I was previously working for Williams Lester in Ringwood for 5 years. I did lots of residential work, some dentist surgeries, (which I’d never done before and was fascinating), and old people’s homes. The work was interesting, and a lot of it was for developers, but during that time I realised the bit I found most fun was doing an extension for a couple. The lady phoned me up asking for my advice, specifically my advice, on how to plan out her bedroom, so together we looked at the Ikea website and sorted out how she could plan out all her furniture. Although it wasn’t a brilliant designer, I found the experience really fulfilling as I had specifically helped someone, and so I thought that was what I wanted to do in the future.
Then I had a year and a half out of architecture when I worked in our local library to help with the childcare issues that we had at the time, and to be around more for my children- the eldest one was just entering GCSE stage so it was useful to be more local. The break was very good because I wanted to explore different options in architecture and decide where I was going to go next, and it gave me the time and the headspace to do that. I think without that time I wouldn’t have had the ability to look into Pride Road, because researching, work shadowing Lisa and going through the different agreements took quite a bit of time.
It’s funny how working in the library took me to where I am today, as it helped me realise I enjoy working with the public, and that’s quite different to working mainly with developers in an architecture practice, where you are mostly just sitting behind a computer. I loved being out and about and communicating with and working with people, and I really liked the teamwork aspect of working in the library.
These are definitely things that I found in Pride Road. Meeting Lisa was the first time I had met someone similar to me in architecture as she had 3 children, she had an up and down career in terms of being made redundant, she worked in different sorts of places and she had to adapt with the times. It was really such an eye opener to see what she had managed to achieve: how she had set up her business, and how she managed to make it work with family life- her children are in 3 different schools, as are mine. It was so useful to see someone else managing work and family life, and it’s so true that if you can visualise someone like you doing something, you can do it yourself. So, I knew I wanted to, and was able to, go back into architecture. I talked to lots of friends, particularly those who were a little bit older, who encouraged me to keep going with it in a way that suited me better.