Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I love short walks to pizza places, petting every cat I meet along the way, and consistently buying more plants after telling myself that I have enough. To go a bit deeper, though: I’ve been in Portland for about four years now, and before that lived in Eugene for six years (attending the University of Oregon). Born in Texas, raised in Illinois, I still like to think I’ve become a full-fledged Oregonian at this point. I grew up obsessed with houses and interior design, but didn’t make it my career until a couple years ago. During my college years, and after coming out, I got interested in human and civil rights and ended up majoring in political science with a focus on race, gender, and sexuality. I had aspirations of helping people, but never was able to find a good job post-college to fulfill this dream. Late one night, I was laying in bed wondering what I was now going to do with my life, when I had the sudden realization that my true passion still involved housing and design. I made up my mind that night, and by the end of the week was enrolled in classes to get my real estate license. This led me to start taking on freelance design gigs, do home staging, and eventually landing me where I’m at today - as a fun and caring Realtor at Urban Nest Realty and Head of Interiors for Thesis Studio.
What is your earliest memory of being creative?
I was eight years old when my parents bought a new house, and it was very soon after moving in that I started to play a big role in choosing wall colors, floor selections, furniture placement, and helping tear down wallpaper. This trend continued into my teen years when I redecorated my room from top to bottom (more than once), and again after a house fire caused us to rebuild and remodel portions of the house. I also have fond childhood memories of building and decorating houses on The Sims games for hours upon hours. I would get every expansion pack just so that I could have more decorating options. I hardly even played the actual game; just built entire towns of houses!
What are you currently inspired by?
Right now I’m really inspired by my surroundings in Oregon. This makes me gravitate towards an earthy color palette (so many shades of green and grey, plus blues from the ocean, and tons of wood) and a quirky mix of modern/urban and vintage aesthetics. I love how things are so laid back here, which can translate into design. My goal on every project is to create a space full of stories, life, and of personal connection through the decor.
Favorite place in Portland?
This is tough! I love this city so much. If pressed I would probably say Mt. Tabor. I have such good memories from that park, and the juxtaposition of nature with views of the city skyline is perfection to me.
What has been instrumental in your personal and creative growth? How so?
I was thinking about this recently, actually, in relation to it being Pride Month. I think a huge part of my growth has come from finding pride in myself, and in my sexuality. My passion for design started pretty early in life, and when I was 18 I actually started school for interior design. I was so excited! However, I was still very much in the closet at 18, and once I got out in the real world I quickly saw how negative it seemed to be gay. It really stifled me, and scared me. I felt like there was a target on my back being an interior design student and a male. Everyone had to think I was gay! Ultimately, this led me to drop out of school after just three months. I moved to Oregon at this point and started at the UO, where I eventually came out at age 22. It was another few years until I fully accepted and started to love myself as a gay man, and once I did, I started to also realize how much I had missed being creative. And now that I was no longer afraid of being gay, I was able to pursue my career dreams without anything in my way, and I couldn’t be happier about where I’ve landed today. Also, I have to thank my parents for always being so cool and supportive, and for allowing me to take over the house at such a young age!
Current favorite piece in your home?
This is a tough one, too! I would probably have to say my sofa, which is from Article. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably agree - my sofa gets more likes than me!
What are your next steps?
I plan on continuing my journey and seeing where it takes me, with all doors open. It’s been awesome helping friends purchase a home, and my work with Thesis Studio has been feeding my creativity. I really can’t wait to share some of the current projects we’re working on. My career is still at such an early stage, so I’m beyond excited to see what I make of it.