With a keen eye for detail and endless creativity, there’s a reason why we turned to Jennifer Stady, founder of Laundry Studio, to help design our wallpaper collection with Hygge & West. A wealth of design knowledge, Jen weaves her love for fashion, art, and culture to create bold and beautiful patterns with intricate linework and dynamic depth. Creative, charismatic, and an all-around inspiring human, we spent some time with Jen to learn more about her early beginnings, artistic process, and the inspiration behind her wallpaper designs – Woven and Match.
Tell us about your background! Have you always been drawn to design?
I grew up drawing people and clothes while lying down on the carpet in front of the TV, watching Batman and cartoons. I mainly drew people, families, pets, clothes, and the patterns and details on the clothes. I tried to accurately document what I was seeing at school and in magazines, so everyone wore bell-bottoms but had different tops. I tried to build and design my ultimate clothing collection. Later, I got into graphic design, fine art, and fashion and kind of bounced around in the spaces between those for a while. When I discovered textile design, it was such a relief because it pretty much combined my favorite things into one.
Before moving back to Portland, you spent some time traveling not only throughout the U.S. but also Europe! What led you on this path and what compelled you to move back home?
I fell in love with Europe when I studied in Poitiers, France while I was a student at PSU. I loved taking night trains and waking up in a different country. I still have dreams where I’m doing this. After I graduated from PSU, I worked at Nike for a few years and then decided to go to graduate school at NYU. One of the main reasons was that they had a summer program in Venice, Italy.
After finishing up in New York, I moved back to Portland because I took another design job at Nike, but also because I missed a lot of things about Portland – mainly my family and friends. I came back with no less desire to travel and learn and truly began to appreciate the saying, “wherever you go, there you are."
Could you share a bit more about the inspiration behind your wallpaper designs for Schoolhouse?
These patterns came out of a lot of play and experimentation with drawing simple, abstract lines and then manipulating them in ways that bring about the connections that we were going for. There is order and repetition to the patterns, but the fun for me comes in bringing these static forms to life with very subtle changes and color application.
"I love making micro-adjustments to patterns and shapes until I feel like I have done them justice and brought out the best in them."
I really enjoy working with a simple drawing, like the one for Woven, and trying lots of different ways of arranging it into a pattern. How close should the columns be? How thick should each line be, and how much variation?
In your opinion, how does print and pattern in wallpaper impact how we experience a space?
I love how wallpaper breaks up flat walls and geometric rooms by adding depth. To me, it makes a room feel somehow bigger, because it rearranges the spatial perception. I also like how it produces interesting and unpredictable combinations of art and pattern.
The past year has disrupted our lives in many ways. How do you see modern times influencing your work and where you draw inspiration from?
That’s a good question. It reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a student who is graduating from PSU. We were talking about our mental health during the pandemic — how we handled it and what we learned. It has been a very difficult year. I realized that I had revisited activities from my past like sewing, crocheting, gardening, and painting on fabric. I think I went back to old hobbies because they capture my imagination, and I enjoy being swept away by the intense focus that these activities bring. It felt good to disconnect occasionally from what was going on and work within this more relaxed expression of creativity.
Do you have a design (or life) philosophy you live by?
I’m not sure this is a philosophy, but I find that writing helps tremendously with everything. I try to write every morning, even for just a few minutes. I work on design problems and solutions and all other types of conundrums this way. It’s helped me to identify ideas that might not be fully formed or realized yet. I try to get everything out of my head — all the thoughts and questions and issues. It’s kind of the same way I approach design projects. I try to get it all out on the page or screen without too much judgment and then edit and refine. I have anxiety, and so I appreciate a process that creates safety and a mood of relaxed experimentation.
What are some ways you practice Hygge these days?
Creating a warm and inviting outdoor space as well as indoor. Hygge is a big part of being in the garden for me – being enveloped by green life and flowers.
Finally, what’s one thing you’ve come to appreciate about being at home so much this year?
I’ve enjoyed slowing down and not bouncing around so much. I notice more details (which is both good and bad) and have taken to fixing things.