I came back to interiors naturally as a third generation decorator who grew up in the business. The tradition began and remains with the women in my blended families; two grandmothers, my mother, an aunt, a cousin and me. Nature and nurture prevailed as my appreciation of the decorative arts was fostered early by watching them in their interior design businesses and home décor boutiques in Florida and New York from the mid 70s on.
I remember keenly noticing the details of many beautiful and comfortable homes we visited. It wasn’t necessarily about what they looked like but more about how they felt. My favorites were the ones that seemed to wrap you up in a cloak and told stories about the people who lived in them. How personal histories and interests were expressed through home and how people lived is the way I recall learning about the greater world at large. Those visits opened many portals and cultivated both my curiosity and creativity.
As a teen, I was known to redesign my room much to the consternation of my mother who had her own ideas about the beautifully run down Victorian house she was renovating. Once after a weekend out of town, my parents came home to find me hauling a massive carpet roll over the banister 20 feet up. I could have killed someone or myself but at 16 I wanted to live in a raw studio flooded with natural light. Always a hands-on kind of gal, I pulled everything out with my bare hands to expose rough but romantic paint splattered wood floors, took down all the window treatments and painted it Studio White - it was my perfection. Despite getting into fair trouble, it remains a fond memory and unique Room of One’s Own. It was also the beginning of an obsession.
The decorating antics carried on through college and while I was smitten with interiors, I headed to a liberal arts university to learn new things. There I explored my interests in archaeology, art history, studied english, psychology, writing, communications, co-edited the school newspaper and decorated every single space I lived in over the four years. I graduated with an open but unclear idea about what I wanted to pursue as a career and landed in Advertising. It wasn't a total fit so after four years, I decided to heed my calling and go back to school for formal design training.
In 2001 I attended the Parsons School of Design Interior Design AAS program while restarting my career at an entry level position in a high-end residential design office. Primarily doing admin work, I picked up on the day-to-day business and learned local resources for specialized interior projects. After that I went on to learn project management among the building trades, something school hadn’t taught. I spent three years as a project manager/design assistant working on private residential projects with awarded architecture firms Shope Reno Wharton and Roger Ferris + Partners, gleaning everything I could from each experience.
In 2004 with new and practical tools under my belt, I opened Studio K Interiors in Brooklyn, New York – the precursor to Freestyle Restyle. With the rise of internet resources and design blogs, the idea was to offer younger clients accessible, affordable home design services and expertise compared to the more traditional and mostly unattainable interior design standard of $100,000 “starter budgets.” Over four years business was good, fun and growing, then of course September 2008 happened. Wall Street crashed, the recession hit, life changed for many of my clientele and Studio K Interiors had to shut down.
In early Spring 2009 I went to work designing for the Lillian August flagship in Norwalk, Connecticut where I was surrounded by incredibly talented people who eat, sleep and breathe interiors. Everyday was a new inspiration and it was there that I rediscovered my infatuation with interior vignettes and the art of display.
After three busy and diverse design, trade and store management years, I was ready to run a studio again and this time with a name that described my approach more clearly. Freestyle Restyle, a home decor and styling service that focuses on redesign. Five years and counting, I'm incredibly grateful for all of the creative opportunities and wonderful people I've met thus far. For me, home is truly where the heart is and I love making people happy in theirs - it is without a doubt my dream job.
Interior Design, Redesign, Decorating, Styling & Project Management
Hoboken NJ, Ulster County NY, New York NY, 2012 - Present
Lillian August Furnishings & Design
NYC Trade Manager & Private Interior Design Services
Norwalk CT, New York NY, 2009 - 2012
Studio K Interiors
Interior Design, Decorating, Styling & Project Management
Brooklyn NY, 2004 – 2009
Aberdeen Properties, Inc.
Project Manager & Design Assistant
Greenwich CT, 2002 - 2004
Sheila Bridges Design
Office & Admin Assistant/Design Intern
New York NY, 2001 - 2002
Parsons School of Design, New York NY
Interior Design AAS, 2001 - 2002
Dean's List 2002
Clark University, Worcester MA
Bachelor of Arts – English, concentration in Communications & Writing, 1997
Living Arts Editor, The Scarlet, 1995 - 1997
Freestyle Restyle is a proud and sustaining monthly supporter of #aclu #greenpeaceusa #npr #nyclgbtcenter #nyimmigrationcoalition #plannedparenthood #ulstercorps #wnyc #womenrisingorg