Q: When did you first become interested in architecture?
I guess my interest started in high school when I declared Architecture as my major on my Cal Poly application. I applied for Biology at every other school, except that one. I don’t remember what I thought I was going to do with Biology, but I think I went for Architecture because it was more specific and it seemed to be exciting and defined. There wasn’t the typical “I love legos” phase or anything like that – I just liked design. I never took any art classes, so I wasn’t hugely artistic but I remember my mom and I designing my room all the time; rearranging the furniture, choosing the colors, and I found that to be super fun. I was into coloring and mixing patterns, and just had a sense of general childlike creativity.
Q: What is your favorite part of the design process? What kind of projects do you gravitate towards?
I’m visual, so I love looking at images on Instagram – that’s always a fun rabbit hole to fall into. I find a lot of inspiration in imagery, and often ask for reference images from our clients so I can pinpoint the look and feel we are trying to achieve. Images are especially effective for interior projects, which make up a large part of my work – it’s an effective way for the client to share their vision or ideal aesthetic with me and vice versa. Once I have a clear idea of the look and feel, I try to figure out the material palette. I get the physical materials in front of me before moving forward. We’re constantly getting new materials for our office library that I (try to!) organize and keep up to date. The materials library is so lovely and I feel like a kid in a candy store.
Q: What project are you most proud of?
Twin Peaks for a few reasons:
1. I very much enjoyed working with the client and admire her as a person.
2. I managed this project almost solo, which worked out well due to the wonderful collaboration between the client, the contractor, and myself.
3. It was the first project I worked on with an Interior Design scope – all furnishings and decorative items were in my scope as well.
Q: Who is your favorite female architect?
Patricia Urquiolav is someone I admire mostly because she has been so prolific for such a long time. I took notice of her after I realized that every furniture piece or tile I was liking was her design – I really appreciate her celebration of colors and texture. She can be modern without having the negative connotations that occasionally go with the term: like sleek, cold, and sterile. She uses a huge range of colors and has a multi-hued palette, yet her pieces feel neutral and timeless. Same with textures – her textures can be so outrageous, but in each individual piece, they feel just right. I also appreciate that she took her design sensibilities from architecture into product design and interiors. She must have fun getting to design every little thing.
Kelly Behun is another favorite of mine. She never fails to surprise me with a new thought, style, idea. Her designs are just fun.
Q: What is the most interesting project you’re working on right now?
I have two projects that I find really interesting for different reasons:
One is a home for a very creative family. They are pushing our team’s design “comfort zone” in a way that excites me. I love hearing their ideas and then figuring out how to shape them in a way that fits the house and makes sense within the larger design of the project. Their ideas are not superfluous; there is genuine thought and function behind each direction, but the design outcome is probably not one that I’d come to on my own – which I consider a very good thing. I love the collaboration and being pushed beyond my default design style.
The other project that comes to mind pushes me in a different way. The entire project team is diving deep into product, material, and systems research to understand the nuances that matter to this client. I’ve been having in depth conversations with vendors, product representatives, and subcontractors and learning more about the intricacies of their product, materials, and/or work. I’ve enjoyed gaining knowledge at such a detailed level and it’s allowed the team to really dial in the pieces that make up this project.
Q: How do you express yourself creatively outside of the office?
My creativity is pretty tapped at work. My time out of the office is focused on recharging. My husband and I like to keep our house and yard looking good, so there is some creativity there, but it often feels like we are the cobbler’s son/daughter with no shoes. We can get too exhausted to work on our own house and projects! Instead I prioritize being outside, exercise, hanging out with my kids and friends. I enjoy having a life separate from work.