A Design Career That Was Meant to BeBy
This Design Wednesday Wisdom is a not much about design but a lot about my career in interior design.
I write this on the cusp of a new beginning for Mary Sherwood Lake Living. As of Friday, May 15, the business will change ownership. Charlotte Smith plans to keep the MSLL traditions alive as she takes over as the new owner. I am sure the business will evolve over time, but for now look forward to a re-stocked showroom, a new special events calendar and other great things. We will keep you updated over the next few weeks as the changes occur. I will remain here during the transition and to complete existing design projects, so don’t say your goodbyes just yet!
Many of you have read about my background on the bio page of our blog, so I am not going to bore you with all those details. Let’s talk about some of the steps that lead me to where I am today.
As early as age six or seven, I was cutting room images and pasting design ideas together from my mother’s McCall’s and Better Homes and Gardens magazines. These became my first color boards or “mood” boards. I still have the scrapbook and would love to share some of it with you, but I don’t know where it is stashed. I didn’t know then but I know now that I was destined to be an interior designer.
After exploring a nursing career and later starting a small folk art mail order craft business, I decided to get serious about exploring design. I took one course and I was hooked. Never did I dream it would turn into this wonderful life experience.
Here is a picture of the model, built to scale, I created as a budding design student in 1985. We fabricated every piece that went into the room. Actually, for that stage of my career, it doesn’t look too bad.
In 1987, I opened a small design studio over “The Shop”, a hair salon in Roanoke Rapids. Murphy Doyle, the owner, was my best form of advertising. She sent all her customers upstairs to my studio. What a blessing in disguise! When I started this venture I bargained with my husband, Paul. I asked that he not pursue relocation for his career for at least two years to give me time to spread my “design” wings. He never asked me to move. He has supported me all the way!
We quickly outgrew our 400 square foot studio. So I made the big move to the “very quiet” Lake Gaston in 1991. My Roanoke Rapids customers felt like I was moving out to the “Wild, Wild West” of the lake county. It was the best move we ever made.
I also became a contributor to the Cruisin’ Round Lake Gaston published by C-Line Graphics in 1991. That was truly my first endeavor as a writer.
That inspired me to start our monthly newsletter which was sent out by “snail” mail. Some of you may remember this, The Best of Lake Living. It contained design tips, special event details and company happenings such as the birth of the first baby amongst our staff family. This newsletter was published for many years until it became too costly to print and stamp for distribution.
Then we entered the digital age! We progressed on with the Mary Sherwood Lake Living website. Just a few years ago Design Wisdom Wednesday (DWW) was born. DWW is opened regularly every week by many loyal followers. I am so touched by your loyalty.
I have been very fortunate to be a contributing columnist to the monthly The Lake Magazine. Each month it is a challenge to find a topic and photos to make it an “enjoyable” read. Thanks to The Lake Magazine, published by the Daily Herald, for the opportunity!
So technology has changed our world but not our approach to our customers and friends. There has never been a time when I haven’t welcomed seeing you walk through our door. (Well “almost” never…except when deadlines were looming.) We have remained small in numbers but big in heart and soul.
After opening the first design studio in 1987, we have moved, expanded and grown in so many ways. Some of you have seen us through all the changes since the very beginning. It is all of you that have made this such an incredible journey! Thanks cannot express my appreciation enough!
So, look for exciting new beginnings for Mary Sherwood Lake Living and for Paul and I as we embark on new adventures.
Love to all of you!!!