find out about Leigh…

“I like to perceive space as fluid, uninhibited, unconstrained, always in motion, not a static, finite commodity.

To me, it’s not something you stockpile for future use; you want to feel like you have on-demand access.

It’s like plugging in a toaster or gassing up your car. You want to know that the electricity or gas is there when you need it. You don’t want to build a power plant or gas station in your back yard just in case you might want to make toast tomorrow, or go on a road trip over the summer.”

 

Is this the way you’d like to manage your office space? Perhaps we should talk.

 

Want to know more?

I guess you could say I was ‘into’ space from early childhood. When I was about six, the neighbour kid across the street had a wicked set of blocks that I realllllly liked and I was constantly trying to convince him to let me play with them.

Dream House
The Dream House

They weren’t anything fancy but I wanted them. Bad. I liked to lay out the shape of a house and then divide it up with rooms. I suppose I was probably designing my ‘dream house’.

When I was a teenager in high school I learned what was then called Technical Drawing. There were only two of us girls in the class. When we graduated, the other girl decided to make a career out of it. I thought that was the most boring thing I’d ever heard (teenagers know everything don’t they?).

As a young adult my big dream was to travel. This is pretty typical for people who are confined to a small island country miles away from anywhere. The problem as I saw it then was ‘where to get the cash?’, so I cooked up a scheme that would allow me to study and work at the same time.

I entered an internship with the government where I studied construction, building technology and yes, more technical drawing. Four years later I was done, and as a bonus, I had also learned to read upside down (compulsory for all government employees).

BCE Place, Galleria
BCE Place, Toronto

I spent the next few years working mainly on construction drawings for large architectural projects in London and Toronto. Along the way I did things like measuring a hospital incinerator complex and surveying an abandoned Chinese restaurant (neither of these is for the faint hearted, so you want to remember to tuck your pant legs into your boots). I climbed up scaffolding to take impressions of historic plaster ceiling mouldings and engaged master tradesmen to replicate finishes and techniques that are hundreds of years old. Who knew that technical drawing could be fun and, at times, even death defying?

In the late 1980’s I learned how to translate drawing by hand, into drawing on a computer. I learned this the ‘sink or swim’ way. Overnight a computer showed up on my desk and my drafting table vanished. A whole new world opened up and I realized math skills could be useful, perhaps even necessary.

In Toronto I lived downtown at Church and Wellesley, just a few blocks from what was then called Ryerson Polytechnic. It seemed like an opportunity that shouldn’t go to waste, so I signed up for Interior Design classes. I kept that fairly quiet around the office since our in-house department was (un)lovingly known as InFerior Design, but to be honest, none of us really knew what went on behind their closed doors.

Parkhill Condo
Parkhill Condo

Once in Calgary, I focused almost exclusively on interiors projects. Multi-family condos, restaurants, retail stores, fast food operations, single family custom homes and my personal favourite, corporate offices.

Now, after decades of working in this industry, what I’ve realized is that what I do now is what I started off doing when I was six years old. I plan space. I do it because I love it and have always loved it. It’s what I choose to focus on and what I like to think I’m good at.

There’s something about planning space that excites me. It challenges me. I like to imagine the space, complete, finished, in use. I see the materials, the finishes, the colours. I visualize all the elements of the design as it evolves, from beginning to end, all the tiny details, until finally, it’s the best fit for its intended purpose.

 

So now you know about me. If you share my excitement about space and how to make it work for you, perhaps we should talk?

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