Introduction to Environmental Design: All About Me and My Past
Growing up in a town like Las Vegas was amazing. I spent most of my free time in Casinos where I would go to restaurants, arcades, theaters, shows, etc; it was definitely different than most childhoods. Even in elementary school, we would take field trips to various casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. I remember every Sunday my family would go to a local casino to have lunch. Going to these extravagant places were normal to me and I just assumed every city was like this. When I was 16 I started working at JCPenney at the Galleria Mall. I loved it because I can finally purchase items that I wanted and also the 20% discount didn't hurt. Working there was fun, I loved working with and meeting my coworkers (which were all around my age.) I really made some life long friends there.
Moving to the mid-west was a major culture shock. I was 18 and all I knew was Las Vegas. I never lived anywhere else up to that point. I got off the plane in the cold December winter wearing shorts and a tee shirt. I was not prepared for what I was encountering. I remember telling my friends that I feel like I traveled back into the 90's. Everything seemed old and outdated. I hated it. I even noticed that I didn't fit in with most people my age. The people here seemed real close to their families. Now that is not saying that us westerners aren't close, its just different. Here, they had family dinners, teens didn't work, and there were curfews. In Vegas, most of us worked, had cars, went out to dinner, and stayed out late. I noticed the people my age were a lot more independent in Vegas than our mid-west counterparts. I never felt so young and grown up at the same time.
In time, I started to keep myself occupied with work. I went back to JCPenney, but this time it was the mid-west version. The store was the same, different layout, but it felt like home. One major difference that I noticed was that everyone was older, I was the only one in my teens, everyone was in their 20's, 30's, and above. It was a vast contrast from the Galleria, where 90% of the workers at my store were between 16-19. It was different, but I got used to hanging out with an older group of friends. In my free time I used my discount to purchase items for my new room. It became something of an obsession of mine. I purchased bedding, pillows, storage items, etc. I loved it. Then one day I discovered the amazing world of IKEA. I was in heaven. IKEA changed the way I furnished my room. It helped elevate my style from teen to adult. I purchased bookshelves, a bed, lamps, and art work. I wanted my room to look like a page from their catalog and it did.
Another thing I enjoyed doing was watching reality tv. I quickly became a loyal viewer of Bravo's Flipping Out. Flipping Out follows house flipper and designer Jeff Lewis as he purchases homes, redesigns them, and sells them for profit. In 2009 when the economy went down, Jeff expanded his business and started taking on clients for design projects. I noticed the progression from house flipper to full on interior designer. I loved his aesthetic. The way he managed to pull things together in such an easy elegant way was inspirational. He even came out with a paint line where every color matched. The palette was a sea of muted tones and calming grays. I loved the paint and still use it today. Jeff currently has a deal with the furniture retailer Walter E. Smithe. where he is the creative director for their ads and catalogs. I have got to say that Jeff Lewis is my biggest design inspiration. I would love to work with him sometime in the future.
If you would like to see his work, here is a link to his web page.