When One Door Closes…

suesMany of you have been hearing me say for quite awhile now that I am retiring. In fact I retired a few years back from kitchen and bath design, only to re-emerge a year or two later with a new business emphasis in 3D illustration of interiors. While I enjoyed the notion and activity of creating beautiful renderings, it never developed into anything more than a hobby. I came to the conclusion that I was tired of clients (and potential clients) who wanted me to work on their projects on contingency (I don’t get paid unless they sell the job to their clients), or for less than minimum wage. One guy even wanted me to do a project (or two) for free just to prove to him I could do it even though I sent him ‘sample projects’ that he raved about. I politely declined. Others couldn’t be bothered with signing an agreement ~ Yet these same people wouldn’t lift a finger for their own clients without one. While I know that times have been tough on everybody in the design and construction business, I think it is only fair to ask for reasonable compensation for my work. Work that I did because they couldn’t.  Adios Bitchachos!

There have been tell-tell signs that I’ve been moving in this direction. I haven’t updated my website for some time and my software is now two versions behind. I didn’t renew my business license or inform the powers that be of my new address when I moved. My computer is becoming something of a dinosaur and I’m not going to replace it until it absolutely will not surf the net anymore. (I had to restart it once while in the process of writing this post because it gets stuck.)

So I did all of the things today that one does to “close shop”. I closed my business bank account, ditched the business phone and virtual fax machine. In the near future, my website, pamdesigns.net wil be coming down. I sent letters to recent clients informing them and thanking them for their business. Feels rather strange as there are no lights to turn off nor a door to lock for the last time. Sadly, it just is. Because my business has been online for the past several years, it is going away with a silent breath that probably only I will hear.


I like being retired. Not a financially savvy move, but one that I am content with. I am not destitute nor am I wealthy (or ever will be) in either case. I am enjoying doing the things I would never be able to do if I were tied to a job and hope to be able to get back into creating art as I did many years ago. One thing you can count on, I and this blog are not going away. I may not be making a living at it, but I am and will always identify myself as a designer and an artist. Just passing a milestone in my life like many others that are life changing (like graduating from school, taking a first job, getting married or kicking the last birdy out of the nest).

Really Bad Days 2

6 responses to “When One Door Closes…

  1. Pam, I hear ya in terms of the annoying “spec work for free” type of client. So rude!

    But meanwhile, you are officially retiring! I’m sad because I enjoyed your portfolio of work but excited for you because it’s a fresh start to something else where your time is entirely yours to plan and do fun things for yourself. A little jealous too.

    Have fun,

    • The house project is going great. Settled in. Next step remodel the laundry room. You can probably guess I am itching to remodel the kitchen😛. That will have to wait a bit. For now I am looking into restoring the marble kitchen countertops. Previous owner sealed it with who knows what! It’s like a wax coating and it’s peeling up. My pet peeve project at the moment.

  2. Oh my. Hope the wax isn’t oil based. Have you talked to some stone people about it?Anyway, marble sounds lovely. I’m quite jealous! Our master bathroom has an antique dressing table with a marble top and I’m putting marble subway tile in the shower to coordinate with it. This is going to be an adventure! Good luck with your counter.

  3. Hello; I just found your blog. Congrats and best wishes on your new life plan. You do such nice work so it’s sad for the industry to see you go, but you’ll be doing your own artwork now just for you so that’s awesome and so rewarding itself–in addition to the ‘just making the time to enjoy life’ aspect of course.
    I myself am mid-career and just making the transition from 2D renders (cars and products, some yachts, soon to be yacht interiors) to 3D so I was curious if there’s a particular 3D software you’d recommend. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hi Chris! Thank you for your kind words! I’ve long used software that is specifically intended for architectural drafting and rendering, so I’m not sure if it would be of much use to you except for maybe the yacht interiors. The software I use is Chief Architect. My version is a couple behind as I decided not to update it when I retired. I still use it for personal projects because it suits basic drafting needs and I think I’ve maxed out its rendering ability. I hear the newer versions work a lot faster, but I don’t know what new features there might be. Chief Architect has a wonderful user’s forum called Chief Talk that anybody can participate in. It would be a great resource (besides Chief’s website) to see what’s new and what the actual users think of it. There are many of them who beta test the new versions. Another great (and much less expensive) software is Trimble’s Sketchup. You can use the free version to learn how to use it. I use it to get models that I use in my renderings in Chief sometimes from Sketchup’s 3D Warehouse. Users and manufacturers post 3D models for community use there and they can be imported into Chief. You can also get the pro version of Sketchup that is way less expensive that other 3D design and rendering softwares out there. I know several people who draft their designs in Chief and then render them in other software like Thea Render. I think I am among the few that do detailed ray trace rendering (shows reflections in glass and mirrors and treat light waves) that is built into Chief. It took me about 10 years of self teaching to use the software after getting a design degree. (In those days we did everything by hand.) Now you can find classes to use Chief at some community colleges and there are those that offer online courses and tutorials. Chief also offers a nice selection of videos that you can subscribe to after purchasing the software.