Designer Joan Enger and her husband have a knack for spotting potential—especially when it comes to their own home in Hoboken, New Jersey. “When we initially purchased the property, it was a dilapidated three-story building which included an empty commercial space on the ground level,” Joan says. “At the time, I had just started design school while simultaneously working in the city for a small design firm. We initially leased the space to a local florist to generate income while turning the remainder of the building into our family home.”

They rented the space for nine years, during which Joan’s design career took off and she launched her firm, J. Patryce Design. When the florist gave notice, she knew she would be the perfect tenant. “I think my husband was initially reluctant for me to take over the space,” she admits, “but I assured him that I would be able to cover the rent. He recommended that we keep the existing flooring (no way!) and simply give the walls a coat of fresh paint. The bright canary paint had to go as did the faux limestone floor tiles.”

Joan had been saving for this day and knew that she would have one shot to make the space her own.  As the floor plan was no longer efficient for her needs, they gutted the space and started from scratch, dividing the space into two sections. “The front public half would include four workstations and plenty of open shelving,” Joan explains. “The back of house would include a private conference room, small kitchenette and powder room, and floor to ceiling cubbies for our extensive materials library. We installed rift white oak flooring and added clean, utilitarian lighting throughout.  We have since added additional workstations, storage, and open shelving for storing our vast collection of vintage accessories.”

Now, thanks to a very easy commute downstairs, she’s able to enjoy her neighborhood to the fullest. “It feels like a small village where everyone looks out for one other, children walk to school, and runners and bikers abound,” she smiles. “Our studio is located on the corner of a lovely tree lined block across from a bustling park. We have southern and eastern exposure so plenty of natural light pours in all day. Depending on the day, we have 3 to 5 of us physically in the studio. There are trays of material samples on the large center island for review. If we have an upcoming presentation, the space can be a bit ‘messier’ in an organized kind of way. We always have a favorite candle burning, fresh flowers or branches, a variety of music playing (a must!), and we gather to eat lunch around the conference table around 1:00 pm.”

It’s a symbol of her success, in more ways than one. “Shortly after we moved in, I purchased a pair of vintage Gainey planters,” Joan recalls. “I planted two small pencil cacti to flank the front door. They currently graze our 10’ ceilings and are a reminder of how much we’ve grown, together.”