Above photos by Christian Harder
Principal of J. Patryce Design & Company, Joan Enger’s style could best be described as “classic modern”, blending clean lines with traditional twists. Joan believes that a well-executed interior includes an interesting mix of materials, finishes, and textures.
Can you pick your five favorite items you are consigning and give us a short line on what makes them special?
This is a spectacular table and could be used in a modern or traditional space. I am a big fan of pedestal bases for dining tables due to their functionality. This table would work great in an intimate dining room, as a center hall table, or in a library with stools tucked beneath.
ROBSJOHN GIBBINGS STYLE LOUNGE CHAIRSI typically prefer vintage chairs. The proportions are just right and when mixed with new, they offer complexity and visual interest. These particular chairs have an Asian/Hollywood Regency vibe. They are generous in size, yet appear light due to the open, armless design. They would be perfect as is, reupholstered in a luxe velvet, or re-done in a simple Belgian linen for a beach house. I spotted these same chairs last fall in the lobby of the J.K. Place hotel in Rome, upholstered in cream patent leather!
We use vintage lighting whenever possible! These lamps were part of my personal collection, complete with custom Blanche P. Field silk and grosgrain trimmed shades! When we recently renovated, they no longer worked, but they are absolutely fabulous lamps and they were my very first purchase for the living room when we moved into our townhouse twelve years ago.
His work is magical. He shoots all of my interiors, but his landscape and still-life photography is equally beautiful. We love mixed photographs with paintings and works on paper with sculpture. A balance and mix, even with art – is critical to a room’s overall cohesiveness.
One might say I have a ceramics addiction! I collect all sorts of vintage pottery, from unknown studio pieces to collectables like Rosenthal and Stig Lindberg. Styled with other pieces in a similar palette, or stand-alone with fresh green, this piece will do wonders to any surface or space.
How did you discover your passion for design?
From a young age, I naturally gravitated towards all things creative. I had this fantastic dollhouse as a child that my dad (who was extremely handy) built for me. I painted, wallpapered, and furnished it, and imagined for hours. I took private drawing and painting classes from the age of seven and discovered my love of form and color. When the time came for college, practical parents would steer me towards a business degree; however, throughout the first half of my career with a successful run in luxury branding/marketing, there seemed to be something missing. After fifteen years in, expecting our third child, I decided to gracefully exit the corporate world and pursue my lifelong passion. With my husband’s encouragement, I enrolled at NYSID to study interior design. Upon completing my coursework, I was hired by Claremont as a Marketing/Sales rep. It was a great introduction to textiles, and I was given the opportunity to interact with world-class designers like Mario Buatta and Muriel Brandolini! Still eager to be on the design side, I was fortunate to meet Bruce Shostak. His business was growing, and he was ready for his first employee. He hired me as a freelance designer, which gave me the opportunity to work on my own projects on my days off. After almost four years working alongside one of the greatest mentors imaginable, I set off on my own and established JPD.
What is your favorite decorative object at home?
That’s a tough question – I have so many favorites! There is this vintage, gray ribbed marble box which I call my lucky charm. I use it on every photo shoot! It is classic and simple, yet adds interesting texture and form on top of a chest or stack of books. I am also very attached to a vintage Power Boothe painting which hangs proudly in our living room. I scored it for $2,000 at a Doyle auction, and it remains one of my favorite pieces of artwork.
Is design an art or a science?
It is a mixture of both. There are certainly general “rules” that we follow to ensure our interiors are spot on (relating to palette, scale, form, etc.) and then there is the art of it…the ability to establish perfect balance and that wow factor. And lastly, the talent of mixing periods and adding in that one thing that makes the entire space come to life.
Do you have any go-to color or pattern combinations?
We find that most clients want to keep it safe, so most of our work shown consists of cool neutrals. Lately, we’ve been pushing a warmer palette as well as a bit more color. We prefer to use pattern sparingly, but there are definitely places where it works and adds personality – especially for kids’ rooms and playrooms.
When do you consider a completed project a success?
