The Design Questionnaire With Jennifer Walter of Folding Chair Design Co.
In this edition of Love Happens’ Design Questionnaire, we take a peek into the creative mind of Jennifer Walter, Owner & Principal Designer of Folding Chair Design Co. In a Baltimore rowhouse in 2010, Jennifer founded her interior design firm with a baby on her hip and one on the way. Her mission from the start has been to enhance the lives of her clients by realizing the greatest potential in their homes. “We are listeners first. No matter what, we hear our clients. We may encourage clients to branch out in different directions, but we always want to know how people want to feel and live in their homes,” Jennifer says. “It’s part the client and their likes, it’s part us and our influences, and it’s part everything else around that just moves us.”
Meet Jennifer Walter of Folding Chair Design Co. in the Lh Design Questionnaire
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Jennifer Walter: Being on vacation with my family. We are all the best versions of ourselves on vacation. I work long hours, and my girls are getting older, so they’re not around as much. Vacation is our time to really hit the bonding hard!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Can I say my kids and my marriage? I never thought I’d be that person who said it. My husband found me in a very round-about way (him in Maryland, me in California), and when we finally ended up together, we both knew we’d spend forever together. I enjoy him just as much 25 years later. My kids are quirky, funny, and creative in very unique ways. I’d rather spend a day with the four of us messing around, singing, and making fun of each other than anything else.
What profession does your alter ego have?
Florist. I love arranging flowers. I hate gardening because I have no patience, but arranging flowers brings me great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. And…it’s almost immediate.
The project you will never forget.
The Stoddard Project. When I met Joe, and he professed how stubborn and set in his ways he might be, I would have otherwise had trepidations about working with him. However, and this is all about how we work—I liked him so much. I knew we would get through it in stride, and there would be push and pull on both ends. We playfully argued about my desire for color and texture and his need for serenity and sparing décor. The end result was a perfect combination of him and us. It took a year and a half to get there, but I never regretted one minute of it, and I enjoyed every single aspect of rebuilding the first floor of his house, not FOR him but WITH him.
Your favorite business tool or resource.
I use a little gizmo called ColorReader by datacolor. You scan anything like fabric, wallpaper, or a wall, and it reads the color and tells you the closest color match paint. We use it all the time when we want to match a wallpaper and wall color for a monochromatic look. Clients think we’re so cool too!
The most timeless design.
Traditional with hints of really modern. I have found that as I progress in my career that my love for traditional millwork, upholstery pieces, mirrors, and especially stairs has intensified. I love an old house with a super abstract, almost punk piece of artwork. It’s hard to convince clients to go way outside the box with art, and I’m afraid we don’t do it as often as I would like, but it’s my favorite thing to do in a home. I also love a traditional bedroom with a massive contemporary light fixture over the bed. It just feels off-center enough to get noticed.
The biggest design faux pas.
Drapes that are too short! When a drape falls somewhere like 4” from the floor, it looks so unfinished. If you have to buy retail, for instance, buy them too long and either have the bottom puddle or spend $50 at a seamstress or even dry cleaner to have them hemmed. It’s money well-spent.
Your design motto.
Know your client. We do not decorate for ourselves in my studio. We design for the client. One time, a client’s husband said after we styled their kitchen for photos, “It doesn’t feel like my house anymore….” When the photos were finished, we removed props and fancy jars and replaced them with his keepsakes, her mother’s china, and his favorite picture of the beach. Suddenly, the change didn’t hit the same way because those familiar items were back.
Our publisher KOKET makes statement décor; if you were to design a room around one KOKET piece, which would it be, and why?
The Cuff Chair. I love this chair because of its versatility. The side ruching dresses it up and makes it feel special. I could see it in a primary bedroom paired with a wonderful vanity for getting ready. I picture deep, dark cabinetry in the closet, back-lit for changing and trying on. The vanity is just beyond. Grand and plentiful in size with the Cuff chair in blush pushed out slightly to invite you in for evening preparation or to remove the wrinkles of the day!
Love happens when…
You experience something that really makes you smile. I fall in love with my kids all over again when they make me laugh. I’ve been a class clown for as long as I can remember, so one of the most important traits a friend or companion can have is to make me laugh. Self-deprecating humor might be my favorite.
Explore more by Jennifer Walter of Folding Chair Design Co. at foldingchairdesign.com.
All Photos Courtesy of Folding Chair Design