When I was little, I used to dream about going into people’s homes and sorting, reorganising and moving things around in order to make them look and feel better. I flippin loved those dreams and always woke up feeling excited after i’d had them.
“Is Karen coming out to play?”
“Kaz! Do you want to go and play out? Your friends are here…”
“No, i’m making a coffee table from an old washing powder box and a bit of old wallpaper left from my bedroom walls.”
“Not now, i’m just organising all of my teddy bears. In height order.”
True stories. Along with many others of a similar vein.
Me on the left in Disrupted Context choreographed by Wayne McGregor at NSCD.
It was about a year ago, September, 2014, I finally decided I wanted to move into interiors. After taking a couple of years off work to have a baby and readjust to the reality of being a mum (losing my mind with a poorly baby, hallucinations, serious PND, medication, relationship at breaking point. A whole other blog right there, ladies and gentlemen), I knew I didn’t want to go back to my previous career in the arts. It was a ridiculously hard decision to make and I grieved my previous career and life for a long while. I had danced since the age of four, and at 35, 31 years later, I was finally stopping. I seriously didn’t know who I was anymore. I was a self-employed stay at home mum and I had no idea what I was meant to be doing. Confidence = none. Drive = nada.
I’ve never had “a job”. The concept of “a job” scares the shit out of me. I’ve always been self-employed and been my own boss and worked myself hard. But having the freedom to make creative decisions is something I hold very dear. In fact it’s my air. I genuinely admire people such as my OH that can commit to a full time job, working for someone else. I tried to convince myself that I could do it too, get a sales job in an interiors shop or something, but if i’m honest with myself, I was just saying the words. And i’d be crap at sales anyway. My face is too honest.
Up until this point, interiors and design has always been a massive part of my life. I’ve always been a do-er and a creator, that mixed in with my homebird tendencies and general love of all things design, my mind pulled me further towards the possibility of making this real. Friends would always ask for my advice about colours, where to find XYZ, solve storage problems etc. I felt a career move calling me and it gave me serious butterflies. The good ones and the bad ones all at the same time. Either way, I couldn’t sleep.
It took me ages to actually tell anyone what I wanted to do. I felt like an idiot for even thinking I could do it. “I can’t do this, I don’t know anyone in the industry, how do you even get into it?” And that quote from The Apprentice kept popping into my head. I was comfortable with my position in my previous career. I was known and respected in my field. A medium to big sized fish as it were. And now I wasn’t even a fish!! That didn’t feel nice. Not at 35.
About a month later, after chatting with an old friend from dance college, she asked me what I was doing for work and I uttered the words for the first time; “I’m going into interior design”. Jesus, that felt weird. Surreal. And after another 20 minutes, i’d bagged my first client. My first job as an interior designer and she wanted her open plan living room re-designing. Holy shit!
I still couldn’t sleep.
My mind has always been my best asset and arch-rival. My perfectionist, high achieving, “has to be amazing” tendencies (which I blame on my background in dance) meant I completed the project in about 3 weeks. I only had 9 hours a week of childcare so was literally sprinting between work and picking little ‘un up. But when I was back on child watch, my brain continued to race with ideas. Race and whirr.
And Charlie was just about getting to the “no nap” stage. Fun. I was exhausted.
I still couldn’t sleep.
One year later.
The whole reason I felt the need to write this post, which is quite off kilter for me, is that my very first project, the one I did a year ago, in a haze of no confidence, sleep deprivation and with a very noisy head has just been photographed for a magazine. I can’t say much more than that right now or the magazine police will come and arrest me, but it was a very emotional day for me. Seeing how far Making Spaces has come since its first splash of paint on a wall. Whilst I tend to write with a sense of cynicism and sarcasm 99% of the time, I just wanted to take a breath, a moment, and say out loud to myself, “You’re doing ok, Karen Knox”.
The world of interiors can sometimes seem all too shiny and perfect. I just felt the need to let a bit of the real out.