What It Means To Be Recognized

Tonight, I got my first copy of House Beautiful December/January 2010.  I am featured on page 33, and following is a little story on how it happened and what it means to me.

A couple of months ago, a package appeared on my doorstop from Doretta Sperduto at House Beautiful.  I wasn’t home to get it, but when Bobby saw it, he opened it and found a letter recognizing me as being selected to their list of the “Next Wave of Top 20 Designers.”  He called me immediately to share the news.  I was getting ready to have dinner with a client in Atlanta, and the dinner suddenly went from general business to celebratory.

For years, I have dreamed of doing work that was good enough to be recognized on a national level.  What must be about 18 years ago now, I read an article in Southern Accents entitled “Four Under 40” (Four newly discovered designers). In the article, the editor said if a designer was not “discovered” on a national level by the time they were 40, they would never be discovered.  What a horrible comment for someone with the power of an editor to make.  Dreams can be dashed from words like these.

For me, those words became a driving force in my life.  From then on, I was on a mission to get “discovered” by the time I was 40.  I knew my work was good.  My clients love what I do for them.  They refer me.  For all practical purposes, I had been discovered for years.  It is different though to have someone who knows nothing about you… someone who sees thousands of design projects each year… someone who has nothing to gain from recognizing you… notice your work and believe it to be good enough to receive national attention and share with their readers.

I never told anyone that story.  Bobby found it out only recently.  When my “discovery” actually happened and the letter came, my reaction was not what I had expected.  I was excited about it enough, but there was a flood of other emotions.  Can I deliver the product these people expect of me?  How did they decide on me from what must have been hundreds of candidates?  Will this affect my life?  Do I want it to?  It was a humbling experience, and I think I grew up more on that day than any day in my life.  Tonight, after driving to the bookstore to get a copy of the issue, it was nice to open the magazine with Bobby, share the experience, and then move on to the rest of our evening.  Life really didn’t change.

Another thing the experience made me realize is that this one was not enough.  The drive that got me here has only grown stronger.  I want to continue to grow, to do even better work, to make a lasting impression on the design community, and to help people live in more beautiful spaces.  I hope you enjoy reading about what I do, seeing my work, and learning about what life inside the world of interior design is like.