#ArchiTalks 22 "then and now"

Then and Now


“What I thought I was going to be doing when I graduated versus what I am actually doing.”

Then: June 1988
When I graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (minus that College Algebra class), I thought that I would go on to run my own architectural firm.

Now: November 2016
I run my own architectural firm.


Well, it isn’t really that simple, there were obviously a lot of years in between, well actually there were only 6 years, but I think, as I have expressed in other #architalks blogs, there were a lot of years after that I wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted or if that was what I should be focusing on or if I should just go and work for someone else in a bigger corporate firm or a small firm or any other firm besides mine.

Then, I had worked for a small firm in La Mesa, California since 1985 working on single and multi-family residential. After Cal Poly, having gone to school in Copenhagen, Denmark and studied social housing and with high hopes about making a change in the world, I looked for work in Los Angeles and I was referred to a woman architect who was working on a remodel/addition of an existing building into the Metropolitan Community Church (a church that the gay and lesbian community had started because they were not welcome at other churches) with an AIDS Memorial Wall to commemorate the people who were dying of AIDS.  There was also an organization that wanted to do a small group home (Caring for Babies with AIDS) next door to the church.  Work started slowing down after a few months and I realized that I would not be able to afford it there.  I moved back to San Diego in with my parents and grandmother and would go back and forth to L.A. to work on projects at one office and I designed the new office for the corporation my stepfather worked for and did plans for and addition to my parent’s house.  A little less than a year later, I went back up to Venice Beach and worked for the same architect on another Caring for Babies House and worked on affordable housing in the City of Santa Monica.

Now, twenty-two years after I became a mother, and now working full time for myself after almost 20 years of part time (well, let’s face it with any other career it would have been full time and I did most of the caregiving myself), I do primarily custom residential in the San Diego area along with smaller multi-family housing, office remodels, code enforcement, etc, etc.  I would like to do more affordable housing work, projects for the State and National Parks and any projects for non-profit organizations.  On my way to Coronado, I make myself drive through the East Village on 16th Street past the people who have no homes, to remind me of why I wanted to be an architect then and why I am now: to create spaces for people.


Then, I thought I would never get married and maybe have one child and live in a house on or at least near the beach that we would design..  

Now, I have been married for 25 years and have three children (who aren’t really children anymore as the youngest is 16) and we live in La Mesa, California (10 miles to the beach) in a house that, well, the best thing about it is it’s apreciated value.

Then, I thought I would have a partner that I would share the business with.

Now, I am married to an architect and we do not have a practice together.


Then, I thought I would have some employees.

Now, I am still a sole proprietor and do all the work myself.

Then, I was somewhat active in the AIA as an Associate as a docent for the tours that benefitted non-profit organizations in West Los Angeles.  

Now, I am only involved with the AIA through the #ArchiTalks and I purchase the AIA Contracts but I stopped being a member after I became licensed.  

Then, I was not into politics, but I was AIAS Secretary at school and Reagan was in office.

Now, I am into politics and I am in my second term as a La Mesa planning commissioner and Obama is in office.

Then, I went to lectures to keep myself educated about architecture.

Now, I went to hear Billie Tsien speak and talk to her about how her mom was so excited that they got the commission to design the Obama Presidential Library.


Then I was a procrastinator and I stayed up late.

Now, I am only a little less so because of having had kids and my own office, but I still stay up late working on projects and once a month, this  blog...

Then and now and now and then….


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#Architalks 22 - Then and now