I started this blog in 2010 as a way to chronicle my adventures in culinary school. Well culinary school quickly fell by the wayside but blogging continued. The focus changed from school to work and I quickly found myself documenting the process it took to decorate our new home in Oakland with some blood, sweat and DIY trickery. That experience opened up doors, opportunities and created lasting friendships that I am forever grateful to have had and know.
But something else happened. As I toiled away trying to decorate my home, others started asking me for my assistance in decorating their abodes. Flattered by the attention, I said yes to helping friends and family (and the occasional stranger) turn their houses into homes, fluff their surroundings and help make their lives a more beautiful experience. And I felt fulfilled. I felt alive. I felt I was good at something and let me tell you, after spending a decade second guessing my career aspirations and licking my wounds from the failed bout at culinary school, finding something that I found peace AND excitement in doing was a tremendous feat.
So I tool classes, knocked on doors and even flew to Canada (hi Meredith!) to get what I could to learn the business of design better. And I came back and toiled. And floundered. And flailed. But I survived. I wasn’t rich and barely turning a profit, but I was enjoying the process and so it went. I hung my shingle and Courtney Lake Interiors was born. Along with the blog I carved out a small niche in this world of design and tried my best to make my mark. But something wasn’t right and this time I knew what it was.
I had spent this time, money and effort trying to build a brand on the back of something that wasn’t meant to house this aspiration. Some people can do several things really well. I cannot and it was becoming more evident that I had to make a decision. However, I had to answer a question and this question would confirm how I would proceed not only with 2014 but with my career…….”was I a blogger or a designer?”
It was simple. Through sheer will and dumb luck, I had emerged as a lifestyle blogger and was pretty damn good at it. But I was building a business as an interior designer/decorator. And my business was on the back of this beast called blogging. It was a messy and incest riddled relationship that was causing confusion for clients, for the press and for me. What as Courtney Lake Interiors? What was Courtney Out Loud? And in the end, I realized I needed some separation. I needed to evaluate what kind of designer I wanted to be outside of the format of the blog.
I had spent years developing a voice for Courtney Out Loud. I knew that person. They were me. Courtney Lake Interiors, I didn’t know. It was what I thought I should be as a designer, not what I aspired to be in my heart of hearts. So I opted in December of 2013 to change that. I stopped blogging and focused on how to make the decorating business work. I made a decision……
I wanted to be a decorator that blogged, not a blogger who moonlights as a decorator. So that meant some changes. The first was that I got help. I worked with a great team of experts at Skout It to hone what I wanted the business to become. I dreamed big and what I ended up with is a business that encompasses all the facets of what makes me excited to do design. I would like to introduce Monogram Decor…….
Monogram Decor is my attempt at making an indelible imprint on the design landscape. It encompasses my design firm (Courtney Lake Interiors), my staging and photo styling business (CLIC) and lifestyle writing/speaking engagements. It’s a young and fresh approach to decorating that doesn’t worry about perfection. It’s about allowing the best of the client to shine in whatever project we are working on.
Am I scared? Absolutely. Aside from officially debuting my design portfolio it is the first time I have been honest in what I want from myself professionally. I had spent years being afraid of being 100% me in all aspects of my life and work. Yet, the series of events in the last few months have just affirmed that when I am fully “me” the universe rewards that honesty. Business has increased. Press is seeking me out. And I am confident.
And what about the blog? It will exist but just like the business, it has matured, evolved and will be taking a different direction. From the start, the blog was meant to chronicle the life’s adventures and it will continue to do that as part of Monogram Decor. However, that means the blog as it currently stands will cease to exist which does give me a pang of sadness. This has been my baby for several years and I can’t imagine where I would be professionally without it. But I encourage you all to come experience the Monogram Decor Blog and see what it has to offer. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
So lets recap: New year. New business. New web site. New blog. New experiences. So let’s get started…….