A Trailblazing litt le silver interior designer looks to the future, while combining styles past and present
by Laura D.C. Kolnoski • Photos By Doug Polle
Accommodating diverse tastes and cultivating longterm clients sets owner Jill Ryan of Jill Ryan Interiors apart. Ever on the go, this busy mother of three, including five-yearold twins, deftly juggles residential, commercial, and community- minded projects.
Born in Lincroft and residing in Tinton Falls, Ryan’s interest in interior design began in junior high school, sparked by reading design books left around the house by her mother. Both her grandmothers and an aunt were artistic. Her father was a draftsman, and she took her first mechanical drawing class at 13. Ryan attained a Bachelor’s Degree from The College of New Jersey and Master of Fine Arts from Montclair University. Afterwards, she worked at large design firm for 13 years, then started her own firm with a partner, and transitioned to solely owning a company in 2012.
“Every day, we never know what we’ll be hit with,” Ryan said. “I love designing for each client’s tastes, which can include modern, Asian, Art Deco, and more. I enjoy the diversity. I use classic elements with pops of modern, so it’s a long lasting design, not too trendy and won’t become outdated.” That philosophy was validated recently when she saw photos of a room she designed 18 years ago that stood the test of time.
Versatility is essential when working for the same client through a lifetime of home upgrades. One such customer commissioned Ryan 20 years ago to design a small condo, which graduated to a large condo, then a three-story waterfront home in Mantoloking, and finally a high-end 10,000-squarefoot house in Bernardsville.
“You get to know your clients the more you work with them,” Ryan said. “I build relationships; it’s more than just a project.” A good friend became a client when they worked together on a new home in Brielle. The family moved to a 4,000-square-foot home in Colorado, requiring Ryan to travel there bringing some New Jersey items along, then researching décor elements more appropriate to that state. Another client bought a second home in Florida, telling her husband she, “couldn’t imagine anyone other than Jill Ryan” creating its look.
The commercial arm of Jill Ryan Interiors continues growing. Two River Community Bank commissioned her to create a signature look when they merged several locations into a 17,000 square-foot Shrewsbury headquarters, then carry the look to other branches. At the bank’s Red Bank location, the manager suggested decorating the walls with works by local artists. Ryan contacted the Plein Air Painters, which specializes in original outdoor paintings, and now the bank has become a mini art gallery. The project earned Ryan a 2014 Silver Award from the New Jersey American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
One of the state’s first certified interior designers, she recently completed her ReGreen Certification, the first person to do so in the state. ReGreen, created by the ASID and the U.S. Green Building Council, focuses on design of healthy and environmentally-friendly spaces utilizing green materials and resources.
“We use a lot of recycled items,” Ryan said. “Some clients also have allergies and chemical sensitivities that must be addressed.” Design services include construction, renovation, consulting, cabinetry, furniture and moldings, murals and faux finishes, lighting design, window treatments, wall coverings, and one of today’s hottest services, real estate staging.
Ryan’s staff includes Office Manager Victoria Kroek and Design Assistant Anne Donato, who share her passion for impeccable customer service.
“My parents, too, have been supportive of my art studies and career,” she said. “I couldn’t do it without them and my husband Vincent, because it’s almost an around-the-clock business.”
Jill Ryan Interiors
160 White Rd., Little Silver / 732.268.7145 / jillryaninteriors.com