My Why: The Story Behind My Passion for Interior Design
As a new business owner, I am frequently asked why I chose interior design and I stick with the short answer, “My father was a builder; I developed an interest for it at a young age because I was exposed to the process of home building.” Quite frankly, that’s my response because there’s a little shame behind the real reason. My response is still true; yes, my father is a builder, and yes I was around it at a young age, but my passion for interior design goes far beyond being a lover of pretty things. My passion stems from that feeling you get from being in a well-designed space. I truly believe that with good design, any space, no matter its condition, has the potential to create a sense of peacefulness, contentedness, and joy. I experienced it first hand in the run-down home I grew up in that was gradually fixed up over the years. There were several issues with the home but my parents couldn’t afford to fix those things all at once so it had to be done little by little. We had to live in it for many years during the not so pretty stages of remodeling. The home was purchased for $18,500, so that gives you an idea of how much work it actually needed.
***These pages were taken out of a scrapbook my mom made for the house. I was shocked she had made it because she does not do any crafting of any sort but this was her miracle house. The reason for that is another post in itself but it’s a pretty incredible story. A story I didn’t even know until I had asked for old pictures of the house.***
The property had previously been used as two apartments with a shared kitchen, so it had several odd characteristics. On top of that, the roof was sagging in, floors needed to be replaced, the kitchen needed updated, basically the whole place needed to be gutted, but that wasn’t an option. What my parents were able to do before moving in was replace the ceilings, paint the walls, and add carpet. That was enough to make the space livable.
**A few days after they closed on the house there was a small furnace fire. Luckily there was very little damage.**
***This was the kitchen that didn’t get remodeled for several years***
The house was very old so there were several cracks and crevices where mice could get in. I was terrified of the mice and still to this day I have a huge fear of them. At night when I would go to bed I would shove a towel underneath my door to seal up the crack so mice couldn’t get in. I did this in hopes that there wasn’t already one in my room, but a lot of the time there was. We had a spot in the front of the house where the floor had sagged down so low in the corner, similar to how the floor is sagging in this picture…
***That’s me on the left with the creepy expression, my sister has always been the cute one***
…but the spot in the front of the house had sagged so low that there was about an 8”gap between the floor and the wall that was just open to the outside. I remember when my brother brought his future in-laws over for the very first time to meet my parents. We were all sitting in the living room chatting and I look over and there was an opossum about a foot away from me that had gotten in through that gap. I screamed, “there’s an opossum!” and jumped up on the couch (how embarrassing for my brother). Of course, everyone else jumped too and then my dad picked it up by the tail and threw it outside (still gives me chills to think about). This wasn’t the only time an opossum got in either. This happened two or three more times and one of the times, my dad wasn’t home so my mom had to call animal control to come get it.
We constantly had a leak in the ceiling no matter how many times my dad would fix it. There would always be pans scattered throughout the house catching the water…are you starting to get the picture?
I am the youngest of four siblings (two sisters and a brother), so for most of my childhood I shared a room with my sister, Olivia. This was the first remodel on our room and that bunk bed was the coolest thing ever…
***Again, I’m not the cute one in the picture. Not sure what I was doing?***
As we got a little older our parents were able to put more work into the space. We got wallpaper, a canopy bed, built-in cabinets for us to store our Barbies in, and a TOMMY HILFIGER comforter. I put that in all caps because that was a huge deal; that was considered real fancy back in the day. I’m pretty sure my mom still has that comforter too.
***I was playing it cool for the picture but I was really excited :):)***
Then, once my brother moved out of the house to go to college, my parents agreed to fix up his room for me to move into. Of course I was SO excited for this to happen. I thought of ideas every day and pictured what my new room was going to be like. However, I got a little impatient for this remodel to happen… so I… uuhhh…poked a hole in my brother’s waterbed to speed things up. Very bratty, I know, but hey, you have to give me some credit for my determination. Sure enough, it worked. We even had to get new carpet in there because the water from the bed flooded the whole room. I’m not even sure if I’ve confessed that to my parents yet, actually??? Once I had this new room, I moved the furniture around all the time, repainted the walls, spent my babysitting money on a new comforter… anything I could do by myself, I would do it.
Finally, after about 22 years, my parents got the house fixed up and I loved it. It was turned into a cute little cottage, and then what did they do? They sold it and moved into an old farmhouse. By this time, I had graduated college and was living in Florida, but when I came home and saw the farmhouse… I cried. My mom laughed at me and said, “Why are you so upset? Think of what we can do with it!” But I knew it would take them several years to fix this one up too, so I was a little disappointed. They are actually in the middle of some major renovations right now so *YAY* it’s getting there!
These are just a few of the vivid memories I have, but I could go on and on. The point is that I remember how this home would make me feel… and part of it I hated. The other part of it I loved more than anything. I remember how I felt with each bit of progress that was made on the home and it is, and probably always will be, one of my absolute favorite feelings in the world. That’s why I do what I do, because I love being able to give other people that same feeling. Over the years, I’ve picked up on what updates can be done to a room to create that feeling. I can easily pick out what needs to be changed and come up with some creative solutions.
Ever since I was a little girl (back in the bunk bed days), I dreamed of my future home. Now I’m 25 and nowhere near buying a home. Instead I’m working on homes for other people and that’s a much bigger dream that I didn’t even think was achievable. I remember when I was creating my business plan to present to the banker for my loan and I had to list out my advantages over the competition in the area. I wanted to put down “I care a lot,” but a banker won’t lend you money simply because you care, so I left it off the list; however, I do still see that as a huge advantage because, when you care as much as I do, it will get accomplished one way or another, even if that means poking a hole in a waterbed. When I work on a project for a client, I put my heart in it 110% as if it were my own dream home. Seeing their reaction when it’s all said and done is what it’s all about.
I am currently working on turning a historic, two-story loft from the early 1900’s into an Airbnb. Being that I am the designer and the client for this project, it will be a true representation of my own personal style. I do have a tight budget for the project, so I am getting creative with ways to renovate and furnish the place. From the hand painted tile to the repurposed furniture, guests will be sure to have a unique experience. Once the project is complete (estimated mid to late October) I will share all my tips and tricks on how I managed to stay within the budget. Until then you can follow along on Instagram to see the progress.