Featured Designers | Downtown Decorators: New Firm, Old Soul
Written by: Dena Landon
Photography by: Mike Van Tassell & Sameer Abdel - Khalik
Three-year-old design firm Downtown Decorators may be young, but it’s already found a home in Hoboken. Founder Jaclyn Isaac found a creative outlet when designing her home, one she’d been missing in her previous advertising career. “While I had oversight of other’s creative output, I wasn’t personally creating,” she says. Her home decorating projects inspired a blog, which she used to introduce herself and her ideas to the industry.
Combining personal, hand-picked elements from different eras adds that little bit of soul that makes a room feel great.
After an introduction to a local real estate broker who referred clients her way, she formally started her firm in 2017. Jaclyn remains principal designer of a boutique office that works with clients all along the East Coast. Her designs tend to feature a mix of old and new pieces-often by client request. Jaclyn isn’t shy about using antiques in contemporary homes. In one living room, the owners wanted to incorporate artwork painted by the client’s father. His art had been heavily influenced by Tuscan style, with oranges and reds. The client wanted neutrals to lighten up the rest of the room, which needed to serve a dual purpose as a place for both evening gatherings among friends and children’s playroom.
Jaclyn enjoyed the challenge. “It made it difficult in that we had a lot of conflicting undertones” she says, “but also made things easier because we had some parameters and a starting point.” The colors in one painting inspired a deep green paint as an accent wall that pulled in the antique frames perfectly.
To make the room dual-purpose, she turned to Kevin Fassnacht at Fine Point Cabinetry for something that’s become her signature touch. “We’ve become known for custom pieces,” she says, “that give a nod to and incorporate pieces that are already there.” He built a 14-foot walnut-covered built-in along one wall, stained and coated to match the existing wine cabinet.
It’s a beautiful catch-all that holds everything from wine paraphernalia to kid’s toys, and it looks like it’s always been there. Despite using antiques in many of her designs, Jaclyn doesn’t always know she’ll be designing around a client’s past choices when she begins conceptualizing a space. Sometimes clients surprise her with last minute additions.
For another project, a bachelor pad at Soho Lofts, the client had hired her firm to bring a mature look to his apartment. He didn’t plan on keeping any of his old stuff, so Downtown Decorators put together a plan for a completely empty room. But then he surprised them by picking up a Roche Bobois sofa at a local vintage shop and asking them to design around it. The large sofa required a few tweaks to their design, but they were able to fit the piece into the room. In her opinion “combining personal, hand-picked elements from different eras adds that little bit of soul that makes a room feel great.”
The vintage piece, juxtaposed against a modern liquor cabinet, breathes life and personality into the room. While Downtown Decorators may have been born out of creative frustration, it now brings creative inspiration and fashionable design to Hoboken homeowners. Their team continues to help clients breathe new life into their homes. Proud of being a small, yet mighty, remote team, Jaclyn and her associates meet with clients, schedule work, and maintain a calendar of the project’s progress online. They really do embody the best of old and new.
See more of Jaclyn’s work on her instagram @downtowndecorators