Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsay Baker.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always been an artist, and I learned at an early age that whatever I wanted in life, I would have to work hard to get it myself.
Growing up in the rural Midwest, hard work was a natural part of life — but the universe also threw a curveball at my family around the time I was in second grade, and before I knew it I went from watching my dad, a carpenter, build a home that my mother designed, to living on food stamps in a tiny camper with my entire family of five. From then on money was always a struggle. That struggle was extremely formative for me and was the force behind my drive most of my life.
I remember watching my mom sketch floor plans for that house on graph paper, then seeing my dad bring her ideas to life, and being fascinated by the process. That was probably my first real introduction to interior design (though my love for furnishings and style were always there). I noticed how great it felt to be in this house, built to perfectly suit our family’s needs. And even in the camper and trailer that followed, I felt the difference it made to personalize my room or bunk (mom gave us free rein to decorate) and appreciated how comfortable and special she made each place feel.
My mom was super creative and always managed to make a lot out of a little. That creativity rubbed off on me, as well as her love of thrifting. The summer before I started high school, we finally moved from a trailer into an old amazing house that my parents fixed up, with so much character. Treasure hunting for the perfect thrift store dresser for my bedroom was such a thrill to me, and I appreciated every antique detail of our home from the paneling to the Victorian hardware.
By the time I was a Junior in high school, I knew I wanted to move to the city and pursue a career in fine art or design. Ultimately I chose design because it seemed like a more financially stable path. I pushed myself hard to earn scholarships and eventually landed at the Art Institute of Orange County for interior design.
College was brutal but amazing. I was exhausted most of the time but kept pushing hard with my eyes on a successful career and independence. I went on to work at an architecture firm in Orange County (Westgroup Designs) and eventually a hospitality design firm in LA (Indidesign). Each firm taught me completely different aspects of design and I ate it all up, adopting the lifestyle of a true workaholic and advancing pretty quickly. My technical skills and methodology became quite strong, and eventually I wanted to focus more on aesthetics that felt more “me”, which is how I landed at House of Honey in Pasadena. There I owned my projects as a Senior Designer in commercial and residential design and got to explore more of my own style. Through this, I gained more confidence, and by all means had accomplished my goals of success and independence. Simultaneously I took on a small amount of side work, mostly drafting and 3D modeling, to earn some extra cash.
Over time, my workaholic tendencies and the inherent stresses of the job wore on me. I became completely burnt out. I essentially broke down and decided to resign from House of Honey to take a break from the stress and refocus my life — spend more time with family and in nature, make more art, and figure out what else I want in life besides my career. I went on a part-time hiatus, wherein I would take trips, visit home for long periods of time, and take on only small bits of freelance work. Through word of mouth, more jobs just started coming my way with perfect timing as if God knew exactly when I was about to run out of savings (haha – but seriously, thank you, Universe!). And that is essentially where I am now. I work for myself, doing drafting, 3D modeling/rendering, and full-service interior design whenever the project and client are a good fit for me.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh boy. No. Not smooth at all. I advanced in a pretty linear way, and in that sense, it was a smooth — but the struggles have been real!
Entering into hospitality design, I had quite the learning curve to overcome. The expectations were much higher than I had experienced prior, and I had to work really hard to deliver the quality of work and expertise that were expected. I also worked long hours to keep up with the constant deadlines. Ultimately the experience was super rewarding but it was really tough at times to stick it out.
Mental health has been the most difficult struggle overall. The pressure to satisfy so many people’s expectations, among other things, has always been very stressful, and it’s always been very difficult for me to “shut it off” outside of work. There are still so many problems left unsolved at the end of each day, it’s hard to stop the wheels in my head from turning. The burnout has been pretty rough, which is why I think it’s important to talk about it — most people don’t realize how bad it can get. I am still learning how to balance my life better and calm my mind down. It’s definitely helpful, now, that I can avoid people and projects that I know will stress me out too much.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Lindsay Baker Interior Design – what should we know?
I am a commercial and residential interior designer with a plethora of related skills that I put to use as a freelancer. I design entire spaces, furniture and lighting, and support other designers and architects as a draftsperson and 3D modeler. I am most proud of the quality of my service and my ability to work well with people. Most people who work with me once want to work with me again. I believe that in a naturally challenging process, positive chemistry, trust, and effective communication make for a more successful project and enjoyable process for everyone involved.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’ve had so many wonderful mentors and supporters along the way, it’s hard to list them all.
The interior design program director at my college, Roni Whitman, believed in me wholeheartedly and steered me towards my first job out of school.
My boss at Westgroup, Sima Hassani was so compassionate towards me and was a wonderful role model in work and life. She was especially helpful to have around as a female in a male-dominated office (and industry) — she guided me through my first experience with sexism in the field and prepared me for many more to follow. Robyn Taylor — one of the most kick-ass women I know and the best mentor I’ve ever had — taught me many design tricks and new ways of thinking about space conceptually while demonstrating that the process can be incredibly fun.
Beatrice Girelli, my boss at Indidesign, taught me so much about the technical aspects of design and pushed me to be a far better designer than I was when I started there. I was inspired and supported by all of the designers at Indi, really — incredibly talented, hard-working group of women, and many of us still cheer each other on today. Viviana Ziga, especially, was a tremendously patient and positive leader and teacher there, and I aspire to keep my cool the way she does in the most stressful of situations.
At House of Honey, though I learned something from everyone there, Heather Giovanelli was an especially wonderful person to work with. She knows her construction unlike any other designer I know, and I soaked up every bit of knowledge I could from her. She continues to offer me guidance when I have questions about design or business.
Jason Koharik, a local artist/designer I work with, is another great supporter who has not only given me business helped me find my confidence as an artist.
My parents, friends and boyfriend deserve much credit for the moral support they’ve lended me along the way. And my best friend’s parents, Wayne and Kelly, for bringing me to California to check out schools. I might never have come here if it weren’t for their generosity!
- Website: www.lbid.me
- Phone: 314-791-0417
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org