It was all a dream...
...until it was reality.
(and maybe cue Notorious B.I.G. IYKYK.)
Welcome to our summer series, featuring the visual and editorial unveiling of Studio 790, home to one of my first dreams as an interior designer entrepreneur!
But first, I have a story to tell you...
I moved to Miami almost 8 years ago, very pregnant, ready to surrender the corporate ladder climb and jump headfirst into becoming an interior designer full time. You see, the dream of designing full time had been with me for many, many years. Perhaps even subconsciously as a tiny human. I think dreams are like that. They can start so tiny, like the first flame of a bonfire, and they grow until they become realized, exploding all the fire and heat into the world.
I prayed and prayed and prayed that it would be the right time to quit my corporate job and start my career life over. I also prayed and prayed and prayed to take my garage that was riddled with dirt and darkness into a studio space of my own. February 1, 2019, AUID was officially born. When one dream begins, the others garner an increased faith, more momentum and a clearer vision. Every single day I wrote "Studio 790" in my Rachel Hollis Start Today Journal. Don't think for one second any of this is a coincidence...
I worked from home – in my guest bedroom, on my dining room table, in my bed, on my patio, at my peninsula. And that was all before noon. I would go to Starbucks or perhaps the bar at the Citadel, surrounded by creativity and a playlist to be reckoned with. The dream was never to have a studio outside of my home – this was intentional. I wanted my first studio as an interior designer to be inside of my home. Because home – mine and those I get to play a role in designing – is where it all begins.
The dark garage was just that – dark. Literally and figuratively. It was the only space in my home that felt like the black sheep, unattended to, frustrated and deserving of my attention. While unclear of when this would happen or how I would fund it, I had such faith this space would become something sacred. It would feel a lot different. It would create beautiful emotions and a spirit of aliveness. I knew it. I could sense it. I didn’t give up.
The Achilles heel, in addition to the occasional mouse that would scurry across the dirty gray speckled epoxy floors, was the garage door. It was at least 100 years old and the overpowering noise it would make when it would go up and down was deafening. I hated that noise. I hated that noise for so many reasons. I knew, without a doubt, in due time that door would be gone, replaced with sliding doors that would allow in the most potent natural light you could get.
Alas, in 2021, I refinanced the house, signed my name a million times, making every square inch of this home mine and mine alone. And I knew one of the first orders of business was the creation of Studio 790. Taking the dark parts of the home, and turning them into purposeful, intentional, bright spaces where God could continue doing the work He was doing. He didn’t need my garage to be renovated. But, He gave me the dream years before and blessed me with the vision, the people and the finances to make the dream a reality.
I rallied the people I knew had to be part of the project – Meghan Grimbert (one of my design mentors and dear friends) to start. Tiago Magro up next. And the list stacked as weeks went on, eventually bringing the spaces from this:
I will share with you more about the team behind the creation of Studio 790, the design details and more but for now, I will leave you with this:
This space. This dark, small, gloomy, symbolically barren space was a dream God put on my heart. He knew all along He would help make something that was dull shine brighter than I could have ever imagined. We…well…we don’t see dreams that way. We don’t even dream that way at all. Our dreams are linear and earthly; His are unimaginable and bold and bigger than we could ever imagine. We think we need this. He knows we need that. He takes our dreams and multiplies them. He gives them purpose and joy and strength that we otherwise couldn’t do on our own.
Studio 790 isn’t just a physical space where I gather my team and create. It’s a massive gift from God, an outpouring of His grace and His love. I open the sliding doors that was once a rickety, loud garage door and step outside into the sunlight, as it covers both the exterior and the interior of the studio. My side door brings me to my garden and the area where my ever-so-cute golden retriever runs with joy. The chair in the corner is where I love dreaming and praying for our clients. The ceiling is an artistic masterpiece, filled with prayer and love and words that represent the DNA of this brand and my heart. I now have an enclosed, humble laundry room, featuring no trace of any mice. There is storage for my surplus of Christmas decorations. There is beauty and form and function, the perfect foundation to design and write and lead.
And there is a neon sign. Perhaps the most intentional piece in the whole space. It says “It was all a dream.”
And the irony is that yes, it was. And now, it’s a reality. But it was never my reality. It was God making it better than I ever could have. He took the darkness, a season of my life, a physical space that was riddled with pain and He made it bright and beautiful and new.
This is what I get to do for people every day. I get to make things new. I get to be a part of their before and after story. I get to, for a moment in their life, step into their season, understanding their pain and bring them some joy. Some purpose. And some pleasure.
And that in of itself is a dream. Being an interior designer, Studio 790, our clients, our projects, our work, our collaborations – I’m living a dream and I cannot wait to see what God will do next. For now, I’m going to relish in this gift that Studio 790 is to me and my team.
For you, dream. Please dream. Please dream and then do. Act. Pray. And believe for the things that you desire. The things that fill your belly with butterflies. The things that you can’t even see. The things that seem impossible. And watch what God will do.