feeling like i’m back in design school

Lately my life has been taken over by this little thing called the NCIDQ interior design exam.  AKA my licensing exam.  AKA what I have labeled as my career defining test.  For the latest couple of months, I’ve been studying in the evenings after work, and I tell ya what, these drawing exercises have definitely been putting a cramp on my weekends.

Maybe you remember in the blog’s earlier days me mentioning that I passed the first two sections of this test.  Yes, it was awesome – but, moving on – I still have the other 8 hours to pass. This time it’s the hand drafting portion of the test. And honestly, this FREAKS ME THE F OUT.

floorplan sketch

Let’s be serious here: it’s the first time since college I’ve picked up a drafting board, templates, and triangles.  So… 7 years?! (Wow, I feel like a dinosaur.)  My house currently looks like a studio bomb went off.  Tracing paper on the floors.  Study guides on the chair.  Books haphazardly thrown about.  Drafting dots on the dining table.  Laptop with about 27 tabs open, with crucial info that I CANNOT FORGET or else I will never forgive myself.

I’ve always been a pretty good test taker, but by that I mean I am a pro at cramming info in my head and regurgitating it correctly on exam day.  This test is different – it’s a series of 7 drawing exercises.  There’s no way to cram –  it’s all about understanding, being a quick problem solver, and having legit skills.  When I started this whole process I was so rusty at hand drafting it’s not even funny.  Despite all of these uneasy feelings, I officially registered myself for the test last month on the day before the deadline. (Commitment issues?  Maybe.  But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t wait to the wee hours.)

Anyways, I take the test 9 days from today, next Saturday.  Excuse my absence from the blog as I get through home stretch.  If anybody has any strategies, thoughts, or good luck charms they want to pass on I will love you forever. xo. Okay, rant over.  Hope you are having a great week!

design obsession: mixed metals

With brass and copper making a huge comeback in the design world, one of my favorite looks is to mix metals.

black and white kitchen and mixed metals

mixed metal fashion

Black and white kitchens are the perfect set up for contrasting metal tones.  The faucets and hardware become like a piece of jewelry.

black and white kitchen with brass and chrome accents

mixed metals in the kitchen

Brass and chrome are an obvious pair, but the possibilities are endless.

 

Aged Bronze with steel gives a modern vintage look.

love this kitchen - black, white, stainless

The key is contrast.  Pairing very different metal tones will give a unique, high-styled appearance.

mixed metals living room

Loving the brass and copper accents together in this kitchen.

copper in the kitchen

Is that a blinged-out shampoo niche or what?!

sparkly accent tile niche

Here’s a few of my favorite metallic finds:

mixed metals inspiration board - Vim & Vintage Blog

1. Avery Metal Lamp | Crate & Barrel 2. 3pc Mixed Metal Canister Set | CB2 3. Fulton Light | Hinkley Lighting 4. Winslow Cabinet | World’s Away 5. Copper Real Good Counterstool | Blu Dot 6. Stool | Jayson Home

thursday thoughts: make it happen

This post is in memory of my Great Aunt Janet, who passed away this morning.  She was everything I hope to be in life:  positive, witty, independent, well-traveled, insightful.

I was lucky enough to visit with her in December.  Her illness was progressing, and I knew it would be the last time I would see her.  She told me to always make time to do the things I want to do, because life goes by so fast.  Such a great reminder that if we want something, we need to make it happen!

i like things to happen. and if they don't happen I like to make them happen.  -winston churchill

my journey as told through 2 fabric books

It’s Monday. I usually don’t post on Mondays, but I kind of have a story to tell this time.  So here goes….

Over the weekend, I was cleaning out my office and decided it was time to purge.  As you may know, parting with anything sentimental is not an easy task for me. I came across a couple of artifacts that have made it all the way from FL, back to MI, again to FL, and now to TX.  2 beautiful fabric books that I kept from my first design job ever.

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It’s like it was just yesterday. I was 22 and interning for Kim Ederer. She actually believed me when I said I would move to Florida for 12 weeks in the summer to intern. She gave me a chance, and I was so excited. I found a studio to rent in Inlet Beach for that summer in 2007. I remember just how excited I was to go to work everyday. I was like a design sponge – soaking up all the beautiful fabrics and furniture, learning as much as I could about the process. I was blown away by just how much more fast paced it was in comparison to my classes.  And just how poised Kim and Rosanne were as they tackled everything from a freight damaged table to a client presentation. I never wanted my internship to end, and I only hoped I could grow up and be successful like them.

