“I realized that I can be so mobile and so adaptable in my new space,” Joy Cho tells Domino’s editor at large, Jessica Romm Perez, on this week’s episode of Design Time (out today on Spotify and Apple Podcasts). The founder of lifestyle brand Oh Joy! is talking about the backyard A-frame that houses her home office, guest space, and creative studio all in one—and graces our Summer issue, which is out now.
“I love the fact that I can be flexible,” she adds, which is key to balancing her Pinterest presence (she’s the most popular person on the platform, with 13 million followers) and product collaborations—and (just last year) designing her dream home entirely from scratch on a plot of land in the Hollywood Hills. “It’s empowering in some ways, knowing that I don’t have to be tied to one specific place.” During their conversation, Cho talks about making bold color and pattern choices, her tips for designing from the ground up (patience is key!), and some of the things inspiring her right now. Read on for a sneak peek.
It’s not my favorite color, but right now I’ve really been gravitating toward lavender mixed with other things. So is it lavender and camel? Is it lavender and sky blue? Is it lavender and royal blue?
Material of the Moment
I really have fallen in love with terrazzo. I know it’s a material that has had a resurgence in the past few years, so at first I was worried that it would feel trendy [in our home], but at the same time it’s been around forever. You see it in schools, you see it on airport floors. We worked with Concrete Collaborative on just being able to explore the material [in a way] that is both classic and vintage and now current.
Tokyo or Kyoto. Somewhere in Japan is on our list at some point.
I’ve been collecting pairs of handblown glasses from different makers so that I can mix and match them. They’re just so beautiful. They all feel like they have their own personality; each one is different. I really love things that are one of a kind, which I know isn’t for everybody because they lack a uniformity that some people need. But I love how there’s that ethereal difference between them.
Back in the late ’90s, the film Great Expectations came out. The movie itself was okay, but it was visually stunning. I still remember it to this day, and I try to rewatch it every few years. Everything in it was green. Ethan Hawke plays an artist who does these portraits, and they’re just stunning. They’re these oversize portraits, and I remember being so taken by not only the handiwork of the portraits but the uniformity of the green and how it was so consistent, but yet they don’t ever talk about it.
A poppy that has a bright yellow center. I love those. They’re in season roughly around this time in the California area.
My favorite is probably the Rose Bowl Flea Market, which is here in Los Angeles and just reopened after a year. I’m going soon, and I’m so excited to just walk around and look at stuff. For me, it’s a mix of looking at home decor objects and fun things. I love the idea that things had a story and a history and a previous owner; stories that I might never know. But then it can extend and continue into my story. The same thing goes for clothing. That’s why I love vintage clothing so much. I like that it’s unique and not everyone will have it, but I also like that I get to extend the life of something and it’s sustainable, but it’s also just cool.
Tried-and-True Design Advice
I always ask myself: How do you bring in things that have a not-so-new feel to them to add some texture and depth? It’s always going to be a work in progress, especially decorative items, but just adding to your collection as you can is important. I’ve been slowly trying to invest in original artwork. I still have a lot of prints, and I love prints; they’re an affordable way to get original artwork. But sometimes if I can afford a small painting that is one of a kind…slowly adding that in, because I’m not at the level that I can be an art collector, but I value up-and-coming artists’ work so much.
I do a lot of Etsy shopping when it comes to vintage home decor. I try not to be on Instagram up until bedtime, so I will go to Etsy and just put in a random search term, and sometimes it will be clothing related, sometimes home decor related. I’ll go into this rabbit hole of seeing something that I like and looking at what that object is called, and then search for more of those things. To me, that’s when you find the stuff that makes sense.
The work of India Mahdavi has been super-inspiring for me. There’s that mix of luxe and glam and sophistication. Plus she designs a lot of hotels and restaurants. I’m always pinning her stuff.