How I Became an Interior Designer

Updated: Jan 17, 2020

Many people ask me why I walked away from a 10-year career in higher education to become an interior designer. The short answer is that interior design has always been a passion of mine, I realized life is too short to not follow your bliss, and I took the plunge. But here's the long answer...

I've always been a creative person. I love music. I watched MTV with my older, cooler aunts as a child. I played the violin from 3rd grade through high school and sang in chorus from middle school through high school. I'm definitely the first person you should call for your trivia team if there's a music category. And I may or may not be rocking out to the Prince of Darkness himself while writing this.

I've also been pretty crafty. Again, back in the day, I loved making pot holders on my loom, weaving friendship bracelets with DM floss, and making keychains with Perler beads (If only Etsy existed back in the 1980s. I could have made a killing!).

The love specifically for interior design all started for me when I watched "This Old House" with my parents as a child. Bob Villa had such a soothing voice and made every project he did seem doable for anyone (much like another childhood hero of mine named Bob, Bob Ross). Side note - if you want to learn more about Bob Villa and how he paved the way for the home renovation movement (pun intended),check this article from Popular Mechanics - it's a great read!

Then, the year 2000 was the true game changer for me. Enter a little show called "Trading Spaces". I absolutely LOVED watching every week. Cut to 22-year-old Angela who just moved into her first apartment with her then boyfriend (now husband) and had NO money whatsoever, buying all the "Trading Spaces" books published. I even dragged said boyfriend turned husband to a home show in Boston to see Vern Yip give a lecture.

The practical side of me didn't think a career in interior design was in the cards for me at the time because I just graduated from college with a double major in communications and psychology. I needed a job to pay my bills (and pay back my student loans).

So, interior design as a viable career path went on the back burner until 2 years ago. I still kept up as best I could with different interior design articles, magazines, and TV shows up until that point. A series of personal events made me stop in my tracks and reevaluate my life.

The first event was getting sick with some sort of virus that had me bedridden and in pain for 3 weeks. A few months later, I had a major depressive episode and series of panic attacks that had me in an outpatient program for a few weeks.

Then, my husband and I went to TX for our 10-year wedding anniversary. It was there that I saw the empire that Chip and Joanna Gaines have built (and are continuing to build upon). I couldn't help but be inspired. And finally, our neighbor and family friend lost their 18-year-old son after a brief illness.

All of these events came one right after the other. They taught me that when all is said and done, life is too short to not be happy. Interior design had always been a passion of mine, and something I had some innate talent for. So, I took the BIGGEST risk of my life by walking away from a 10 year career in higher education and went back to school for interior design. I decided to take a chance on myself.

ANOTHER side note/fun fact - one of my projects when I was in school was to design a loft space for a famous immigrant. The person I picked was Benny Andersson from ABBA. Commercials for Mamma Mia! the musical were blowing up the air waves and my son was singing Mamma Mia! in the car one day. And there you have it. It was definitely my favorite school project to date.

Now we're back to today. The journey of being an entrepreneur lone wolf is scary at times. The decisions made for my business are made by me and me alone. I don't have a business partner to bounce ideas off of. I don't have an intern to take on some of the not-so-exciting administrative tasks so my sole focus is on interior design. I'm truly a one-man band, y'all.

However, I wouldn't change it for the world. I control my schedule so I can be around to bring my son to school, take him to appointments, and help him with his homework after school. I get to be creative almost all day, every day (well, except for the "administrative" stuff). And most importantly, I believe I'm having a positive impact on the world in some small way by designing spaces that families can create memories in for years to come. I hope what I've written helps at least one person who is scared to follow their dreams. If it has, then my long and bumpy journey has been worth it. Until next time...

Happy Designing!

- Angela :)

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