Meet Designer Kerry Joyce
An interest in acting led Kerry Joyce to a career designing interiors and collections of textiles, trim, wallpapers, furniture, lighting and rugs. Based in Los Angeles, he is a sometime resident of Litchfield County and has recently designed the bold geometric Endra and Dayo pillow covers for RH.
How did the pursuit of acting lead to your current career? At the North Carolina School of the Arts, my acting teacher wasn’t so good, so I switched to directing. Directors have to learn about scenery, lighting, costumes—I quickly fell into scenery and lighting.
After a job creating circus costumes, how did you end up in California? I was offered a temporary job on the Tony Orlando and Dawn variety show, and it turned into two years. It hadn’t been my intention to stay.
You later won an Emmy for the design of a Ben Vereen television special. Why did you leave TV? Theater is very creative and collaborative—even on a low budget, you can do magic—and I do much better as a team. In TV, there was no artistic collaboration, you work separately, and it comes together at the end. I got a little disenchanted with the art of it.
So you started a store selling architectural details. How did you segue into designing interiors? The store was like a museum of architecture products. People were attracted to the displays, and I started doing design on the side. Eventually, it was supporting the business, so I made it full time.
Tell me about your first project. I was supposed to do just the bathroom and kitchen, but it kept on growing. It wasn’t a very nice house, and I couldn’t change the building’s footprint, but I did change everything in it and turned a tract house into a beautiful home. I’m currently working on the fifth house for that client.
How does your theater background play into your designs? When I first look into any room, I have a vision of it as a stage picture, like when the curtain goes up onstage or the establishment shot of a movie. And there’s a sculptural element to the furniture that brings my designs together. It’s an ensemble cast. There are some interiors where you can take out separate pieces and they’re not anything, but they work together.
Which of your fabrics is your favorite? There’s a sheer, lightweight wool I use for curtains that catches the light and sparkles. It’s luminous and drapes beautifully to the floor, so even though it’s very simple, it can do a luxurious room without looking inexpensive.
What do you love about your house on the Shepaug River? There’s the beauty of the Connecticut landscape on a river, very quiet and tranquil. The other night we had a beautiful backyard full of fireflies, it was absolutely magical.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2016 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Meet the Designer: Kerry Joyce.