After 18 years in business, Jaime Rummerfield and Ron Woodson, the celebrated duo behind the Los Angeles–based Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design, are splitting up. Known for their opulent, Hollywood glamour, the pair joined forces in 2005 and have since become industry leaders, amassing a portfolio that regularly graces the pages of Architectural Digest, Elle Decor and Veranda, among other publications. Rummerfield has announced that she’ll be launching her own namesake firm, while Woodson, who now divides his time between L.A. and Lisbon, plans to do the same in short succession. In the wake of the announcement, BOH caught up with the designers to discuss why the timing was right to part ways, what made their partnership so successful, and what their next chapters might look like.
How long have you been thinking about making this change?
Woodson: Like it did for so many other people, the pandemic changed some things for me and gave me the opportunity to take a look at what I might want to do in the second half of my life. The decision to split my time between the U.S. and Portugal came out of that.
Rummerfield: We made the decision slowly, over the last year and a half. It’s not anything negative at all—the run of our business has been completely magical for nearly two decades. Now, we’re turning the page to some different chapters, which are also exciting. I think there’s so much to celebrate.
How did the two of you meet and decide to partner in the first place?
Woodson: We both had our own firms prior to meeting. Through running our own businesses, we had vendors and friends who knew us both independently and thought that we needed to meet each other—that there’d be a synergy. Neither Jaime nor myself were looking for a partner at the time.
Rummerfield: That’s how life is sometimes; it puts you on a different course and you run with it. For Ron and me, timing and luck was on our side at that time.
Woodson: It was the right time for us to come together as one company. We each brought existing clients and a huge inventory. That’s probably the real crux of how we started—together we had this huge inventory of art and furniture, and we have a very similar sensibility. That’s why everybody wanted to introduce us. This was before you could Google someone. I didn’t know what Jaime looked like. She didn’t know what I looked like. We really didn’t know that much about each other, just what other people had told us. But when we met, it was clear that we were on a path to some really great things, and as she said, we’ve had a magical ride.
I think a lot of the things that happened for us as a duo may not have happened if we had been singular at the time. We were able to bounce ideas off each other and commiserate together. A lot of other designers were very envious of what we had and, in that way, it was very special and that will last forever. We’ve created a huge legacy. We’ve done and created a lot in this industry. I’m very proud of that.
What were some of the highlights of the early days of your partnership?
Rummerfield: We came together as partners at a really amazing time in the early 2000s. It was such a busy time for us as interior designers, but also we had a storefront on La Cienega Boulevard. Blogging was just starting—there was a whole new wave of digital influence and we were right on the forefront of that. Bloggers turned our store into a destination, and not just a local one, but a global destination. Bloggers from all over the world would come to write about our shop, which had this eclectic mix of vintage furniture and future-forward artists and product designers. We were part of the group that pioneered the La Cienega Design Quarter. Just by being in Los Angeles and in Hollywood, we’ve had incredible opportunities to work with amazing artists, celebrities, moguls—we found ourselves right in the middle of it all. We have shared a lot of “pinch me” moments where it’s just been like, you couldn’t [make] this stuff [up]. You share those moments, and it’s a connection and a shared history that will stay with us forever.
What are some of the qualities that have made your partnership work?
Rummerfield: A mutual respect for each other’s gifts and talents is the main thing. And that has never faded. We always had a high standard of excellence in our firm and valued the freedom to be creative in our own right. That was really important to us both, and we weren’t afraid to try things. Having that partnership bolstered us and allowed us to be bolder, and I think that that’s really what propelled our success. We still support each other that way and give the other the freedom to do what we want to do. And that’s why we’re at this juncture.
How do you divide clients and untangle 20 years of a business?
Woodson: Again, the timing is just so key here. Up until the pandemic, we had worked on all of our projects together—every single project throughout the nearly 20 years that we’ve been together. People would always say, “Oh, how do you guys do that?” So when you look at the breadth of our work, it really is both of us. It’s never been like, “She has her projects, and I have mine.” But once the pandemic hit, we stopped taking on new clients, and we found ourselves working separately because we weren’t going into the office. Over the past year or so, we finished up with some clients that we had together.
Rummerfield: The timing worked out to make this change. We gently ended all of our projects in a nice way. Some clients gravitate to Ron, some gravitate to me, and we’ve organically split those. Some clients are repeat clients for two decades, and some clients were clients of ours individually even before Ron and I were partners.That’s how far back our relationships go with some clients, which I think says a lot. Overall, the way Ron and I look at it is that we are family and we want the other person to succeed. Outside of that, I don’t sweat the small stuff too much. I mean, business is business, but we’ve worked it out pretty nicely, and of course that’s come with the support of our business manager and team members and friends and family.
What do you see as the legacy of your firm, and what are you excited for, as you look ahead to these next chapters?
Rummerfield: I think our legacy is being champions of Hollywood design. Ron and I continue to carry the light for the idea of Hollywood Regency, Hollywood glamour and opulence, and we’ll never let that go because Los Angeles is a one-of-a-kind place and it’s home to an elegant, opulent lifestyle.
Woodson: We’ve fostered some really great talent out of this partnership; that’s another legacy that I’m very proud of. We’ve helped forge three major careers—Jake Arnold, Ryan Saghian and Candace Shure. This is the next generation of designers who are doing really exceptional things today. I’m really proud of that, and that’s a legacy that will be everlasting and goes on in the work of those three individuals. That doesn’t always happen.
You also co-founded and run a nonprofit, Save Iconic Architecture. How does your separation impact the organization’s future?
Rummerfield: SIA is very important to us both—it’s a nonprofit dedicated to bringing awareness and action to preserving endangered architectural and cultural structures. Both Ron and I will continue to work on that together as well as some other philanthropic initiatives we’re involved in. We’ve been involved with the [Design Leadership Network’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative] Design Leadership Foundation—Ron was the co-president and founder, and I was on the board of the founding—which is about supporting and raising up marginalized design and architecture students. That’s a really big deal, especially for Ron. We’ve spent the last few years really championing that cause as well working with the Black Interior Designers Network. These are things that are important to the both of us. We want to continue making an impact and a difference in the world of design.
Woodson: There have been partners or duos that have been together and then just completely separated. Jaime and I, we’re attached at the hip forevermore. Over the years, we’ve formed a phenomenal friendship. We’re like family at this point—our families are close, and we do things socially, outside of work. Our story will continue, it’s just going in a different path.
Homepage image: Jaime Rummerfield and Ron Woodson | Courtesy of Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design