Q&A with Josh Greene of Josh Greene Design, an NYC-Based Interior Design Studio
There’s no time like the present to begin thinking about the functionality (and beauty) of the space that you and your family live in. Enter: New York City interior designer, Josh Greene. Josh started his career working for some of the greatest names in design, Ralph Lauren, Michael Smith, and Sawyer Berson chief among them. Now heading up his own successful studio in New York City, clients entrust Josh to guide them through the personal and often complicated process of designing their homes. Most recently, Josh launched his first collection of furniture in collaboration with Dowell Furniture. We sat down with Josh to talk interior design,his personal style, and catch up on his latest projects. Read on for a welcome dose of inspiration.
Tell us about yourself. We hear that you’ve worked for some of the greats (including Ralph Lauren, Michael Smith, and more) and have launched a number of businesses.
It was important to me to have an impressive resume before launching my own company so I made sure to work for firms that were highly respected. I started at Ralph Lauren, as so many of us have, which taught me the art of styling, layering, romance and how to communicate a concept. From there I went to work for Michael Smith, who is a true decorator, and learned how to run a successful design business. Following that, I went to Sawyer Berson and ran the interiors department at an architecture firm which refined my understanding of the relationship between interiors and architecture and how important they are to one another. From there, I felt confident to hang up my own sign.
What sparked your interest in the world of interior design?
I’ve always been interested in architecture and design. I grew up in the town of San Marino, California – a community in Los Angeles with phenomenal residential architecture — and I really credit that experience with nurturing my fondness for residential design. Fast forward to 2003 and I was working as a journalist at the fashion newspaper WWD (when it was still printed on newsprint) and I saw an exhibition on the residences of the architect David Adler at the Art Institute of Chicago. I came to the realization at that very moment that I needed to get out of fashion and into design.
What’s your design philosophy?
To design spaces that are visually soothing and inspiring but comfortable enough to spend time in.
You’re all about creating environments that “balance functionality, warmth and comfort.” What are a few simple tips and tricks you can share with our readers for achieving this sort of balance in their homes?
Well, functionality is all about a logical furniture plan with enough seating, so that is the most important element of a room. For the warmth and comfort part, quality upholstery and window treatments are key. Add a mix of materials – stone, wood, metal and different types of fabric qualities – then pepper in some pieces from different architectural periods, and there you go!
Which high-end finishes are worth the added cost?
A high quality paint job is the simplest way to reinvigorate a space. Most paint jobs that you see are actually pretty average but once you have a painter that does thorough prep work and a very meticulous paint application, it’s a game changer. With that being said, even a high-end paint job lasts, on average, seven years before it needs to be done again. Specialty plasters are also a great way to elevate a room – they’re pricey but they make a space feel undeniably more luxe.
Is there a project that you’re particularly excited about at the moment?
I just launched my first-ever furniture collection which I’ve been working on for a year. Launching in the middle of a health crisis isn’t the best timing but we’re doing our best.
Your work has been featured everywhere from The New York Times to Architectural Digest — is there one design project that stands out as a favorite?
I have a new project coming out in Luxe very soon — it’s a large apartment overlooking Central Park and I’m thrilled with the results.
How would you describe the style of your home?
My own home is quite small but it has everything one would need — a stylish kitchen, a small eating area, a comfortable seating area, and a terrace. I wanted my home to feel like a boutique hotel suite, so the bathroom is quite luxe with floor-to-ceiling travertine. In terms of the aesthetic, it’s a collection of things I have collected over time with lots of art and a masculine color palette that is dark and earthy. I’ve been here for eight years so I’m starting to think about a move to somewhere with just a little more space.
What are a few design elements that can help make any home look more impressive?
I think correctly scaled furniture – nothing looks worse than furniture with the wrong scale. It doesn’t matter how pretty something is, if the scale is not right, it’s working against the rest of the room.
Less is more or more is more?
I think less is more. We acquire so much stuff we don’t need. I’ve always liked the idea of having fewer, higher quality things. That goes for your furniture, clothes, dishes and art.
When it comes to your creative process, do you build off of one particular piece or room or is it a case-by-case basis?
It’s a rolling process – sometimes you and the client click on something right away: a particular piece of furniture, a carpet, a fabric, a piece of art that can set the direction for a room. Other times, you need to look at a bunch of items and narrow down together. In my creative process, I usually lock down the furniture plan first then the rug and palette of fabrics. Then specific furniture after that.
When you’re selecting art for yourself or your clients, what do you look for? Any favorite artists of the moment?
I’m partial to abstract expressionism, personally. But it depends on the spaces I design. It also depends on budget and the objectives of the client. Are they collectors? Are they looking to work with an art advisor to start building a collection? I have several galleries that I frequent because I like their artists but I’m always looking for newer galleries and artists to learn about. A lot of that discovery happens on Instagram.
How do you care for and maintain valuables like art and vintage furniture?
If your art gets damaged or you acquire a piece that needs restoration, just take care of it right away. I think the same goes for furniture. If something needs to be recovered, don’t wait because you’ll enjoy it longer. As for regular maintenance, just make sure you’re using the correct cleaning supplies and methods on your pieces and you should be fine.
Do you find that there are any finishes (i.e. marble countertops) that can exponentially add value to a home?
High quality materials and appliances are always a good idea because the average potential buyer looks for those sorts of benchmarks. I think hiring a talented architect, designer and contractor comes at a premium but shows in the end.
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