A Designer’s Year in Review…

2 Jan

2011 was good. For me and for JGB Interiors. So good, that I feel the need to recap its happenings here in a little (ok, maybe not so little) post. Bear with me for a few minutes if this is too long or too personal; soon enough we’ll be back to chairs and chaises and coffee tables.

From L to R, top to bottom: a favorite vignette of mine, the humble beginnings of a photo collage, my son's second birthday cupcake tower, my baby, a fabulous custom upholstered bench with my ever-present notebook propped on it for a client meeting, my husband and I, a bathroom in progress (wrong color...it happens), a wonderfully detailed ceiling - freshly painted, a chic dining room, what a real house looks like (mine).

2011 was my first full year of “going-it-alone.” It was a huge challenge at times, both in terms of learning some professional ropes and in terms of learning to juggle my home life and my work life in a non-traditional format (and a non-traditional office space). Oh, and the taxes; those are always fun. I’d set some goals in January pertaining to the types of work I wanted to engage in and the volume of work I wanted to do. I’m thrilled to say that those goals were exceeded, and I have so much hope for 2012 in the way of my practice’s scope and potential.

My blog continues to grow organically on its own, in part due to my now nicely-sized arsenal of posts, which was a goal of mine from its inception almost 18 months ago. In 2011 I posted 178 times, and my monthly views grew to almost 6,000! My facebook followers gained some numbers and I joined Twitter, which I’m still learning…and sometimes loathing (Twitter is hard, you guys). Social media was good to me, and I wouldn’t be as productive without it.

Press helped me: “me” being the blog and my business. I continued doing some guest posts for the DC-centric blog Prince of Petworth. I did a few articles on Ask Miss A before realizing it was too much to take on regularly. In December, I was featured in The Washington Times twice (once with a photo!). One of my most flattering mentions was in DC Magazine in the early spring, where they called Paint It What I Tell You “arguably the best interiors site in DC.”

The photo (actually, I believe this is a similar one, not "the" one) featured in the Washington Times in early December of this year.

I worked with clients ranging from single bachelors to full-fledged large families. I worked on 11 bathrooms, which I learned I love doing! I designed a nursery that I fell in love with, and wrapped up two homes that I had been working on for close to a year. My 2011 clients lived in McLean, Falls Church, Arlington, Columbia Heights, Capitol Hill, Brookland, Potomac, Bethesda, and beyond. There were over a dozen children amongst the families I encountered, and my clients had four new babies last year (thought I didn’t have a hand in all of their nurseries, sadly). At one point in the middle of the year, I calculated that 70% of my clients were attorneys – welcome to DC. I specified the color “Stratton Blue” four times and the color “Taos Taupe” three times (both Benjamin Moore). I acquired a finish library that is beginning to overtake my home-office, and I upgraded my software more than a few times. I got into a good rhythm, and it remains a sustained and satisfying one.

I came to terms with the fact that when you do the type of work I do you develop real, often intimate, relationships with people, and that when your work is over you say goodbye to them and send them on their well-designed way. It’s a good feeling to have a good client, but I found myself leaving more than a few appointments feeling a bit sad, knowing they were wrapping up soon. That’s not to complain, but to say I’m grateful for having such a wonderful client base; past and present and hopefully in the future.

In my teaching-life, I continued my role as an adjunct faculty member at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. I maintained a small roster of continuing education classes and I embarked on teaching my first graduate studio, which focused on conceptual development and effective communication. I LOVED IT. My students were talented, sharp, enthusiastic, and each one inspired me in a different way. The feedback I received from them was constructive, flattering, and humbling, and I am looking so forward to teaching more courses at CCAD. Not only did it strengthen my teaching skills (which is something I’m very interested in keeping up), but it opened my eyes back up to the graduate-school world and helped keep me sharp in a way that I crave. In the spring, I was a juror for the Corcoran’s thesis students’ final presentations, and I was awed at their achievements and honored to be on the panel.  In the summer, I taught a seminar on Social Media and design. School is cool, you guys. It’s really cool.

One of my biggest goals was to continue to spend the most amount of time possible with my two year old son as he grows, and with the help of his wonderful day care provider and my amazing parents and my supportive (and awesome and handsome and hard-working) husband, I was able to live the ever-elusive double-life as a working designer and a mommy. We battled a few cases of strep throat (some together), the”terrible” twos (which aren’t), and a few minor scheduling emergencies. He came to one client meeting with me, and that was only a mild disaster. I watched him grow from an adorable little toddler who grunted phrases and ran around with directionless determination, into a smart, curious, sweet and affectionate preschooler who articulates his demands, scales counters with grace, gobbles down olives with abandon, and makes me laugh every single day. He is my favorite favorite favorite. That’s the best way I can put it.

Overall, 2011 was a good year in every way. I’m grateful that my business is growing in an economy that often isn’t, and I’m happy to have a happy, healthy family. I have every reason to be optimistic about 2012, and look forward to all that it brings both personally and professionally; hopefully this will include a website revamp, which I’ve been clamoring for for a year now and have yet to do.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year for you and yours, too!  And finally, thanks for reading my blog; it’s a passion of mine that wouldn’t be nearly as fun to cultivate if no one cared!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


5 Responses to “A Designer’s Year in Review…”

  1. Brittany January 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM #

    what a great review! Congrats on exceeding your goals! I hope 2012 brings even more projects and ways to lend your talents! wahoo!

  2. Emily January 2, 2012 at 7:37 PM #

    keep it up! so happy for you and love your work….hugs from paris

    • jgbinteriors January 5, 2012 at 12:05 AM #

      Thanks, Emily! Hope you’re enjoying Paris…but I can’t imagine you aren’t!


  1. Sneak Peek: A Beautiful Blue Bathroom. « Paint It What I Tell You - January 24, 2012

    […] out quite well! Here’s a sneak peek of a bathroom I worked on in 2011. I mentioned in my A Designer’s Year in Review post that I’ve come to really enjoy designing bathrooms, and this one was a huge part of […]

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