Clothing and interior design have long been intertwined. Ralph, Calvin, Donna and Oscar, not to mention Armani, Fendi, and Missoni, have all parlayed their runway success into the interiors arena. So it’s not surprising that Joshua Greene and Katrina Hernandez — he a former WWD ready-to-wear and textiles editor and she a former design assistant at Gap Inc. and fabric buyer for Ralph Lauren — have since opened their own interiors business, Hernandez Greene.
Of course, there were a few more stops along the way: After leaving WWD, Greene, 35, enrolled in the Graduate School of Design summer program at Harvard, only to learn he definitely didn’t want to be an architect. “I felt by the time I finished school I could be further along by actually working, so through fashion connections I ended up doing store design at Ralph Lauren for six years,” he said. Among his projects was the Ralph Lauren Robertson Boulevard boutique in his hometown of Los Angeles, which led him to a job with L.A.-based celebrity interiors guru Michael Smith. He then went to New York-based firm Sawyer|Berson, where he met Hernandez, 31. “We worked beside each other for three years, running the interiors department [the firm is primarily architecture and landscape design] and we hit it off,” she said.
“We had a project in Southampton so we spent a lot of two-hour drives bouncing ideas off one another. It became clear very quickly that there was an opportunity to do this for ourselves,” said Greene.
After finishing his last few Sawyer|Berson projects (including Vera Wang’s Rodeo Drive boutique) he and Hernandez began their transition in February. So far, they have 10 projects under their Lanvin and Céline belts, from a playroom overlooking Central Park West to two ground-up houses in the Hamptons. They haven’t limited themselves to residences, though. “If someone wanted us to style a photo shoot or do floral design for a wedding or a gala, we want to be free to take those on to be challenged creatively,” said Greene. One of their next projects is reimagining the 600-square-foot retail space at the original St. Regis hotel on Fifth Avenue. “It needs to be brought up to the level of what guests expect, but it still is the only place to buy toothpaste,” said Greene, who plans to use custom mill work and keep the color scheme of the hotel’s original black and mustard floors.
The duo’s masculine-feminine dynamic works. Greene’s preference for earthy colors and traditional lines may read more strongly in a home’s library, whereas Hernandez’ lighter, bohemian-modern style lends itself to a sun-filled breakfast room, but “there’s never been a throw down. And we always find ourselves agreeing on the same paint color,” she said.
Often their process mirrors fashion. “Sometimes when looking at materials for a room, we say, ‘If this was a suede pant and this was a chunky knit sweater, than this leather would be the perfect bag. We imagine it as an outfit with the right hair and makeup. It doesn’t need to be an exact match, it just has to have polish,” said Greene.