by Whitley Adkins | photographs by Amy Kolo
Jenn Waugh is a Naples, Fla., native who has lived in Charlotte for almost 20 years. “I moved here from Boston, where I was for 15 years and worked in finance,” says Waugh, who has two daughters, four stepkids, two dogs and a cat. “We’re the Brady Bunch.” She and her husband, Al, are the co-owners of Reid’s Fine Foods and the Salted Melon Eatery & Market. Waugh is the former co-owner and editor of The Scout Guide Charlotte. These days, she works as a design consultant and is restoring a 1950s Cape-style home the couple bought two years ago.
Comments were edited for length.
Personal style, interior design and shopping
When did you start liking fashion and interior design?
I grew up in a clothing store that my mother ran in Naples that I worked in since I was 13 years old. My mother was always into interior design and clothing, and my great-great grandfather owned a dry-goods store in Grand Rapids, Mich., called Wurzburg’s — so three generations of store owners.
How do you describe your personal style?
Color and print — I’m really into mushroom print right now.
Does your fashion sense overlap with your interior-design style?
Yes, color in my wardrobe, in my home. Color makes you happy. It influences your emotions and energy, attitude — all those things. Clothing does the same for me. There are a lot of overlapping fashion and furniture designers right now. For example, one of my favorite designers, La DoubleJ, now has a whole line of homewares.
Do you have any style icons?
David Netto, Mary McDonald, Rachel Zoe and Olivia Wilde (world’s best accessory: Harry Styles).
Where do you like to shop?
Poole Shop or Capitol. The Edit Sale, for sure — I would say that would be No. 1. I’m going early this time and loading up. I buy and sell there. Thirty-One Jane, a new store (at the crossroads of Plaza Midwood and Chantilly). I shop from Holly Phillips’ blog, The English Room. The famous Carrie Bradshaw line, “I’ve been cheating on fashion with furniture lately,” because of my home renovation — I’ve been buying knobs, countertops and tile.
I like Roksanda. I’m into Alice + Olivia — I can’t say it’s a lifetime thing, but I’m really into it right now. Rodarte, Mira Mikati, JW Anderson, La DoubleJ.
I could NOT love your closet more. It’s basically a comfortable room. How did this room come to be?
Leah Ward who owns Closet & Storage Concepts, came in. This was already a closet, but she envisioned it differently. She said, you need a dressing table near the window so you have natural light. She designed and implemented the whole thing, then I wallpapered it, got the antique mirror, the art, the lighting, the rug. Magically, everything I had from [my previous] house fit better in this house. It was like everything I had was made for this house — it was meant to be.
What is your advice for creating an enjoyable dressing-room space?
Fill it with the color, textures, tactile things that make you feel good about being in the space. A lot of people go in their closet and feel yuck. Paint it the color you love, [add] a rug that feels nice when you are barefoot changing. [Add] stuff you like to look at, things with sensory attractiveness.
What is your philosophy on building a desirable wardrobe?
I think you should buy what you love and what makes you feel good, and what fits. Do not buy anything unless it fits well.
Do you have any favorite items in your wardrobe and why?
A little vintage Chloe bag. Isn’t he cute? With amethyst. It is from Capitol a long time ago. It’s purple, like ’70s rock chic. I love my Rodarte mushroom cape dress because it hides a lot of sins. I really do wear everything that I have.
Do you have any closet organization tricks?
The Home Edit from Nashville. Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine brand bought the company. They have a book and a Netflix special. [When I moved in here] I was obsessed with them, and I bought all of their stuff from The Container Store. Everything is color-coded like a crayon box — it’s brilliant. SP
THIS OR THAT
Solids or patterns: Duh … patterns
Spring/summer or winter/fall: For fashion, spring and summer, but for weather, fall and winter, so you can wear something more than spaghetti straps.
Heels or flats: Block heels
Wardrobe staple or statement piece: Statement. I don’t have any basics!
Sunglasses or purse: Can I have both? I need both. I have so many sunglasses — I have a sunglass problem.
Theater or music? Musical theater all day long. I love Broadway shows. Or Harry Styles … musical theater or Harry Styles!
Interior design or fashion coffee table book: I love interior design.
Necklace or cuff: Cuff
Carryall or clutch: Crossbody