JOY STREET DESIGN X S.HARRIS
Hand-painted monkeys climbing whimsical vines. Octopus tentacles reaching up and around a stairway. Jungle-esque botanical color palettes inspired by Henri Matisse. It sounds like an adventure in the wild, but it’s really the latest iteration of the Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach—a reimagining of a historic 1920s Mediterranean Revival estate benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. And upstairs in the guest house, a moment of calm created by Kelly Finley of Joy Street Design. Using S. Harris textiles and a custom wallpaper on the ceiling, Kelly’s guest suite, dubbed In Real Life, promotes rest thanks to warm duo-chromatic colors and cozy fabrics while still embracing modern-day living through digital art and NFTs (including pieces by Kianne Patrice and Kelly Marshall, and an NFT artwork from Melanated Studios).
Showhouses are about possibilities: the possibilities of design, of the imagination, and, in this case, helping the children of the Boys & Girls Club reach their potential. Read on as Kelly waxes poetic on her Kips Bay room that bridges the gap between the spaces we inhabit physically and the spaces we inhabit virtually.
IRL Photos by Christopher Stark
Q: I love the name of your room in today’s virtual age. Can you walk us through your creative process and how you brought it to life?
A: Our intention was to create a self-contained space that allows you to retreat away from your problems—an energetic bathroom, space to use as a work area or vanity, and a very comfortable bedroom—but also allows you to be engaged and connected with the world in a variety of ways.
Oftentimes we are so consumed by the digital world that we are no longer (physically) present. In Real Life (IRL) by JSD acknowledges that these behaviors won’t be reversed as much as we are adapting and evolving. And by accepting that reality, we can address those challenges in the design world to make it as comfortable and cohesive for our clients.
Q: Incorporating the metaverse is so relevant to how we’re living today. Can you expand a bit on your approach? How does this notion manifest in the space?
A: We wanted to tap into the exciting “new” field of NFTs and digital art and bridge the divide by bringing those elements into a real life design. I love the idea of the NFT marketplace because it provides a way for underrepresented and previously overlooked persons and communities to have a seat at the table. By creating a more equitable and accessible forum, more diverse and talented individuals will be discovered.
The difficulties lie in that the metaverse currently only exists in our phones, tablets, and other digital devices and none of it ever really translates to the existing physical environment. We worked with emerging brands to create digital displays that show a variety of digital art and video, and we also included prints and traditional frames to represent the way these two distinct things can live in harmony.
Q: What drove your palette of duo-chromatic colors?
A: We knew we wanted to infuse digital art and smart home technology into making this space more future-forward. We also recognized the need for the space to be a calming respite from the real world. We did not want it to feel cold or uninviting with too many screens or buttons. The deep red color assists with this and everything is then topped with luxurious fabrics—velvets on the custom bed and window treatments also bring in the softness to balance all other elements.
Q: Can you speak to your collaboration with S.Harris to source products and design a custom wallcovering?
A: Collaborating with S.Harris was the perfect partnership. They really valued our input and took all of our creative ideas into consideration. S.Harris worked extra hard to make tight deadlines ensuring that our turn-around time was met.
When it comes to custom design, once we were able to narrow down our vision with the S.Harris team, then the rest of the process was seamless due to their vast catalog of products.
Q: Your design firm is inherently mission-driven, with 10 percent of your design revenue going to your nonprofit Joy Street Initiative. And now you’re involved with Kips Bay, which benefits the Boys & Girls Club. Giving back is also threaded through all of S.Harris’s brand pillars. Can you tell me a little bit about why this is important to you?
A: At Joy Street Design, we’re always striving to design with purpose. At Joy Street Initiative, we believe restoring dignity and ownership in your living space is extremely important, especially when transitioning out of hardship or trauma. We believe beautiful spaces support positive attitudes and motivate us toward healing. We believe personalization and functionality provide emotional, physical, and visual support and give individuals a sense of ownership and pride.
When the opportunity with Kips Bay and Boys & Girls Club came to us, we saw this as a chance to make a difference in the lives of children who come from places of hardship who need opportunities like these for a better future. Design reaches beyond comfortable living—we believe design not only reflects our lives but can be aspirational to the life we want to live.
Q: What else can you tell us about the space, your inspiration, or your involvement with Kips Bay?
A: You know I’m passionate about design for a cause, but what’s also interesting about this event is its role in the wider voice of the design industry. New trends or industry shifts appear in these showhouses every year. There’s this fascinating exchange of ideas and a powerful ripple effect that occurs over time, as what designers do here in the show houses start to echo in real, everyday homes.
This is also why it was so important to us that Joy Street’s mission and values be reflected in our space—it’s our vision for the future, and we believe in the power of design to create change for good.
Kelly worked with S. Harris to source Lulu Velvet in Red Currant and Rich Plum, Buhkara in Berry for the window treatments, 14102W Moko in a Nanua 03 colorway in the closet from the S.Harris Orejen collection with Black Artists + Designers Guild, Fryer in Pink Alloy as an accent pillow, and a custom Joy Street-designed wallcovering used on the ceiling. The Kips Bay Decorator Show House is on view through April 3. Visit Kips Bay for tickets and more information.