Every few years, my parents would get the itch to move. Soon, I would find myself in what my parents called “fixer uppers”. Several times, I was horrified at the new house I was supposed to call “home,” but they always told me to wait and see…
Slowly these places transformed into my parents’ works of art. I learned at a young age that a good layout and flow was more important even than the aesthetics, because the aesthetics are easily updated. Many times, I trekked along with my mom to tile manufacturer after tile manufacturer, always trying to find the right colours to match the paint, to match the counters, to match the flooring.
In my younger years I often threw in my “two cents” and offered advice on structural elements I knew nothing about. “Nicole, you can’t do that!” my dad would retort. Little did he know such knowledge would become something I use every day!
My parents eventually decided to build a new home. They found a beautiful property, and it was exciting to watch their dream home (well, for the next two years at least) being constructed. I saw the process of building, from the foundation, to the walls, to the manufactured trusses. I even helped nail down the subfloor. It was intriguing standing on the earth one year, and the finished deck the next.
It was great to see the difference between doing a renovation, and building a new home. Where as in renovations, you have to work with what is existing, yet when building new the possibilities are endless!
After High School, I decided to enter the Architecture and Building Engineering Technology program at B.C.I.T. There I learned about the elements that went into designing a house, and how they worked together, from the foundation to the roof top. (Now I give my dad advice).
When working with clients and designing homes, I really appreciate the clients’ input because I know how personal a home can be, and each decisions that is made can have a huge impact on the success of their project, and their well being. We are designing personal homes, and those homes should reflect their inhabitants.
Working in the field makes you realize that it’s not just about making things look good, it’s also about function and meeting technical and municipal requirements. Residential design is much more demanding then I originally imagined. Especially in British Columbia where we have one of the strictest building codes in the world. Luckily for me, that is part of the fun: integrating innovation with function to create unexpected and liveable designs.
I am still waiting for my mom and dad to ask me to design their next house, I may have to wait a long time. I will always be their little girl.