People travel from all around to see unusual designs in Santa Fe shop
John Daniels has some bright ideas.
In his Santa Fe shop, he shows the world how he turns these ideas into reality.
Daniels spent years as an electrician aboard oil tankers. He traveled the world, separated for weeks at a time from his family. Those weeks of separation finally took a toll, and he and his wife, Courtney, decided he’d had enough.
“I missed the birth of my son, Blaine,” he said.
About four years ago, Daniels began making light fixtures in a workshop next to his home. He began selling them in the online marketplace Etsy. Designers from across the country discovered his site and began calling.
The couple scours the Hill Country searching for items from which John Daniels can see light. Old barn implements are popular subjects. He also works a lot with refurbished antiques.
Sometimes, clients will bring him items of sentimental value and ask for a fixture. One particular piece was a blue and green stained-glass sconce.
The glass belonged to the client’s mother. John Daniels transformed it into a sconce.
“She sent us this photo and said the reflection looked like angel wings,” Courtney Daniels said.
John Daniels has created fixtures that have appeared in fashion shoots, in studios, wine bars and hotels from coast to coast, in cities such as New York, Boston and Los Angeles.
They also work with interior designers who find the business online.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re located with the internet,” Courtney Daniels said.
A designer from North Carolina came to the Santa Fe workshop in her high heels, and that was the moment the couple decided they needed a storefront.
“She said it was fine; she’d been in worse places,” Courtney Daniels said.
The couple worked with the designer on fixtures for several rooms in a lake house. But they didn’t like the sight of the woman climbing around the workshop in her heels.
In June last year, they opened J Knox Designs, brick-and-mortar, 12470 state Highway 6 in Santa Fe.
“We get people coming in from all over the county,” John Daniels said.
People enter the Santa Fe storefront in search of something unique, Courtney Daniels said.
The shop is, indeed, filled with unique items.
A fixture made from an animal yoke, a book, a meat grinder, license plates, funnels and contemporary creations from John Daniels’ imagination.
“We added the home décor items to fill the shop,” Courtney Daniels said.
It truly is a family business. The couple’s children — Lauren, a senior at Incarnate Word Academy in Houston, and Blaine, an eighth-grader at St. Mary’s in League City — both contribute to the business with ideas.
Lauren has an entrepreneurial streak — she sells jewelry and trinket dishes in the shop, and the profits are hers to keep. Blaine generates fresh ideas, such as the light in his room at home made of a medieval helmet.
Courtney Daniels likes to put items in the shop that can’t be found anywhere else, such as the banana planter.
“Who else do you know that has a ceramic banana planter in their house?” she laughed. “Me and one other lady, who came to the store, walked in and said, ‘I’m here for the banana.’”