How I Found My Way to Interior Design
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Shall we get started? I grew up in South Jersey, in a small town called Westampton. Its where I lived with my family, from the time I was 6, until I moved out out on my own when I was 26. In September of 2016 I moved to Philadelphia, it has been my home ever since. Growing up I loved art and anything that had to do with it. I had a pottery wheel, I wove hot pads for my mother (she had dozens of them...I'm pretty sure she still has a few), loved drawing (my mother still has them hanging in her office), building forts with blankets inside, igloo’s in the snow, Legos, anything I could get my hands on to create. The first time I sketched out a room I think I was 10, I tried to draw a perspective with my colored pencils. I had a terrible time with the throw pillows and it wasnt the best sketch but it ignited something in me.
I have a very analytical mind and at some point in my teenage years I realized I liked figuring out how to put things together, hotwiring the TV when my mom would take the power plug so we couldn’t watch TV all day, taking my radio apart to see how it worked and fixing things around the house. My father and I put the roof on the house when I was 16 and the idea of making buildings was solitified. I wanted to build things…not with my own hands or not quite so hands on but I was sure I wanted to make buildings someday.
I went to Interior Design school at Philadelphia University, now merged with Thomas Jefferson University, in East Falls Philadelphia. I graduated with my BS in Interior Design in 2007 just in time for the recession to hit a year later. At the time I was working in a small design firm in Moorestown working mostly on model homes for developers and on private residences and clubhouses. I would analyze the designs, make suggestions to builder for changes to the floor plans, locations for lighting, outlets and data connection points etc. and work on everything from custom trim design, lighting layouts and furniture selection, presentations, decor selection and staging. It was a small place so I was able to experience all the many stages of the design process. My boss at the time was not a kind person or a great boss, but she taught me a lot and looking back I am grateful for all I was able to learn from the other designers and people I worked with.
The path from my first design job out of college to starting my own business is a winding one. I was laid off during the recession in 2009 from the firm in Moorestown. It was not great timing financially but it was time to go, I had new things to learn. From there I worked for a family friend doing interior fire suppression system design and CAD (computer aided drafting) for his residential and commercial clients. Then I landed a full-time position at Judge AV a commercial audio-visual design company in King of Prussia. Shortly after I started, like 3 or so months later, the head designer went out on pregnancy leave and I became responsible for all of their design work and engineering drawings. I learned a great deal about the integration of technology into interior space and furniture. I left after a couple of years, I had been living in King of Prussia and wanted to move closer to the city. I went into commercial design and commercial furniture sales working with clients of all sizes in higher education and commercial office space primarily. I worked in the commercial design and furniture world for almost 9 years.
In 2017 I realized that the number of clients I was working with outside of my day job and the size of the projects was significant. The business had started itself. I officially launched SF Design Co. the beginning of 2018, and converted it to an LLC early 2019.
The image above is one of my first full home renovations begun prior to officially launching the business in 2018.