Joanne Walgreen - Belden Interiors
207 E. Westminister Ave., Suite #100, LF
Belden Interiors – Better Space. By Design.
Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce: What was your inspiration for starting Belden Interiors?
Joanne Walgreen: I’ve always loved design. My mother was in real estate and she was a flipper, before it was in vogue. She loved to decorate, so she would design homes. We moved every 5 years, because every time our home was finally done, she’d sell it, and we’d move again! Then I started helping her with design. I was one of those kids who redid my bedroom and moved my furniture around. So, I went to design school and right away I start getting clients, because people knew that I loved to do this. One of my first clients was in Lake Forest--it was a Chinese smoking room in a house off Ridge Road. That's how Belden got started. Because I have the last name ‘Walgreen,’ I couldn’t name it Walgreens! But at the time, I lived on the corner of Fremont and Belden in Lincoln Park, and I looked out the window one day and saw the street sign for Belden, and I named it Belden Interiors. That was about 27 years ago.
LFLBC: What is your business vision?
JW: That's an interesting question. I was always in very high-end design, I used to do yachts, and I was working out of my house and raising my three kids. Then a couple years ago, a few big jobs came up and I decided to open a storefront on Western Avenue. As I was forewarned by other designers, business started to go like wildfire, and overnight and it was crazy! So, then we moved into our current space on Westminster, and we have this beautiful space that we got to design and now we have a retail store, too. So, I’d love to see the store flourish, and I think the design company with a store makes us more approachable. We opened this location in March.
LFLBC: What is one thing you want people to know about Belden Interiors?
We are approachable. We're not like a pocket designer. I don’t do the same thing in every space I design. I design off of the architecture and people’s style. I make my client’s style work with their architecture and their space. Everyone has their own taste, and I want to honor that.
LFLBC: What has been your greatest business initiative?
JW: My recent expansion and hiring this staff. I think that’s been huge for us.
LFLBC: What other local businesses do you work with?
JW: I work with Flowers by Katie Ford, Bedside Manor, Kashian Bros., local photographers including Kerri Sherman, and several local tradesmen.
LFLBC: How do you give back to the community?
JW: We carry a line of Glassy Babies that are 100% nonprofit and those sales benefit cancer research. I support the local schools and Spirit of 67, LDA, Lake Forest Country Day, School of St. Mary.
LFLBC: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
JW: Come shop! We’re ramping up our inventory and we have great things coming in.