Q: Where are you from?
I grew up in Palo Alto, but I’ve lived in San Francisco for seven years.
Q: Where did you go to school?
I did my undergrad at UC San Diego, and grad school, where I got my Masters of Architecture degree, at UCLA.
Q: Tell me about your family.
My husband’s name is Ben, we met through mutual friends and have been married for 9 ½ months! My roommate at the time was out to dinner with some friends at local Mexican restaurant and I was heading home from a happy hour after work. I met up with them, he was there, we got to talking, and the rest is history.
My husband’s parents live in LA along with his younger sister. My grandfather who is 91 lives with my parents in Palo Alto, but they’re getting ready to move to Boston for a couple of years. I also have a younger brother who lives in Sunnyvale and works in San Jose.
Q: When did you first develop an interest in architecture?
Probably when my parents remodeled their house, I was about 14. The process of creating plans seemed cool, and it was fun getting to design a custom home just for them. The whole house was remolded, but my only contribution at the time was painting my room bright yellow
I actually started as a molecular bio major at UCSD but pretty quickly realized that I didn’t really want to be a doctor or go into research. I wasn’t passionate about pursuing a career in science, so I started thinking about what else I was interested in. Math and art had always appealed to me, so architecture seemed like a good combination of the two. UCSD doesn’t have an architecture program though, so I majored in urban studies and planning, knowing I would do a masters in architecture eventually.
Q: What kinds of projects do you most enjoy working on?
Projects for nice people! I like working on single family residential designs. Designing for someone’s forever home and making it custom for what their family needs is really rewarding. One of my favorite projects was a home I worked on a home in Portola Valley for a very sweet family a few years back. The clients were really nice, the contractor was great, and the design was modern but restrained. We were able to do really beautiful custom details, all the furniture too, inside and out. I also enjoy working on interiors. All of it together makes the complete package
Q: How long have you worked at FA?
I’ve worked here for two years! But I’ve been working in San Francisco for about 7 years.
Q: What makes our office unique?
The people and the culture. Everyone has very unique personalities and there’s a good mix of people with different strengths. It’s easy to ask people different questions, since everyone is an expert in a unique area.
The partners and upper management make an effort to create a good work environment, with the happy hours, Monday lunches, occasional massages, gift cards, etc.
Q: What’s your favorite part about coming to work?
My favorite days to come to work are the ones where I get to make a site visit, particularly when a project is under construction. It’s fun to see the design come to life. I also enjoy the days when I get to sit at my desk and design!
Q: Do you have a professional role model?
I thought a lot about this one. The closest person I can think of actually isn’t an architect, but a family friend, Maya Ajmera. She started the Global Fund for Children and is currently the President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public. She built an amazing career and is very confident, articulate, and outgoing. She seems to have a clear idea of what she wants and knows how to make it happen.
Q: How many countries have you travelled to?
I’m fortunate to have traveled a lot! In Europe I’ve been to England, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, and Austria. I studied abroad in Spain and did a lot of travelling around Europe at that time, plus when I was younger I had a French pen pal whom I visited. In Africa I’ve been to South Africa, Zambia, and Tanzania while visiting a friend in the Peace Corp. Mexico, Tahiti, Thailand, Indonesia, and Costa Rica were all family vacations. Speaking of, we have a lot of family in Canada and India as well. Lastly, in grad school I was working on a student project based in Brazil, so I was able to travel there twice.
Q: If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would you choose to play the part of you?
I don’t know what direction to go here, realistic or glamorous? If I was going to choose glamorous I would go with Beyoncé. Realistically… Mindy Kaling, because she’s Indian, smart and funny.