When we are given the freedom to finish the project 100%, including accessories, linens, greenery, artwork, etc. – and our client is over-the-moon happy. That is our ideal scenario.
Share your biggest design secret.
This isn’t really a secret, but we love treating the ceiling as a fifth wall. Adding a fun wallpaper, paint color – or in our latest beach house project, custom ceiling paneling.
What is the most common design mistake you see?
Area rugs that are too small for a space which don’t properly anchor the furniture, and artwork that is hung too high, too low, or too far apart!
How do you balance style, comfort, and functionality?
I don’t believe that you have to compromise style for comfort and functionality. They have come a long way with indoor/outdoor fabrics, so we’ve been using them more and more for high-traffic areas and kid-centric spaces. We use natural materials (like wool) for rugs because they are cleanable. And we stain guard everything!
Is there a specific item you typically use as a starting point?
We always begin with the furniture plan. This is the map that guides the rest. Without a functional plan, the design (no matter how nice) will not work. We then work on the theme/palette for the space by pouring over design books as well as our private Pinterest boards. Sometimes a wonderful textile or ceramics piece will inform the design; other times, it is the artwork or the rug. It is different every time!
What do you think about Sotheby’s Home?
We were big fans of Viyet and were thrilled to see Sotheby’s take over. You have the brand identity and leadership in the home/furnishings/art categories. We think it was a brilliant move and are super excited to work together, both as a means to sell some of our shop items as well as a design resource for our clients!
Describe your personal style/aesthetic.
I am drawn to clean, yet classic elements with a twist. I obsess over small and unusual details such as the hardware on a piece of furniture, a millwork detail, stitching on a handbag, an unexpected color palette. I would describe my personal style as a bit deconstructed, monochromatic, perhaps with a hero accessory, and always that same twist or unexpected color combination.
What is your favorite thing you see trending for this season?
A return to warmer palettes, color, and classic design elements. Grays and whites are wonderful and safe, but I am begging for that client who will allow us to take risks, steer away from the super clean lines, and add design elements which surprise and delight!
What advice would you give someone trying to step up their personal or home style game?
Take it all in, follow Instagram and Pinterest tastemakers, pick up design books and shelter magazines, visit art exhibits/museums, create your own visual boards, and watch as your style and design vision sharpen. Be informed, take risks, and create your own personal style. I hate trends – I always prefer to see ahead of the curve whenever possible!
What is your favorite thing about your business?
For starters, I love the flexibility. I originally started my business when I realized that my 60+ hour corporate job was taking its toll on my family life. I returned to design school while taking odd jobs (for next to nothing) to develop my skills. When our children were younger, I was able to make my schedule work around theirs versus the other way around. As they have grown and my business has done the same, there are fewer of those specific moments, but they still come up (college tours, dance recitals, sporting events, etc.). I also love the fact that no two clients or projects are the same. I am equal parts guru, interpreter, and psychologist most days! I don’t consider this work – I absolutely love what I am privileged to do each day for our clients.
If you could expand your business into one new area what would it be?
Creating my own furniture and accessories line and ecommerce shop, for sure. That would be an amazing next step (perhaps once my last one goes off to college in five years!).
Someone we must follow on social media whom you love. If you include multiple people, it would be great if you included one local person.
Disc Interiors, Alyssa Kapito, Olivia Palermo, The Grey Collective, EyeSwoon, and Smitten Kitchen (my other passion is food!)
Any interesting facts aboutJ. Patryce Design?
Passion is key. I began my career with a business degree and 15 years of branding, but I yearned for something more creative. Since I was a young girl – I loved any good tag or estate sale, I refinished my own furniture, and I “decorated” countless dorm rooms! When my husband and I first met, I was a corporate girl and he sold real estate. As he got involved in development, my path veered in the interiors direction, but it wasn’t until 2009 that we joined forces and I helped him with one of his development projects. In a tough market – the units sold out in four weeks. From there – we knew we had a good thing going. People often ask how it is working with my spouse. It is actually great because he trusts my judgment, and I know what is important to him from a quality, budget, and design perspective.