Who is this woman that will be alchemizing your hard-earned money into the home of your dreams?
Does she listen to your wants, needs, and desires?
How can you trust that she’s the right person for the job?
These are questions all my clients are asking themselves. And rightly so! I encourage everyone to do their research and get to know the person who will be so involved with the transformation of their lives and their home.
In this first post of Pippin’s Inspired Life Series, I’ll be sharing my story of where it all began and the beckoning of my heart that led to a life of design, designed by my soul.
A Humble Beginning
My story begins much in the same way as MANY southerners back in the 60’s. I grew up as an ordinary farm girl, working in the fields of my family’s tobacco farm. This must have been before the days of child labor laws because my cousins and I all shared in the chores and worked in the fields from a young age.
Fortunately, this tedious and grueling work was also experienced as fun times with my family and close friends. I’m now grateful for the strong dose of work ethic I tasted in my childhood and the knowing that hard work can still be enjoyable. These concepts have never left me.
The fascinating thing about farm work in this day in age was that most small to mid-sized farms were entrepreneurial ventures. The hard-working farmers who owned them may have been their own most demanding bosses, yet they enjoyed a beautiful sense of freedom working for themselves. This sense of freedom became the lens through which I saw life and so I always knew I would one day be an entrepreneur myself.
I was bound and determined to make my own path in life. I knew I didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of my elders and farm my life away, though it was still unclear as to what exactly I would do as an entrepreneur. So, I carried on through my schooling like all other children.
My favorite classes were art and music. I LOVED art! I fed off of it, needed it, felt expressed by it, and dove headfirst into any form of art I could get my hands on.
Heart & Soul Guidance
It may seem silly that I’m beginning my story with these seemingly insignificant stories of childhood.
Most professionals only display their highest credentials (I’ve got those too, so click HERE if you’re needing more recent and concrete proof of success ;)
However, the formative years, before the world told me who I was supposed to be, when I still could listen to my heart... those are the years when inspiration came exclusively from within. Can you imagine this time in your life? When societal pressures have not yet taken a stronghold. When your internal guidance always led you in the right direction. There is such beauty and richness of that time in one’s life.
My inner compass was strong, guiding me towards my north star of self-actualization and abundance. All I needed to do was trust my talents and go the direction my soul guided me to go.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely had challenges on the way and my dreams were threatened more than once, however looking back now I can see how my life was written in the stars.
A Visionary’s Path Through Art and Forest
While I exhausted the options for art offered by my high school, I was fortunate enough to be able to take college level courses before I graduated. My senior year of high school I took art history and mechanical drafting for college credit at Wayne Community College.
I was super excited with my first 3-hour mechanical drafting lab class. I got the assignment and dove in. One hour later I reemerged, handed in my A+ quality work and then sat there bored as can be with nothing else to do for 2 hours. My newfound talent of being able to visualize something before it exists taught me that mechanical drafting was too easy for me, and so for the rest of the semester I committed myself to helping others see their vision after I completed my assignments. This element of co-creation and teamwork imprinted as my preferred way to show up in collaboration with others.
As random as this may have seemed at the time, I then took a year of forestry classes for the same reason I took the art classes. Because I loved it. It didn’t need to make sense to me then, but it sure makes sense to me now.
My heart and soul have always felt very connected to mother nature. I’m fortunate to have had a childhood that included lots of play time in the forest. My brother, cousins, friends, and I loved it so much that we built a secret tree house platform to use as a hiding spot from my mom when she would try summoning us back inside.
Little did I know that the trajectory of my life would send me towards custom home design which wove together my love of art, my visual talents, and my affinity for nature. My forestry education combined with a VERY intense and serendipitous experience that will be shared in an upcoming blog taught me exactly how to become distinguished as the designer able to create a home to fit any property.
Sizzler Steakhouse Angels
Do you ever feel like you have angels looking out for you, guiding you along your path? Or perhaps you recognize the significant impact a seemingly insignificant person in your life has made.
While waiting tables at a Sizzler Steakhouse a group of guys, who I now refer to as my angels, regularly came in to sit in my section. They were all graduates of the NC State School of Architecture. I was attending part time classes at NCSU myself and was contemplating my educational direction, so I loved picking their brains about their experience.
They offered me sage advice and shared with me their disappointing challenges with finding employment upon graduating with their 4- or 5-year Architectural degrees. They grumbled about all the students who had graduated from Wake Technical College getting all the available jobs over them. Wake Technical College offered a co-op program, with on-the-job training required to graduate. This experience translated directly into being hired right out of school.
My Sizzler Steakhouse Angels instructed me to study architecture AND seek the education that would get me a job right out of school. And, so that’s exactly what I did.
I enrolled in the Architectural Technology degree program at Wake Technical College and was one of only a small handful of women in the classes of mostly men. The department head threatened that she was going to be tough. She guaranteed that a number of us would drop out of the program before the semester was over. I promised myself I would NOT be weeded out and I would do whatever it took to succeed.
My experience was quite the opposite of the challenge I had been preparing myself for. I fell in love with the program! The classes were fascinating, stimulating, yet surprisingly easy, as if I already knew how to do all that was being asked of me. Except for physics. Physics was not my forte.
I co-op trained at Custom Home Designs of Raleigh, and they loved me so much they actually tried to convince me to drop out of school so they could hire me full-time. This directly opposed my previous agreement with myself, so I chose to finish school and complete my degree.
While finishing school and working my co-op job, I also worked part-time for a landscape architect doing drafting work. I was so captivated by this craft that I did nothing but eat, sleep, and breathe architecture.
I eventually graduated top of my class with an Architectural Technology degree and have had consistent, though interesting, employment opportunities ever since. Well, till the 2008 crash in the housing market, that is. More on this alarming and painful time in life in a future blog post.
I'm grateful for my Sizzler Steakhouse Angels who guided me towards the path that I’m still on today!
The Nature of Home
I was still in my early 20’s and I already possessed a strong connection to the concept of HOME, though the true nature and full potential of what a home could be was still taking shape.
I’d had multiple homes in my life at this point and I reflected on what each of them meant to me.
Was home just a place to rest my head?
Was home my family’s tobacco farm, where I had grown up?
Or, was home the old 1890’s farmhouse I shared with my then husband?
It felt like there was something more.
I knew that designing homes resonated with me far more than designing the commercial spaces I had drafted at my first job, and yet there was something within me that still had not been realized. I could sense that I had more to offer, and it was directly related to the nature of home.
Join me in the next blog as I dive deeper into the unfolding of my life’s inspirations, guidance, and nudges along my path as a home designer.
I intend your childhood memories bring you the inspiration you were born with before the veil of adulthood responsibilities descended.
Inspired by you,
Jenny Pippin, CPBD, FAIBD, CGP
Pippin Home Designs
I am Jenny Pippin, founder of Pippin Home Designs and creator of my own inspired living. I grew up as an ordinary southern girl, working in the fields of my family’s tobacco farm. It didn’t take me long to realize I had greater gifts and so I chose to step into my power and create my own path in life, inspired by my heart’s true passion. (More on my personal story in future posts.Stay tuned!)