Jade and Graham Joyner are partners in every sense of the word.
As in the home where they live with their blended family, as in the business they own and operate, as in the way they finish each other sentences, and as in the way they both have impressive visions for the future.
The Joyners, who were married three years ago after meeting at a fashion show hosted by My Athens, run Metal + Petal, a full-service residential and commercial design firm they started not long after saying “I do.”
“While we were on our honeymoon, we got the call that the building we wanted, our storefront, was going to be available and I dropped Graham off and he started renovations that day,” says Jade. “Our honeymoon included some manual labor.”
A visit to the Joyner residence reveals they have utilized their professional acumen to the max in curating their five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home, where they live in the Oak Grove community not far from the Jackson County line.
While the semi-custom-built house is a showcase in terms of space utilization, color and style, it’s also more than functional enough for Jade, Graham and their four growing daughters.
“My concept for this house was I wanted it to be very light and very open, and a little forward in design, so we’ve mixed modern with traditional and I wanted something that my family could enjoy,” says Jade, a self-proclaimed “nomad” who has traveled the globe seeking the latest and the greatest in interior design concepts.
“We are all about real, livable spaces. We don’t produce rooms you can’t sit in or you won’t enjoy. We work with a lot of young families who have children and pets and we make it work for them. So I really wanted a house that would be beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, but the children could also use and enjoy.”
And suffice it to say, there were four main reasons the Joyners opted a move to Oak Grove two years ago.
“The kids,” says Graham. “You can let them loose and not worry about them and we have a pool and a clubhouse and amenities. It’s a safe neighborhood.”
When it comes to Metal + Petal, however, the Joyners never seem to play it safe as they dare to push the envelope with ideas where, in their own words, “simplicity and decadence complement each other,” featuring “Southern style with European flair.”
In addition to their design business, Jade and Graham have a storefront on West Broad Street – yes, the one they put their honeymoon on hold to renovate -- that serves as a furniture and home store showroom.
An Alabama native, Jade – whose father Walter White was a three-time letterman on the Georgia football team in the mid-1950s – started her own design firm two decades ago in Hungary and spent several years following similar pursuits in the Washington DC area. Graham, who graduated from Oconee County High School, operated his own branding business and has an extensive retail background.
It seemed inevitable – and a no-brainer – that they’d combine their talents under one umbrella.
“Graham kept seeing this need in my design business to come in – it’s one thing to do the design and it’s another to implement right and get it done properly,” says Jade. “That’s what we started doing…We’re very busy and we love it. What’s awesome is we’ve spent the past year really setting ourselves up for being able to handle projects, not only locally, but nationally. So we have a lot of local projects we’re working on.”
The Joyners have completed many residential projects in their time together and have made a mark with some significant commercial assignments, including the new Golden Pantry Market concept, set to go in The Mark Athens high-rise, the Alpha Phi sorority house on Milledge Avenue that’s set to open in the fall, the Polo Club of Athens and Lindsey’s Culinary Market.
While many couples who have partnerships at home and on the job often find dissatisfaction with one or the other, Jade and Graham revel in their “lanes” at work and maintain a “leave your briefcase at the door” mentality at home.
“When you have the right person in your life, it’s everything,” says Jade. “We’re true partners.
“We really respect each other, we really value each other. And we set that up first in our relationship before we began the business. It’s not the other way around. So whenever there is a conflict and sometimes there is, we both listen to each side and make the best judgment. Whenever someone asks who has veto power, we both say that we both do. But in the end, we’re rational enough human beings that we can take a step back and come to the right conclusion. It’s not perfect, but what is?”
And because they specialize in different ends of the business, Jade and Graham do work together, but not under circumstances that would strain their marriage.
“I’m usually in a car, talking on a phone – hands-free,” says Graham.
“And I’m usually in a meeting, or designing something,” adds Jade.
“She has her crew and I have my crew and we have totally different tasks,” says Graham.
“And that was very purposeful,” says Jade. “We did not want to run our areas where we constantly saw each other. I look forward to a client meeting we have. That’s the joy of the day, when we do something together. But for installs, I’m not there now for the big installs until it’s time for me to style. He has his plans, he goes forward with his guys.”
And while they often take time to stop and smell the roses, most notably with family time and extensive travel around the globe, Jade – who unwinds with yoga and her book club – and Graham – who enjoys just about any activity that takes place outdoors – are constantly looking beyond the present.
Currently, Metal + Petal has its Broad Street storefront, a studio on Baxter Street and warehouses scattered across the city. But consolidation is on the horizon as the design firm will be moving everything to a new home in the Southern Mill complex off Chase Street, the manufacturing home of Creature Comforts Brewing Company. Renovations began in early March.
The Joyners also intend to grow their brand beyond the Classic City.
“We just hired a PR firm and now we’re starting to get some national press,” said Jade. “We were in HGTV magazine this past May. We’re expanding our reach. I’m doing some interview questions for Coastal Living. We’re looking outside of Athens and outside of the Southeast.”
And one day in the not-to-distant future, when their daughters have grown and departed the nest, Jade and Graham will build their dream home.
“This is our five-year house to get the girls out of school,” says Jade. “We’re going to build a modern (home), with a lot of glass and a lot of concrete. A ranch. But as Graham said, we’re not building our dream home to have little children run around and wreck. We’ll probably start on that in about two years. We know what we want. Graham’s pretty much (designed) the house. It’s just a matter of where to place it. We love being in Athens proper.”
There can be no question that the Joyners will remain a partnership – and a family – in constant motion.
“We’re always planning something,” says Jade. “We always have a plan. We’re always doing something.”