Designer Friday: Joni Vanderslice

On Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, Joni Vanderslice runs her elite design firm, J. Banks along the coast of one of America’s premiere locales. Hilton Head is not the only luxury location Vanderslice works, however. The firm, which specializes in resort and clubhouse design, can be found creating and conceptualizing all over the world, from Tuscany to Tanzania. With a team of nine experienced designers, J. Banks has created a name for itself beyond brick and mortar projects; brands like Kravet, Stanford Furniture, Paragon, New Ravenna and EJ Victor have collaborated with Joni to create signature collections that correspond with the firm’s style. Meet Joni in this week’s #DesignerFriday and explore some of her most wanderlust-inducing designs below!

This striped country club eatery is stunning without being stuffy.

Andrew Joseph: Dream country/project?
Joni Vanderslice: Designing a Safari lodge in Tanzania! Our family started a nonprofit organization, The Valentine Project, and, with the help of many, built an orphanage in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania that is now home to 23 children. The pattern, color and design of Africa is woven into many aspects of my work, from my licensed collections to my dream project!

Andrew: What is the one ingredient you put in everything?
Joni: Olive Oil! Apart from being healthy and delicious, it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite projects: a luxury boutique hotel in Tuscany: Hotel Castello di Casole.

Andrew: Must-have clothing item everyone should own?
Joni: A cashmere shawl to throw over anything: I use this as a ‘blanket” on flights and in hotel rooms as well. Even in the summer, I find that offices can be too cold and grocery stores are freezing! It also dresses up every outfit!

Andrew: Best advice you would give your teenage self?
Joni: Slow down and thrive where you are. Know your strengths and know your weaknesses and become comfortable with both. Play the hand that you are dealt.

An oceanfront oasis in Cabo San Lucas by J. Banks, decked out in sunset-covered stone.

Andrew: If you had one more hour in the day what would you do with it?
Joni: Walk on the beach or read on the porch. With my hectic schedule, time is a most precious luxury.

Andrew: What are you most excited about at this time in your life?
Joni: My relationships. I adore interacting with bright, creative people: our amazing clients, my family, and the incredibly talented people that I work with at J Banks. I love that they “get it” and adore watching my team use their gifts!

About The Designer | Joni Vanderslice founded her full-service interior design firm over 33 years ago. Since then, she has led the Hilton Head Island-based operation into an internationally recognized force in residential and resort design. With over fifty associates and a credo of luxury without pretense, J. Banks Design takes on a global portfolio of interior design projects.

Through the years, J. Banks Design has received numerous awards under Joni’s design direction. She has been honored as ASID’s Southeast Designer of the Year and named the ASID Dora Gray Designer of the Year. The firm’s exceptional work at Castello di Casole in Tuscany, Italy, garnered it a Gold Key Award for Outstanding Resort Design, the pinnacle of hospitality design honors. J. Banks Design remains a fixture on Interior Design magazine’s lists of “Top 200 Interior Design Giants” and “Top 75 Hospitality Design Giants.” The firm’s residential, resort, and clubhouse interiors have been widely published in a multitude of shelter and trade publications, including Veranda, Traditional Home, Southern Living, Elegant Homes, Robb Report, Hospitality Design, and Boutique Design.

Travel inspires Joni and provides her with fresh insight for her namesake furniture and fabric lines: The J. Banks Collection for Stanford Furniture, Abner Henry Fine Furnishings, Kravet Inc., Paragon, EJ Victor and Holland & Sherry.

Joni’s passion for design is equaled only by her profound love of family and a strong desire to give back. Her family’s latest endeavor is the Valentine Project–a mission to provide a safe, family-like home for orphans in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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