Val Nehez is enjoying a second life in Philadelphia. Val grew up in West Mt. Airy and attended Germantown Friends School. She went on to attend Bard College, located in the Hudson River Valley, and then transferred to Vassar College to focus on art history and architecture. Val was deeply affected by the rich history and natural beauty of the Hudson Valley. Her first design projects were the creation of two restaurants in the then ghost town of Tivoli, NY. “The town was virtually abandoned and the storefront buildings could be purchased for next to nothing.” Val went on to design all aspects of the two eateries from the interiors to the menus to the logos. The restaurants that Val owned and operated were celebrated with favorable reviews on the front page ofthe NY Times travel section, the NY Times food section and in the NY Daily News. Before selling the restaurants to focus on a career in design, Val published a cookbook with Simon and Schuster. The book received warm reviews from Publishers Weekly and was featured in a full, front page, article in the Philadelphia Inquirer food section.
“The time I spent in the Hudson Valley shaped who I am as an artist and designer. Being a restaurateur gave me the ability to create environments that invite people to bring their own interpretations and idiosyncrasies to them. I’ve gained the ability to dance in the moment, bring joy and tears to my projects as they take on directions of their own and have learned the grace of moving with it.”
Wallpaper pattern, British magazine Elle Decoration, fashion, the landscape and grit of the city, beautifully worn objects at flea markets are some of the disparate influences that drove JJ to a career in Interior Design. Encounters with these passions while living and studying in London in the early nineties fostered her growing desire to bring these elements together and led her to Pratt Institute in New York. Her training and studies for her Master of Interior Design helped her generate thoughtful, new and provocative connections between these impactful experiences. During and after her studies, JJ gained extensive and valuable experience in residential and commercial design working at design firms in Boston and New York, including Tsao & McKown Architects. Moving to Philadelphia in 2006 gave JJ the opportunity to start her own design studio, JJ Fox Interior Design. JJ’s first project was the design of a children’s space at a beach house on the Jersey Shore. Published in Philadelphia Home magazine and again in Forbes in an article titled ‘Amazing Playrooms For Children’, the project was a successful transformation of an under-utilized space into a unique and vibrant play space and retreat for the client’s six young grandsons .
Her urban sensibility, innate sense of styling beautiful objects and passion for guiding clients through the design process has allowed JJ to create inspired environments; spaces that have evolved from initial concept through final installation gaining richness and complexity along the way. She gives homes and spaces a distinct personality and originality.
In 2011 JJ merged forces with Val Nehez.