That summer they moved offices, so taking on an intern to clean out and reorganize that massive fabric library was a huge selling point.  As I sifted through hundreds of fabric books, I came across 2 duplicate books. They were absolutely gorgeous. Instead of throwing them away, I kept them. I just thought the patterns and colors were so beautiful. So when my internship ended, I took them back up to Michigan with me.  I showed my design friends my treasured books and told them all about my Florida adventures.

That next summer after graduation, I moved to Florida.  The books came with me.  Finding a design job was not easy. It was 2008 and the recession had just hit. I had $1000 and an air mattress to my name, but more importantly, a will to be successful. I worked in an art gallery, as a waitress, and for a lawyer that year.  From time to time I’d crack open those fabric books and keep the dream alive of landing a job in the interior design field. A year later in 2009, I went into Pizitz Home & Cottage with my resume. They weren’t hiring, but they said they’d keep it on file. About a month later I got a phone call saying they could use some extra help for the summer. I was elated. I put in my 2 weeks notice at the immigration law office and I was on my way.

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Working for Pizitz blew me away. I was surrounded by beautiful things, friendly people, and a gorgeous backdrop for over 2 years. I’d eat my lunches overlooking the ocean.  Seaside was just so perfect and amazing.  It was really too good to be true, although looking back I think I was too young to realize it.  In September of 2011, Nate received a job offer in San Antonio he couldn’t refuse.  We were young, newlywed, and ready for the world.  I was the driving force behind it all.  The economy was so good in Texas, and I figured I could get some great design experience. I envisioned what city life would look like, and it was enticing.  We quickly said goodbye to the beach, packed up our townhouse, and headed to the Lone Star State. It was exciting and scary as hell.

The economy was as good as I imagined.  I found a job within 3 weeks at a crazy busy design firm in San Antonio. I didn’t feel completely settled yet, but I was ready to jump in.  The vibes were different from the beach though. I traded in my flip-flops for black pumps, and my jeans for dress pants.  Although I was stressed out 24/7, I tried to keep a laid back attitude.  It was hard for me when that outlook wasn’t accepted or understood. I remember the designer I worked for literally saying to me, “Aren’t you freaking out??”. Umm yes, I was inside. Being miserable was the norm around there, so if you were happy it must mean you weren’t working hard enough.  I felt like I couldn’t be me. I felt like I couldn’t celebrate design or have a life. I felt like a robot, cranking out work with no emotion. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t rocket science.  It was interior design.  After 2 years of that crap, I took my life back, realizing I never would want to climb up that company ladder.

Instantly, a huge weight had been lifted. My job search efforts led me to 2 offers.  I decided to take the more unconventional one, working from home and in Austin.  I couldn’t have made a better decision.  Michelle is the most understanding and fun person. She gave me my creativity back, and in a sense, my life. I’ve learned more about design and really myself than I have in recent times. We work hard and we play hard, which has always been my philosophy. Austin is such a creative and inspiring hub, pushing the limits with design. It’s exactly what I needed.

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Working at home has helped rejuvenate me.  Of course if you’re going to work from home, you most definitely need to be organized, or else it doesn’t work out too well.  As I’m attempting to downsize my collection of books, samples, and other stuff, guess what I stumble upon?  Those 2 books. Flipping through those fabrics took me back 8 years. I went back through the journey and relived what has become my story.  I became emotional, but in that moment I didn’t understand why.  I can finally say I’m inspired in the way I as back then. I really didn’t want to part with the books, I cut out some of my favorite fabrics out of them.

Sometimes I wonder if leaving Florida was the right move.  I still feel like my heart is there.  Like maybe it’s the place I’m still meant to be.  But deep down I know there are no mistakes.  Everything happens for a reason. I’ve gained so much knowledge here in Texas. I’ve learned what I want to be like, and what I don’t want to be like in my career.  Some of our friends living in Florida seem to think we’ll end up there again one day.  Who knows. Maybe we will.  But what I do know is that I’m just so eternally grateful to be part of the career field I’m in.  I’m happy I stuck with it.  I’ve been a good mixture of lucky and blessed in my life, sharing it all with some great people along the way.  I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and look forward to where the future will take me.

there are no mistakes only opportunities.  - tina fey