I had the opportunity to meet Joe Ruggiero during a designer presentation at our local Lúxe store (then known as Norwalk) and was very impressed with not only the products he was showcasing, but his graciousness and his kind words of encouragement; he genuinely is a design celebrity who has not let fame get to his head. Joe prides himself on his ability to make good design available to, and affordable for, all walks of life for nearly thirty years.
Joe has been involved in nearly every facet of interior design and decoration: designing furniture collections (with Miles Talbot, Norwalk and Caperton), fabric collections (with Sunbrella), outdoor furniture collections (with Woodard and Terra), maintaining a blog Joe Ruggiero’s Blog, as an author (Found Objects), as a television host for HGTV (“Homes across America” and several design specials), a spokesperson (Kohler, Glidden, and Ethan Allen), an Editor-in-Chief (Hachette’s Home Magazine) and of course, his interior design work with Ruggiero and Associates. He also began his career in the design industry as an Advertising Director for Westpoint Pepperell (one of the world’s largest textile manufacturers), and continued in advertising at Ethan Allen for 15 years. Later, Joe became the Chief Design Consultant for the well known PBS series “This Old House” and the design correspondent for “Good Morning America” for two years. He was also the recipient of the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) “Star of the Year” award in 1995.
Joe Ruggiero’s familiar name and face has helped and will continue to help consumers make the right design choices for years to come. And so it should, his pieces, insight and palettes are stylish, versatile and classic.
Please read on to learn more about this admirable talent.
Iván Meade – What was your first experience with design?
Joe Ruggiero – When I was a child. I would constantly move pillows and accessories around the house!
Iván Meade – Who or what has influenced your style?
Joe Ruggiero – Hubert de Givenchy. I had the pleasure of working with him and visiting his homes in France. What a talent!
Iván Meade – How would you describe your style?
Joe Ruggiero – “a nod to the past and a look to the future…Transitional.”
Iván Meade – What designers of past and present do you admire most?
Joe Ruggiero – The work of Jean Michel Frank and John Saladino
Iván Meade – What do you consider to be your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
Joe Ruggiero – To be able to design for today’s lifestyles and predict color trends. I trust everyone until proven otherwise.
Iván Meade – How has your experience in advertising benefited your design career?
Joe Ruggiero – It has helped me market my designs and vision.
Joe Ruggiero – Domino Collection for Woodard
Iván Meade – You are such a pleasant, sociable and likeable individual which I’m sure is very advantageous to your career in media. Do you have any more television or other personable media projects in the works?
Joe Ruggiero – Thank You. I am working on a PBS series called: AMERICA’S BEST.
Joe Ruggiero – Bergen Chair for Miles Talbott
Iván Meade – What has been your favourite career so far?
Joe Ruggiero – What I am doing now, designing products for the home. It has taken many careers to get to this point.
Iván Meade – What books are currently on your bedside or coffee table?
Joe Ruggiero – L’ESPRIT DES LIEUX Elegance Francaise I am a big Francophile.
Iván Meade – Your book, Found Objects, is still very current although it was written over twenty years ago. Do you have plans to write again?
Joe Ruggiero – Have several books in mind. Found Objects represents a special period in my life and don’t think I can go there again.
Iván Meade – What are you excited about right now in the world of design?
Joe Ruggiero – Change! I think the way the Home Furnishings business in conducted is in the midst of change and I find that refreshing…so important to hear the signals of change.
Iván Meade – What project has given you the most satisfaction?
Joe Ruggiero – I am very proud of my television work. 14 years on HGTV and bringing the world of design to television when no one would listen. Now look what is happening for both fashion and interior design.
Iván Meade – What would be your dream project?
Joe Ruggiero – Designing and building my dream home. I have it in my head. Need to find the right location.
Interior & Sunbrella Fabrics by Joe Ruggiero
Iván Meade – What is your next design venture?
Joe Ruggiero – My lighting collection as well as my limited editions of my art and photography. I have quite an archive.
Woodard Outdoor Furniture by Joe Ruggiero
Iván Meade – Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with varying mediums in your own signature style. What would you like your legacy to be?
Joe Ruggiero – He helped people live in a better way and giving people encouragement to enjoy life.
6 Responses to “In Conversation with Joe Ruggiero”
* Joe R. has a*l*w*a*y*s been a FOND FAVE fave of mine~~~ He’s soooo darned LIKEABLE, that I’ve always just wanted to “do lunch” w/ him, & listen to anything he had to say about design… his thoughts, where he “was” at that particular time in his career, etc., so I immensely enjoyed this!
Many, many thanks,
Linda in AZ *
Thank-you SO MUCH for this post. I can not believe the impeccable timing! I am currently reading an interior design handbook on running a better firm. The very first question it asks ” what sets you apart from your competition, why should someone in your community buy from you?” I have struggled with this question for over a week! My biggest and most notable strength is being affordable. But I feared that I would appear like the fast food of design, look cheap and loose business. Then I read your first paragraph:
“Joe prides himself on his ability to make good design available to, and affordable for, all walks of life for nearly thirty years.”
Joe is incredibly GOOD at what he does, and being AFFORDABLE has not hurt his career. THANK-YOU IVAN!!!!!!!
I completely agree – he has been such a friendly, familiar face in design. I am certain he has helped many home owners beautify their homes without even meeting them!
Great interfiew 🙂
Ivan, It is wonderful to see that you have kept in touch with Joe. You and he seemed to have a special connection when you met. I think he saw something of a young Joe in you and the two of you share the same sort of classic, timeless design sensibility in your work.
We are very proud to represent Joe’s fabrics and designs in our store!
Keep up the great work!
joeruggiero @MEADEtheblog Thanks Ivan for a very nice interview. I am honored to be a part of the group of designers you have interviewed. Bravo!
I am looking at Joe Ruggiero’s collections. The designs are clean, stylish. It also has a lot of classic element, and still manage to look modern.