Your first crush is hard to shake. I guess I never really got over mine. After various scientific degrees and a successful career in biotech, my creative itch never let up. While on maternity leave with my third child, I took an interior design course that rekindled a flame that lay idle behind beakers and boardrooms for years. Of course it wasn’t an easy decision, but within a few months I quit my job, enrolled in design school and never looked back.
My interest in decorative arts and design was always present, although early in life I didn’t recognize it as such. Looking back, there were many signs.
While watching my kids play one day with some old toys in my mom’s garage, I pulled out my old dollhouse: a beautiful, wood constructed Victorian that brought back many childhood memories. My mom and I laughed as we explored room by room, each meticulously decorated with carpet remnants, tile samples, wall paper cut outs, and tiny handmade throw pillows. Not a single doll inhabited that house, but it provided hours of entertainment as a kid.
Perhaps I should have caught on my first day of college when I was much more excited about decorating my dorm room than doing anything else. During graduate school in Boston I lived with a group of girlfriends in a Back Bay brownstone. We could barely afford the rent but we couldn't pass up this apartment that was rich in history and brimming with character. When I should have had my head deep in my biochemistry book, I found myself staring up longingly at the hand carved acanthus leaves on the crown molding perched 30 feet above.
I certainly don’t regret taking the long road to land in this business. My first career taught me to lead teams, manage vendors, navigate different personalities and most importantly to be resourceful. I was able to travel to some of the most amazing cities in the world from Cape Town to Istanbul whose architecture and landscape would later be used as design inspiration.
Starting an interior design business is a homecoming of sorts in many ways. This is a point in my life that I am able to do what I love and not sacrifice the flexibility and time I need with my family. It also marks the official start of a love affair with my first crush, a creative passion that has stood the test of time. So, make room design industry. I’m pulling up a chair (an Eames Lounge, please) and staying a while.