I’ve been designing residential and commercial spaces for over 25 years and I still get asked, “Pat, how did you get started in this business?” To be honest, I chuckle every time and say “It was an accident!”
When I was in high school I enjoyed my art classes, but always felt that there was something missing. There was always something I could do better – something that would hold me back from being a success in fine art. I wanted to be the best in class at whatever I tried to do. So, while art was the class I enjoyed the most, I decided I needed to be more ‘practical’ and I went off to junior college and ultimately became a legal secretary.
Yet, I did not abandon art. I continued taking classes. Then, I reached an unexpected turning point. I was fortunate enough to have friends with a sailboat. While we were enjoying a beautiful day sailing, we began discussing my friend’s living room and what color it could be painted. This was the moment! I shared my thoughts on color and furniture placement. My friend was amazed at my suggestions and declared that I should be in the design business. After an initial moment of silence, I realized that this appealed to my creative side. Perhaps I could create beautiful places even if I didn’t feel that I could have a career in fine arts.
Over the next few months I investigated my options, pulled my art portfolio together and won a place at Parson’s School of Design. Parson’s was undergoing a shift in its thinking and wanted serious students who were determined to ‘make a difference’ in whatever field of design they chose to pursue. I worked very hard, competing with students with far more serious art backgrounds than mine. I learned about interior design, product design, landscape design, architectural design and more. While it was more challenging than I anticipated, I loved it and learned to keep my eyes open for design inspirations.
I’ve been designing spaces for over 25 years. My influences come from all around me. I love texture. I’ve recently returned to painting and find it filling a gap I hadn’t realized was there. There is art in so much of what we do. I feel lucky to have found a career that appeals to my creative side and allows me to create beautiful spaces.