Consider Me A Doctor Who Makes House Calls

Posted on December 2, 2011

Throughout my five-year career as an interior designer, I’ve always heard fellow interior designers talk about their childhood love of design. Constantly rearranging their room or working on craft projects were topics high on their list of design memories. I was quite the opposite; my childhood room was never reorganized and I never had a crafty touch. I grew up with lofty dreams of becoming the next great geneticist, which is fitting because I graduated with my first degree in Neuropsychology. But looking back, there were fleeting moments of what was to come in developing my love and passion for the field of interior design. Whether the room was big or small, I was constantly examining the space I was in, and from high school into college, I was always describing myself as ‘environmentally sensitive,’ reacting uncomfortably to spaces that were not well planned or were just plan ugly, in my mind.

As cliché as it sounds, I believe that the career of interior design found me rather than I found it. It was after college that I trying to find my way in a world where having only a bachelor’s degree meant nothing. Trying to secure a job with my undergraduate science degree was hopeless. Working for a temp agency, I took on a job as a receptionist at an architectural firm; from there I was referred to a contract furniture group to be their receptionist. I distinctly remember that day in the summer of 2004, after organizing a few rings of fabric samples heading back to my desk; I stopped at a table where a commercial floor plan lay. It was at that moment that a cartoon light bulb went off over my head. Studying the floor plan was, for me, the equivalent of studying a famous piece of artwork. I was both amazed and grounded by the fact that this 2D piece of paper with lines of positive and negative space held all the information to create a 3D structure. To make a long story short, I asked the project manager who sat next to me about her background in interior design. By the fall of 2004, I was enrolled at Texas State University-San Marcos. Three years later, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in interior design. After four years of working under an acclaimed interior designer in Austin and passing the qualification exam, I opened the doors to Allison Jaffe Interior Design. I will be celebrating my second year as a two-time award-winning interior design business owner this December.

After years of reflection, I know exactly why I love being an interior designer and the field of interior design. Interior design has always been described as an art-science. The use of color and light theory, space planning and other science-related fields play to both sides of my brain. It is, in my opinion, the grand culmination of art and science.

I often joke with other designers in the field that many times we take on the role of psychologist when working with clients or husband and wife teams. This is why I thrive on client-designer collaboration. The collaboration and involvement with the client for every design project is essential in order to execute the perfect design for each individual’s needs. When a client is interviewing me for a project, I always explain to them that this is their project and that they are the end-user. Using my expertise, I am here as a guide to helping them to make the best decision possible for their home. The strong emphasis on client-designer collaboration is what makes each project so successful. I also do not subscribe to a niche style of design. Being able to flex my design muscle in all styles of design keeps each job so interesting.

I look around at my fellow 30-year-old friends complain about being stuck behind a desk in a cube farm, and remind myself every day how lucky I am to have discovered my passion relatively early in life, and that I was able to build a career out of it. I may not be that geneticist that I dreamed of being as a little girl, but I say I’ve come close to being a pretty good scientist of the home. 

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Garza for Collective Perspectives

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Allison Jaffe

Award-winning ATX Interior Designer|Social Shaker|Community Pathfinder|Girl on a Mission

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