About Town | Design By Hand with Heather Jozak
Written by: Elyse O'Dwyer
Photography by: Robert Socha
Hoboken residents are looking for touches in their homes that are a cut above. They want design that makes a statement. So, it was such a delight when we got the chance to talk to Heather Jozak about her life-long passion and the amazing custom work she does. Her process with her clients and opened-minded creativity result in one-of-a-kind creations that turn your home into a work of art. But her greatest asset is her curiosity, constantly pushing herself to question, explore and push boundaries.
Heather has loved design and its mechanics since she was a little girl watching Saturday morning cartoons and drawing along with crayons. “I was always taking things apart and putting them together in a creative way.” Now twenty years into her career, her penchant for deconstruction comes through in her “organic engineer” style. Her work, inspired by everything from nature, to skyscrapers, to fashion, draws on trail-hikes as much as urban exploration.
That’s why when she collaborates with her clients, it’s easy for her to identify their personal style. Her voices comes through, but the variety and range show malleability and a talent for zeroing in on clients’ tastes. She looks past trends or expected choices, and the things her clients think they should like. “My clients might come in and say they have no artistic sense, I tell them that’s not true. I like to look at their homes, what fashion they own, what are they drawn to?”
“A lot of my finishes are timeless in that they’re rooted in nature. If you leave a copper roof out, it will patina.”
Heather keeps a close eye on what’s current, but rather than replicating trends, stays ahead of the curve. Never passing on an idea because it’s popular, she instead asks “how can we tweak this?” She draws from her art history background to bring classic elements into current trends, introducing a timeless twist, baroque meets contemporary. Organic touches add to the enduring nature of her work, “A lot of my finishes are timeless in that they’re rooted in nature. If you leave a copper roof out, it will patina.”
Heather is always experimenting with technique in her studio, she manipulates textures and paints with tools ranging from high-end boar hair bristle brushes to discarded cardboard. “I love going to estate sales and finding old tools and using them in new ways.” One of her favorite items to work with is an old roofing brush. She has a wall in her studio to try out samples and is constantly executing different techniques to create patterns, like a recent experiment using a bubble wand to blow paint onto the canvas.
Her custom wallpaper is executed with dynamic techniques, made from a specially sourced Japanese paper that has elasticity to be stretched. She works with it in studio to find new unique handmade patterns ranging from hand carved stamps to a painstaking labor of love, covering the paper in silver leaf and antiquing it.
In the last couple of years, Heather has been pushing herself to refine her voice, her work with her clients has helped her along the way. “Something I’ve learned through the years is I’m never one of these people who goes in knowing everything. I want to hear what you love, this is your home, it has to reflect you.”