Jennifer Watty has an interior design portfolio that lends insight into why she is known as an “expert colorist” and “trendsetter”, but one project in particular has solidified her glowing reputation.
Watty was in charge of designing a house in Westfield for a couple living in the Netherlands requiring the design process with the clients to occur almost completely virtually through FaceTime. Watty had to find space to accommodate the many unique items the couple was bringing from overseas, but from her experience living in Switzerland and working in Paris, she was up for the challenge. Watty’s time abroad gave her a connection to her clients, “they understood that I knew what it meant to live overseas” she said, and knew that she would bring design ideas for the house that would make it suitable for long-distance travelers. Watty said her clients wanted the house to be tranquil, with little pops of color.
To accomplish this goal, Watty and her team utilized a paint palette made up of every shade of grey. Jennifer Watty said, “Some of the greys are green, some are blue, some are darker, and that’s one of the things that makes the job look so serene”. Another defining feature of the house is its architecture. The house was originally a Tudor, which could be seen in some of the woodwork in the front entry and the ceiling of the living room. Watty brought the Tudor into today’s world by incorporating contemporary furniture, modern lighting, and the aforementioned soothing paint palette to transform it into a transitional style. Watty said the transitional style of the house gives it a “peaceful, Zen vibe”, which is only heightened by the deliberate fabrics of the furniture. For example, every curtain in the house is white sheer linen, and to Watty, this kind of repetition means “strength and balance. . . it just makes you feel good”.
The living room rug also contributes to this feeling of well-being. It was custom-made to unify the space, which otherwise would have had less warmth. Adhering to her clients’ tailored and minimalistic lifestyle, Watty made every room look inviting with a combination of Bernhardt and Lexington furniture among others, some Visual Comfort lighting, and Palecek and Barlow Tyrie furniture for the outdoor decor. The neutral tones of the furniture mesh perfectly with the colors of the walls, which contributes to the home’s cohesion and brightness.
A notable room in the house is the son’s room, as it was designed to emulate the structure of a racetrack. Since the father collected Ferraris and the family would go to the Monaco Grand Prix, Jennifer Watty found a Ferrari lineup and printed it on wallpaper. The carpet was also designed to look like asphalt, and the theme was solidified with a pipe lamp and a tire-shaped bean bag chair. Despite the specificity required for this furniture, the themed room was not the biggest challenge of designing the house.
The most difficult part of designing the house was the installation of the large scale tilt and turn outside umbrella, because of the required precision. The umbrella’s placement had to be meticulously mapped out before it was installed because it could not be moved around once it was in place, due to its large 800-pound concrete block base. Watty said making the measurements and positioning exactly where the concrete was supposed to go was one of the most time-consuming parts of the design process.
The unique challenges of this project only inspired Watty more, though, because to her, the finished project was “a testament to who we are, to our strong design skills, our client relations, our budget skills, and expertise”. “Every room is different, but it’s all united and feels the same, and we did a really good job with that,” Watty said.
DESIGNER: JENNIFER WATTY
LOCATION: WESTFIELD, NJ
PHOTOS: BILLY CUNNINGHAM & ALEX KOTLIK