During what has become a long career as a designer, I've worked in all kinds of environments under a variety of conditions. In the back of surburban shopping strip kitchen showrooms on portable drawing boards with sliding straightedges and adjustable triangles. A cramped hallway at a formica top in a cabinet manufacturing plant. Office cubicles of architecture firms. Sitting on sawdust covered floors at construction sites. The kitchen table in an ancient stone farmhouse, heated by a coal stove or cooled by opening doors and windows. In the corner of a spare bedroom.
Since 2003, though, it has been my privilege and pleasure to do most of my work right here in a spacious studio of my own design. Back in 2002, I bought a brick and sandstone church in a quiet little borough next to a wide bend in the Susquehanna River, built in 1850 and extensively remodeled to neo-Gothic style in 1906. It was de-commissioned as a church about 25 years ago and eventually became home to a pair of artists who had big visions for the building. Fortunately for me, they didn't get far with their efforts, and I was able to buy it at a price I could afford. After remodeling the first floor to accomodate my family, I turned a slice at the front of the second story sanctuary into a studio. It now includes a small fully equipped kitchen, a Japanese bath, an atrium loft, and a walkout onto a little balcony high above the street.
The remnants of a huge pipe organ donated in 1908 by Andrew Carnegie is visible at the other end of the sanctuary, through the windows behind my computer monitor. I have a huge old refectory table that allows me to spread out my work and stacks of research material. The Good Shepherd glows down on me from the center of a triptych of 19 foot tall stained glass panels. As I begin a fresh design series for a new manufacturing client, smoking a pipe and sipping Russian Caravan tea, I know that I am truly blessed.