In 1963, Joan Sorensen had a burning desire to be an interior designer and to have her own business. Not only was this during a time when a majority of women did not work outside of the home, but interior design was believed to be affordable to only the affluent. Despite those obstacles, Joan started her business in Fremont, NE, and appealed to main stream clients selling draperies and carpet.
Now 55 years later, Interiors Joan and Associates has locations in Omaha and Lincoln, with 14 professional designers with ASID affiliation. These designers are able to help create timeless designs for the home or office, from furnishings to accessories and everything in between.
One key to the firm’s success has been to surround themselves with creative, business-minded people, who share our passion for design. Owners Diane Gernstein and Nancy Pesavento have both been with Interiors Joan and Associates for 35 years. The average amount of experience among all their designers is 22 years. “One of our biggest strengths is our team,” Nancy said. Their education, knowledge, and experience spans across all positions, from designers to administrative and support staff.
Another key attribute to their success is the firm’s ability to work with any residential or commercial project, regardless of scope—big or small. In fact, the earlier in a project they can become involved, the better the result. “Whether it’s a single bathroom, a renovation, or new home construction, our goal is to be involved from concept to completion and understand the client’s desires and needs and build from there,” Nancy said. “That’s one of the things that sets us apart.”
With one of the largest resource libraries of home textiles, furnishings, art, accessories, rugs, wall coverings, and everything in between, the breadth of materials and services available to Interiors Joan and Associates’ clients today is extensive. “Most people are surprised by the extent to which we can help them with their projects,” Diane said. “They don’t realize the value we bring to their design project until they begin working with us.” With their 10,000 square foot studio in Omaha, and smaller location in Lincoln, the showrooms are open to the public and are constantly updated with new inventory from Market.
The biggest change that the firm has experienced is how technology has impacted the interior design business. Also the complexity of projects, the availability of exotic materials, and the continued expanse of knowledge that the team acquires are influencers of change in the industry. As many things do change, there is one thing that remains the same: every project is centered around a long-term client-designer relationship, built on mutual trust.
It’s those relationships and seeing the joy on clients’ faces at the end of a project that drives everyone at Interiors Joan and Associates. “Knowing the client loves the end result is what we strive for,” said Nancy. Whether it’s through a referral or walk-in traffic at one of their showrooms, all of their designers take the time to get to know not just an individual client, but their family—understanding how they need a space to function, what they like, what they dislike, their timeframe, and what they want to invest in their project.
A common misconception is that working with an interior designer is too costly, when in fact the opposite is often true. Designers actually save people money by preventing them from making costly mistakes, and they keep clients on track so they don’t overspend. “Our primary strategy is to ensure that the styles and looks we design are timeless and classic,” said Diane.
Working closely with builders and craftsmen, interior designers are no longer considered luxuries but rather more necessities. Quality and affordability are at the forefront of everything Interiors Joan and Associates does. They encourage walk-ins to come into their showroom to shop for accessories and experience their products in person.
“This is a very tactile industry, and it’s important for clients to see and touch items and understand their quality and scale,” Diane said. The firm will be featured in two homes during the upcoming Street of Dreams being held July 28-August 12, 2018, at Blue Sage Creek off 214th & F Streets. “It’s a great way to see our work in a complete home environment,” Nancy added.
Another competitive advantage at their firm is the team approach that the designers utilize for every project. “Our staff brings so much knowledge and expertise to the table every day. Each project enjoys the advantage of having designers who can collaborate with high level professionals from beginning to end,” said Nancy.
Interiors Joan and Associates has not only sustained a successful business for 55 years, but they have done so with a high level of professionalism, trustworthiness, and knowledge. Their firm is a business that in an ever-changing industry has stood the test of time.