Monday, June 24, 2013


Joe Nye at one of his favorite places to shop, the LA Flower Market

Joe Nye did everything wholeheartedly. His endless talent, attention to detail, ability to charm and inspire and sense of style knew no bounds. He could elevate a space with color and pattern, and with a few quick changes of accessories, stylishly transform a room.  Spending hours laboring over the perfect tape trim for a leading edge of a beautifully executed window treatment were par for the course, because he knew the big picture depended on the special details. A big as day personality, warmth, quick laugh and big grin will be sorely missed. Not to mention his snappy dressing, filled with pastel hues, round tortoise glasses and many, many pairs of Vans and Belgian Loafers.
We recently lost Joe, one of the bright lights of the Los Angeles  interior design community.  His strong, color-filled interiors (he never met a chintz he didn't love), mixed the right amount of old-world elegant antiques and graphic artwork, providing an unexpected beauty that will will stand the test of time. Influenced by the "Dean of American Decorating", Albert Hadley,  Frances Elkins and his mentor and great friend, Hollyhock's Suzanne Rheinstein, Joe adored seeking out beautiful antiques and fresh color combinations. From Suzanne, he learned the business, sharing in the pursuit of excellence, and the value of hard work. He just had a passion for great design and it was infectious. He loved and was driven by things of beauty, whether it was the curve of a chair arm or a well-styled bookshelf. When all is said and done, clients become close friends after the shared design journey. This was certainly the case with Joe.
His 2010 book Flair: Exquisite Invitations, Lush Flowers, and Gorgeous Table Settings by Rizzoli, which I was fortunate to work on with him, explored infinite ways to entertain at home, with a relaxed, festive, color-driven elan. His love of masses of Baby's Breath and Carnations  was well-known, as was his preference for linen napkins over paper.  The Nebraska native believed in elevating everyday experiences.
His support for the LA design community was constant --  he was always in attendance at book launches, new collections, and design store openings.
It is rare to lose an enormous talent so young-- Joe brought so many wonderful ideas across through his work, and I believe we have lost one of the great American voices of design today.

 Photo courtesy of Rizzoli
The cover of Joe's book, Flair. One of his all-time favorite Brunschwig fabrics made it onto the cover, as the table skirt that provided a perfect backdrop to the scenic pink and white Isis ceramics plate and black bamboo flatware.

Photos by Roger Davies
Joe's Beverly Hills apartment was featured in House Beautiful. The charm of his spaces came from a mix of ladylike prints and cozy upholstery and pretty accessories with a presence emphasized his more-is-more credo.

Graphic abstract art mingled with French crystal sconces and gilded chairs with a black console all set against  subtle greige striped walls.

Pink and green too girly? Not in how Joe color combined.

Joe Nye designed a Sister Parish influenced window at Navona Antiques for the 2009 Legends of La Cienega design event in Los Angeles.

Participating in the 2009 Kips Bay Showhouse was a career highlight for Joe. His room, filled with many mid century pieces from the then NY-based Downtown/Claremont Showroom made him tremendously proud.

An abundance of cheery pink carnations on a pink table in an interior created for a condo in Florida. The mix of casual wicker and formal prints was a Joe Nye touch.


Laura Casey said...

What a lovely memorial. So very saddening that Joe is no longer with us.

MJH DesignArts said...

He will be greatly missed by all of us Los Angeles and world-wide. Beautiful essay.

web design said...

wow very nice images

cassandra said...

I was so wrapped up in my own busy world last week I completely missed this news! How sad to have lost him so soon - one of my favorites and definitely an inspiration. Thanks for this Marisa...