History of Walmer Enterprises

Like so many American businesses, ours started in a garage — Harry Walmer’s garage in 1970 where Harry and his son made a marble roller based on a toy from Harry’s childhood.

walmer enterprises cabinet fabricatingAfter a few years building, packaging, and delivering “Walmer Rollers” in the family station wagon to toy stores around the DC area, a shop owner in Annapolis encouraged another product: dollhouses. In the early 70’s there were few good quality wooden dollhouses in the U.S. and what were available were expensive and often in short supply during the busy holiday season.

After designing, building and market-testing a few dollhouse models, Harry incorporated Walmer Enterprises, Inc. in October, 1972. The business moved out of the garage and into successively larger spaces until it occupied 12,000 square feet in Alexandria. Walmer Dollhouses became one of the largest and best known manufacturers of quality wooden dollhouses in the U.S., with distribution throughout the U.S., in Canada and Europe. Two sons came into the business and went,but Harry’s son-in-law Judd Horbaly came in 1976 and stayed. Judd’s wife and Harry’s daughter, Lorraine, joined the company in 1982. Fully embracing the dollhouse business, she formed an international company, Designer Home International Ltd with a British partner, for the sourcing and importing of sophisticated miniature accessories for dollhouses. This became another division of the company.

walmer enterprises cabinet paintingWalmer Dollhouses flourished along side a third division with the company which was Judd’s creation in 1980: custom cabinetry. Beginning with a contract to provide bookcases for the Hechinger chain of hardware stores, our cabinetry business was launched. Our design and manufacturing capabilities continued to grow in both variety and sophistication. We began working with our first production homebuilder client in 1986 which became the foundation of the business as it exists today.

As the cabinetry division grew and became self-sustaining, we decided in 1999 to sell the dollhouse division to a company in Vermont which still manufactures many of our models. Since then our cabinetry company has continued to grow in both size and reputation. We work with many production and custom builders in the D.C. area, as well as with design/build and remodeling firms. In 2013, we joined a Virginia-based production homebuilder with whom we have worked for many years in their expansion into Pennsylvania, Delaware and North Carolina to provide cabinetry for their homes in those states.

In 1999, Judd and Lorraine were joined by their son-in-law David and their daughter Maegan, who will carry on the family business, writing new chapters in our company’s history. We honor Harry Walmer’s memory and founding principles through our commitment to provide our clients consistently high quality product and service in all we do.