One of the area’s most respected names in interior design, Interiors Joan and Associates, is celebrating 60 years of serving the Omaha community. August will mark the six-decade anniversary of when founder Joan Sorenson started the company in 1963 with her partner and friend, Joan Berglund. Both had studied interior design and together felt there was a need for great interior designers. Little did they know they were setting out to blaze a trail of style, grace, and innovation.
In 1966 the partnership became a one-person operation. Berglund married and moved to Thailand, and Sorensen moved her office to Fremont, NE, where she specialized in paint, carpet, drapery, and drapery installation. A year later, Sorensen moved the business into the J.M. McDonald house on 310 E. Military in Fremont, a building rich in history that had also been the hospital where she was born.
When a business spans decades, a number of twists and turns are expected. Changes have included sensational growth as well as location changes. Sorensen’s daughter, Diane Gernstein, joined the company in 1977 and added an Omaha location at 156th and Center in 1984. Nancy Pesavento joined the team as a designer in 1985, sparking a dynamic relationship that led to a partnership between her and Gernstein. They purchased the company from Sorensen, ushering in a new generation of leadership.
In 2003, the company added a Lincoln, NE, location at 70th and Pioneers Blvd., and in 2009 consolidated the Fremont and Omaha locations under one roof at 132nd & West Dodge Road. Today, an incredibly talented team of designers work with a wide variety of contractors, builders, installers, and architects to help plan the perfect space. The two showrooms also have a large array of artwork, accessories, and exceptionally stylish, high-quality furniture that can be purchased off the showroom floor or custom ordered. The possibilities are limitless.
Sorensen said that many people make the mistake of sacrificing design with the misconception they are saving money. “I would rather do one room well than six rooms mediocre.” Her formula for longevity is simple: “Hard work, always look for something new and different, and remember to keep the customer happy.” This has proven the test of time and led to three generations of ownership, a celebration in itself. Kris Patton, Gernstein’s daughter, now owns the company.
Alongside Patton is the most critical component and core of the company: A wealth of talented designers, many who have been there for over 25 years and were mentored by Sorensen. Patton grew up watching many of the designers and admires their expertise and customer service. Interiors Joan and Associates has a uniquely gifted team that provides a timeless, elegant, and fresh look that has become synonymous with one of Omaha’s most established and respected design firms.
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