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a brief history of design


I've always loved making things pretty. This showed up at age six when I borrowed my dad's spray paint so I could make red stripes on those boring yellow tulips. It took me a long time to understand making it pretty isn't the whole deal. There's also functionality, cost-effectiveness, budgets and working with the client’s taste. That understanding came down the path, after years of sewing and selling pillows and bedding, creating window treatments and designing clothes.

johanna pockar

Johanna Pockar Profile

johanna pockar

owner || energy by design

While a good designer must master all that complexity, to me the most important aspect is the relationship with my clients of which trust is paramount. Much of what I do is focused on fostering a pleasant and mutually satisfying connection. Ultimately my job is to help you feel as sure as possible while using my experience and resources to give you the best version of your home we can imagine and implement. It’s a true pleasure in eliciting smiles of satisfaction, in allaying concerns, and - most of all - in solving problems. Making it pretty is still way up among my priorities, but solving problems is at the heart of what I do. All forms of design should be fun and exciting, even if you do feel a little unsure at times.

But what is “Energy by Design”. This relates to Feng Shui, the traditional Chinese art of placement, which I became a trained practitioner of 25 years ago. Specifically, Energy by Design is how your space should feel comfortable, relaxed and natural when you're in it. It should flow, look and feel pleasing. Always balanced and harmonious while also represent and reflect who you are.

"Pleasing”, balanced”, and “harmonious” are a little esoteric. These aspects only show up consistently after you've done the homework of looking at thousands of living spaces. Carefully examined a myriad of stone, fabric, wood, carpet, tile and numerous other material samples while spending a good part of your life pondering floor plans, furniture, wallpaper, counter tops and plumbing fixtures which compose the enormous inventory of quality materials that go into making a living space lovely, functional, cost effective and humanly pleasing.

Clients receive the following from me:

  • Listen carefully.

  • Respect their opinions, privacy and confidentiality.

  • Honor their budget.

  • Respond to their calls and deadlines in a timely fashion.

  • Grant access to my full range of creative resources.

What I expect from my clients:

  • To fully express their vision, opinions and preferences.

  • Openness to consider creative options and solutions.

  • Clarity regarding their budget.

  • Patience with the process.

My clients can also expect my enthusiasm and commitment to their project from start to finish.

Projects are billed on an hourly basis and processed at the end of each month. Billable hours include time spent with or without the client in their home, design center or shopping, and any hours dedicated to creating room plans, performing research etc. Payment is requested within 10 days prior to receipt of an invoice. A detailed, outlined explanatory record will be kept for those hours.

Clients have full access to all of the relationships I have built in the retail market. If an item is "exclusive to the trade" you will be charged cost plus 25% along with any shipping, receiving and delivery fees. In this case payment in full is required to place the order. There are no refunds or exchanges on custom orders. A retainer may be required depending on the size and scope of the project.


  • interior design

    The entry of this Soho townhouse I did illustrates how design can create a passageway from urban grit to a functional, aesthetically pleasing and nurturing human space. New York traffic is ten feet away; here the reality is beauty, comfort, functionality. That soothing green suggests how in interior design we seek what nature gives: balance, harmony, wholeness. My job is to accomplish that mission, to do that with subtle attention to the way your family lives, within budget, and in a way that reflects who you are.

  • feng shui

    I find satisfaction in creating living spaces in which there is an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable balancing of color, space, material, texture and energy. As a long time practitioner of Feng Shui, I am convinced environment affects energy and harmony. In its subtle reaches, Feng Shui is the study of how to refine an environment to enhance the flow of ch'i, its life force or energy.

  • spacelift

    Some call it redesign, but that doesn't capture the freshness, and the instant gratification, of a Spacelift. Rooms you don't use or like? Try a Spacelift, which transforms your home through fresh eyes and the magic of placement. We'll create aesthetic impact by finding a room's focal point and solving problems of balance, harmony, flow, comfort. We'll shop your home and use your current décor to discover grace and charm in new formats. Wall colors if you want, further design steps if you insist, but the heart of the mission is a one-day makeover that will leave you ready to entertain that night.

  • color coordination

    Color transforms more efficiently than any other design action. I work with you to create a color composition of your home. In trying to describe that composition, we speak of harmony, balance, warmth, comfort, surprise, but those words, individually or in sum, can't capture the rightness and ease of a good color plan implemented. An effective consultation isn't rocket science, but seeing colors in their rightness is a gift and I am pleased to have it.