantry kitchen with dishwasher
  2. Another bathroom in the mudroom, especially with 2 boys who don’t always keep things where they need to be...
  3. A bit more separation between the living and kitchen area

One focus of Green & Plenty is finding balance in our hectic lives.  How do you find yours?  
It's different every week.  I make sure one week isn’t too heavy with work stuff, entertaining etc. I get really stressed when we have a constant week of going.  So I work hard to balance our calendar between down time and social obligations, which sometimes feels like a job in itself.  I feel lucky to work with my husband.  While we don't work side by side all day, it's nice to grab lunch or a coffee together.  And with the kids being 2, 4 and 6 now, we are really finding our groove how to hang as a family, and that is incredibly fun.  We haven't quite made it through the crazy years, but that light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.  It's our family business- we really eat, sleep and breath it, but we love it.  I like to think that I provide a little balance to the "family side" of the family business so that it still feels more like a small business even though it has grown to over 45 employees.  It's fun to be around all the people with such a passion for design and talent in their various areas.  It's the job I never knew I always wanted.  

You and Matthew lived in NYC until 2006.  What do you miss most about it?   
Definitely the insane amount of great restaurant options.  The last time I was in NYC we went to Blue Ribbon for was the best sushi meal of my life.  But we love Kansas City and it has so much to offer.  

Jesse and her family have proudly called Kansas City home for almost 10 years now.  Stay tuned for Jesse's KC favorites on Green & Plenty....

Thanks, Jesse Rose!!  I'm amazed, inspired, proud and lucky!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...