Annie has been an integral part of our team for 6 years here in Seattle and as both a licensed Architect and certified Interior Designer – with equal passion for both – she blurs the line between the two professions beautifully. We’re not only excited to highlight Annie but also share that she has made the big move over to Denver, Colorado and what that means both for her and for Atelier Drome.
Read on to learn about Annie as she shares, in her own words, about her background, why she believes the close integration between architecture and interior design is important, what gets her jazzed about design, and what drew her back over to Denver – and what’s next!
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Like many architects, I knew from an early age that I wanted to work in the built environment. My career path was a bit circuitous though, in large part due to the job prospects I found shortly after completing my undergraduate degree in 2008. With entry level architecture jobs in short supply that year, I took an opportunity to work with a developer building a New Urbanist community. My degree was from the University of Colorado in Environmental Design and although I primarily focused on architecture in my studies, I was nonetheless driven by the ethos of compact, mixed use, walkable neighborhoods and was fascinated by the history, politics, and zoning codes that create them.
Although I appreciated my time in planning and development, I was ultimately drawn back to the creative expression and shorter project timelines in architecture. I attended the University of Oregon in Eugene both for its graduate programs and because the city was known for having a strong sense of community. Drawn to both architecture and interior design, I pursued dual master’s degrees in both subjects. It’s not a path I’ve seen many others take, but I felt it was the right choice given my equal draw to both fields and, quite frankly, I didn’t want to shortchange myself on the opportunities that might lie ahead!
Architecture / Interior Design Interface
As the Atelier Drome team has written about before, there’s no clear end to architecture and beginning to interior design. The reality is, there’s a lot of crossover between the two subjects and I often find myself working in that overlap. As a perennial student of both though, I won’t shy away from proposing solutions across disciplines when I feel they’re appropriate. At their core, they are both fundamentally about solving spatial problems and one of the best things about donning both caps is simply having a larger toolkit to solve them. I’m a fixer by nature, so having access to that toolkit is especially energizing for me.
I also have a unique vantage point in which I’m often considering both subjects simultaneously in the design process. Historically architecture comes first, then the interiors. Occasionally this comes at the compromise of interior design, where a small architectural move could have a sizable impact on the interior design further down the line. For a lot of our clients, time, budget, and space are important factors for decision making, so having the ability to address problems and constraints with appropriately scaled tools is essential to finding the best solutions. I have always appreciated that Atelier Drome values both architecture and interior design equally right from the start of a project. Being part of a team where all sides have a seat at the table, and everyone works together for a common good is really inspiring!
Part of the reason I enjoy working with buildings as an architect and interior designer ties into my interest in history and, on the inverse, our future and long-term sustainability. Especially when working in urban environments where buildings have long and storied pasts, I think it’s fascinating to see history told through craftsmanship and the nuance of space and object. As designers and architects, we have a real responsibility to continue that story in a way that future generations can appreciate too. Taking this from an interior design standpoint, knowing and understanding the evolution of furniture types and styles can really enhance a space and provide great story telling opportunities for its occupants. As an office, we decided to focus on historical design styles as the theme for our annual snowflake patterns this year, and I was really excited to come up with a couple ideas myself and see what others were doing.
From a social and cultural sustainability standpoint, I’m also especially keen on creating spaces that have adaptability and longevity at their forefront. Urban or not, when we consider our spaces as the dynamic environments that they are, we also need to consider the day-to-day adaptations as well as the year over year. When we begin to layer in all the functions of a space that we need or might want in the future, often we end up with a series of spatial constraints to address. I’ve lived in a string of tiny spaces throughout my life so deeply understand the challenge of having multifaceted spaces that serve complex occupants and lifestyles. For homeowners and business owners alike, I can empathize with the desire to maximize our spaces and tailor them to their inhabitants.
I recently moved back to Colorado to be closer to family and snow after a decade in the northwest. Although I was distraught to leave our 1912 Craftsman behind in Seattle, I’ve found another great historical and walkable neighborhood in Denver with a lake nearby and a wonderful view of the mountains. We’ve already had measurable snowfall a few times this season and with each degree that the temperature drops, I’m reminded of all the attributes that make both Denver and Seattle wonderful communities to be a part of.
With my move to Denver, I’m looking forward to extending Atelier Drome’s client-focused values and community-minded spirit a thousand miles east. I’m eager to continue working with the same team that I have been a part of for years, utilizing all the technology that makes remote work possible and helps to reduce the feeling of distance between here to there. I’m confident our work will continue to serve our communities well!
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One of the things that makes Atelier Drome both special and unique is our focus on client and community and making the active choice not to hang our hat on one specific design style. For that reason, we have built an amazing team with a wide variety of backgrounds, experience and expertise which creates a great depth of collective knowledge for everyone to pull from. This also means our portfolio of work is highly varied with different project types, styles, and levels of complexity. This collaborative approach means that every designer – and every client – benefits from knowing that they have a diverse, yet unified team surrounding them. We are excited to step into this new chapter!
And to check out the snowflake designs mentioned above, those will be launching on December 8th and you can get the patterns for all 12 designs by signing up to our newsletter below.