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Janie Wright

Q: Where are you from?

I am originally from Waverly, Tennessee. I feel that growing up in a small town of 4,000 people shaped me in many ways. Even though I have left and explored, I always love the feeling of driving back into my hometown. I love that it feels like nothing has changed at all, but then every now and then there’s a surprise that keeps things interesting.

Q: Where did you go to school?

I studied architecture at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. This experience opened my world to study abroad, which was quite literally life changing for me. The first study abroad trip I took was around the Gulf of Finland. From the moment I landed in Sweden, I knew that traveling was going to be a big part of my life. The opportunity to learn about architecture by experiencing it within a cultural context was profound for me. Following this trip, I went on to do a semester abroad in Krakow, Poland. This love for travel eventually led to an opportunity to work abroad in Indonesia building Bamboo architecture. My time on the island reignited my creative spirit and helped me see design from a new perspective.

Q: Tell me about your family.

My family is all from Tennessee. Most of them live within miles of each other, many on the same street. My parents are my biggest supporters and what I am most grateful for in my life. They have been incredibly patient with me as I have pushed the boundaries and forced them to leave their comfort zones on multiple occasions. I also have multiple families across the world, both human and animal. My Bali family is near and dear to my heart as they helped me through one of the most adventurous and challenging times in my life.

Q: What is the most interesting aspect of architecture to you?

Most of my experience is in hospitality design and I have always aspired to work on single family residential. In both project types, I get to help design an experience and create the backdrop for so many life moments. My work in Bali was highly focused on how a person feels in a space and how materials can impact that feeling. This work deepened my passion for architecture and interior design. Combining this concept with the framework of the senses and elements is where I find so much joy and possibility to create an impact through design.

Q: What kinds of projects do you most enjoy working on?

Residential design. I love the idea that I get to help shape someone’s daily life. A person’s home is the place they should feel the most themselves and the most comforted. This is the place where they will have their morning coffee and spend time with their family. Where they will make major life decisions and host milestone events. It’s where they will come back to after a long day and find solace. It’s a huge gift to give to someone and a very meaningful relationship to me.

Q: What are the top three things on your bucket list?

1. Travel to as many places as possible! Would love for my parents to see the places I’ve lived abroad and to show them how much it means to have had their support along the way. 2. Dance in a flash mob! I have actually done this once before and am patiently awaiting the next opportunity. 3. Like most architects, I dream of building my own house!

Q: How does your personal identity shape your design practice?

I feel my identity has shifted and built upon itself with every new experience. I am a very different person than I was growing up in Waverly, but also the same in many ways. I grew up questioning things. Why things are the way they are and how can they be different or better. I am a very curious person and enjoy learning new things that change my perspective. I feel this is highly important in design. With each new client, I get to learn about their own experiences and unique backgrounds, while also discovering a new site with interesting limitations and possibilities. There is so much to learn from each new project and each time it reshapes the identity I have as a designer.

Q: What are five features you would include in your dream home?

1. Nooks, lots of nooks! 2. Luxurious retreat style bathtub set in nature where I can see the stars and completely escape. 3. Secret rooms and passages that create interest and mystery. 4. Views of both the sunrise and the sunset. I feel it is important to align my life with the cycle of the sun, but also because I feel these are magical moments that happen every day and should not be missed. 5. Seamless indoor/outdoor environment that celebrates the way the environment impacts and weathers spaces over time and is overflowing with edible plants!

Q: Where are you most excited to travel next?

This list is constantly growing and hard to choose just one. I guess I can say I am the most eager to return to Bali at some point. It will always hold a special place in my heart and be a second home to me.

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