Steps to Today

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Soho – 2001

This week, Little Guy started his venture into Preschool.  Although this is only approximately 100 feet from his former “Toddlers” class down the hall, this is a major move in his world!  We’ve talked a lot about what it means to be a “big boy” and why he needs to move along.  He was a little anxious at first, but at the end of the day, he says he has fun.  Onward and upward!

As much as this blog is about him, it’s about me as well.  After all, the places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had are directly connected to my interaction with him.  I didn’t just wake up one morning and start a firm, Studio m Architecture + Design (well, in some ways, I kind of did).

Hit the books
I didn’t decide to go to Architecture school, I just went.  I don’t really remember there being a weighing of options except for what schools to apply to.  I chose the University of Cincinnati based on the 6 year co-op experience they offered.  By the end of 6 years, I had already logged 2 full years of experience in Architecture offices – and good ones too!  After spending time at home at a local firm, I traveled to Chicago, Santa Monica, and eventually wound up in NYC, and each experience was with a different type and size of firm.  I was able to work on large scale, high profile projects in CA like the Las Vegas Monorail & Universal Citywalk in Hollywood.  I also shifted focus and got to work on high end private residences in Soho, Upper West Side, and Midtown.  Mausoleum planning, Government courtroom interiors, K-12 educational facilities, I was even in the right place at the right time to work on some really cool “dot-com” projects with unlimited budgets.  In 2002, I was able to graduate with degrees in Architecture and Interior Design.

Get a Job!
As a graduate with 2 years experience, I found it incredibly easy to find a job, and accepted an offer from a boutique firm in NYC.  We worked on some really nice projects – high-end retail, corporate interiors, banking, and detailed interior renovations/conversions of large buildings in the City.  This was the goal since I was a kid.  I wanted to be an Architect in NYC!  I loved every minute of it, but was more than happy to move back to PA with my soon-to-be wife.

Bring it Home
I love living where I came from.  There is the constant pull of Philadelphia, NYC, and other major cities that are so close to Northeast PA, but the fact that we are so close to all of them offers the best of both worlds.  After getting married and landing back here, I worked for a few local firms and continued to gain valuable experience ranging from single family residential projects to large scale student residence / educational buildings, as well as high-end retail in Las Vegas & Atlantic City.  I absolutely loved the fact that I was starting to work more and more in PA.  I like the high profile projects all over the country, but it’s great to work with local people on local projects too.

Start it Up
I’ve learned something at every job I’ve had and the people I’ve worked with have been great.  I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without the path behind me.  In 2013, I left my position as Associate at a local firm and started my own.  The experience in the past has equipped me to be able to handle the large-scale projects, and the fact that I do most of the work on my own allows me to tackle small projects as well.  It’s absolutely an adjustment to be responsible for every aspect of the business, but things are starting to run on rails.  I’m also able to be more flexible with my time and get to work around Little Guy’s schedule, and that’s been the most rewarding aspect so far.

Keep on Walking
Onward and Upward.  Little Guy is taking his next few steps, and I will too!  There are some exciting things in store for the business this year and it looks like we’re on track to build our new house in the Spring.  I’m sure he will be extremely involved in the process.  So far, his request for his room is that it looks like Radiator Springs (complete with “a floor that looks like mud”, and “pretend tires in the closet”.)

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