I’m feeling nostalgic about my first year in business these days. For one thing, I’m coming up on the SIXTH anniversary of Room Fu on July 4th–Independence Day! It’s an incredible feeling because I never would’ve thought I’d take such a risk in the first place, this whole self-employment thing. To see it take shape and grow into this entity that people feel attached to and support with such zeal, it’s such a wonderful experience.

For another thing, I’m working again with two clients who were there in the beginning…one who was my second interior design client ever (Laura), and another who came along during that first year (Debby). Both have become friends of mine and treated me like family from the get-go, so it’s great to have an excuse to hang out with them more frequently lately.

Laura’s recently purchased a condo in a high-rise near campus, and it’s a total gut job. We’re blowing out the kitchen and creating one huge open space for the living, dining and kitchen areas. We’re also gutting two bathrooms, eliminating popcorn ceilings and replacing the flooring throughout the entire unit. I’m excited about the palette Laura wants to work with and the prospect of such an extensive transformation has me dealing with a level of insomnia that even my beloved Melatonin can’t cure. I’m constantly working and reworking the space in my head, brainstorming 24/7, and the mindpush is simultaneously exhausting and thrilling. When we get to the other side (hopefully September), the finished space will be unrecognizable as compared to the “before” state. Can’t wait.

Debby’s purchased a mid-century ranch in Allandale and is turning it into a short-term rental property she’ll eventually promote on Home Away. I’m channelling my inner hotelier in this manner for the second time this year, having furnished/decorated this home in South Austin back in February. This type of project is a complete and total blast because it’s exactly the type of place I’d prefer to stay when I’m on vacation–something filled with local charm and nothing like a chain hotel.

I’m so thankful for having a supportive new husband back in 2003, who said, “absolutely go for it!” when I broached the subject of starting my own business. I can’t believe how long I held a death grip on a job I kinda (okay, really) hated when it was so easy to make my own way once I took the leap. Everything happens the way it’s supposed to though, right?

I’m ecstatic to have the privilege of working with the people who become my clients. I don’t know if hoity-toity sticks-up-their-butts designers are as fortunate as I am. Although many of them make a crap ton more money than I make, I am proud to say that my clients tend not to be keeping-up-with-the-Joneses types, but rather are people who are building nests for themselves, and there’s a huge chasm in the personal satisfaction arena for me as a designer between those two groups of people.

My clients tend to be warm, friendly, goofy, personable, and not at all pretentious. Aren’t I awfully damn lucky??