Jennifer Kilgallen, Jennifer Kilgallen Design {Our NJ Mompreneur of the Week}


When our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, Jennifer Kilgallen, and her husband, Kevin, were on the hunt for a new home in Ridgewood, they were frustrated with what they saw on the market. Nothing seemed right for their growing family until Jennifer spotted a major fixer-upper. Though she knew it would be a huge undertaking—a squirrel was living in one of the closets—she saw past the negatives and went full steam ahead on planning and designing her dream space. Little did she know then that it would be the first step to a design career. Fast forward to two more renovation projects, work experience, and her daughters off to college, and Jennifer was ready to dive into design full-time. Two years ago, she opened Jennifer Kilgallen Design and works with a roster of clients from the Jersey Shore to the Hamptons on home renovations, room refreshers, and beautifully appointed spaces. We caught up with this Summit mom of Caroline, 21, and Emma, 19, to find out the aha moment when she realized she wanted to be a full-time designer, the ways her daughters have elevated her business, and the local bakery with the stylishly chic windows and sweet treats her family can’t resist.


Jennifer Kilgallen, the owner of Jennifer Kilgallen Design and our NJ Mompreneur of the Week.

Please share a bit about your background. After graduating college, I worked on an equity trading floor on Wall Street for several years. It’s where I met Kevin, my husband of 23 years, but when we decided to have a family, I left finance behind. When my oldest daughter was about two years old, we moved from New York City to Ridgewood, where our second daughter was born. We soon settled in Summit and have always loved the fact that it’s a walking town, but the real driving force to our move was all the great school options, both public and private. 

With a background in finance, how did you end up in this field? When we were looking in Ridgewood, everything we loved was out of our price range, so we ended up buying a very ugly, dated, and in need of a lot of work 50’s Cape—I’m talking electric tape over a section of the kitchen floor and a squirrel living in a bedroom closet. We bought it because even then, I could see past all the negatives to what it could be. I knew it would be a huge undertaking, but I got to work making it beautiful and was thrilled with the result. As soon as friends and family saw it, they started asking for design advice. I loved helping all those who asked and began taking design classes in NYC, but with my kids still young, I decided to put that on hold. Then, a small house by the shore came along, and I started my second remodel. I made great use of the small space and added a front porch to take advantage of long summer days. A few years later, after we moved to Summit and I remodeled that home, I was at a dinner one night, and I was seated next to an established designer. We spent the evening talking about her business and what I had done design-wise throughout the years, and I realized that my girls would be off to college before too long and that this was what I wanted to do at this stage in my life. I accepted my first paid design position from her, and I learned so much. A few years later, when she moved her business out of state, she encouraged me to start my own design business. She gave me the experience, the confidence, and the push I needed, and Jennifer Kilgallen Design officially launched about two years ago.


Jennifer’s daughters, Caroline (right) and Emma (left) have helped her to be more proactive with social media and better navigate the software and design programs she’s added since launching her business.

Is there a favorite room you like to decorate? Family rooms and kitchens are the heart of the home—it’s where people spend the most time making meaningful memories. These rooms should look beautiful, but they also need to be functional. Not surprisingly, they’re my favorites!

What are the most common mistakes people make in their home décor decisions? A big one is scale—sofas, coffee tables, and rugs are often too big or too small. Larger rugs usually make a room feel more spacious. Also, neutrals have been a very big trend for a long time and will always be around, but it’s a look that can sometimes look flat. To take things up a notch, you’ll want to mix in different textures. For example, adding some pieces in prints, boucles, leather, or metallics will keep things interesting. 


Jennifer, working on a moodboard for a client presentation.

Are there any particular trends we should know about? I’m happy to report that color is coming back—personally, I’m pretty excited about chartreuse right now. Of course, you shouldn’t follow every trend, and if you’d like to remain neutral, that’s fine, but know you can still dip your toe into trends you like by adding occasional pieces like candlesticks, pillows, and other small pops of color. 

What has been the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself after launching your business? When you take on a new challenge, there are always new skills to be learned–it’s teaching me to be more patient with myself. I’m currently working on expanding our social media presence and have plans to grow our team further.


Jennifer has always loved the great outdoors. In her downtime, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and just being in nature. It’s no surprise that outdoor projects like pool houses, patios, and porches excite her.

Please share some of your favorite NJ-based businesses and spots. One of my favorite things about living in Summit is that it’s a walking town with many great locally-owned shops. I’m a big fan of the Summit Farmer’s Market—I like to get there early and stock up on fresh produce and flowers, and the vegan scones at Ester’s Treats are so, so good. A. Home is another favorite. It’s curated with lots of chic bed and bath items and excellent hostess gift ideas. Brownie Points, a downtown bakery, puts time and effort into their window displays, which are always beautiful and seasonally or holiday-appropriate. I love that they cellophane their cookies and other takeaway treats so that each bag looks like a little gift. No. 18 Boutique always has beautiful and unique women’s clothing, so you don’t have to go to the mall when you’re looking for something special. I also frequent Sweet Nothings since they have the best selection of chocolates, jellybeans, candy, and more—it’s my go-to for graduation and small gifts. And our family has always loved Spring Lake. We like to pack a picnic basket and walk or ride around the lakes.  

Do you have any recommendations for a mompreneur who’s just starting? Get out of your head and just go for it, and be kind to yourself—that’s key. Also, don’t worry about perfection or what other people think. Realize that mistakes will happen, and it’s normal and part of the process. It’s when we learn from our mistakes that we get better. 

For more information on Jennifer Kilgallen and Jennifer Kilgallen Design, please see their website and Instagram pages. 


About Author

Nancy Weinberg Simon lives in Summit, NJ with her husband and two children, a 20-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter. She's a former beauty editor whose work has appeared in print and online in Family Circle, Ladies' Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens,,, and, among others. After living in NYC for almost 20 years, Nancy returned to the Garden State when it was time to raise her family. She loves reading everything and anything she can get her hands on, entertaining friends and family, traveling the world, scouring estate sales, and crafting jewelry.