I started working for landscape architects when I was 20, so at that age, I was interpreting their documents and actualizing them. But after doing enough work for other designers, I realized that I could see things that they didn't see, and I knew there were possibilities that they weren't thinking of. At that point, I knew I wanted to create more.
Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water" is what really inspired me to start the company. I saw the masonry, the woodworking, the steel and thought, "This isn't too far off from landscaping." It's architecture, but it's designed into the environment - built into a landscape. I realized there was opportunity to do some really amazing and creative things within landscaping.
I try to get a vibe on who the client is and what they're going after. If I think the style isn't right for us, I won't take it on unless I can learn something from it. Certain projects are for the portfolio and others are just jobs, but they're all learning experiences.
But the design process really starts with the client. Literally, it's like a relationship - like dating. You get up in their house, you hang out with them, and if I think the client's a dickwad, then I won't do it - I don't want trouble. On the other hand, if I don't think the client has great taste, but they're open to ideas, we can make it work.
I like to find beauty in basic or mundane things. I like 'simple stupid.' That's my favorite. I feel that whenever something gets so complex that it's hard to communicate, you're over-thinking it - it's not what it should be.
So in a small house like this, or on a project for work, I like to thin out. I feel like the absence of things allows other things to be beautiful. And I love interior design, but I don't like designers who over-curate. It's common and easy to do, but I feel like the best things in life are simple. If it's simple, it just works.
As a kid, I was really into furniture and would always like to decorate my room. That's the real reason I started cutting grass. We were pretty poor, but I'd go to some of my friends' houses and they all had the coolest shit. I'm like, "I want cool stuff!" It started with clothes - Polo actually. My parents couldn't afford any of that stuff, so my brother and I started cutting grass.
But I ended up really getting into furniture more and more. I'd buy my own furniture when I was 12 years old. Not many 12 year-olds are buying furniture, haha! I was really into vintage and flea markets - finding weird, cool things. That hasn't really changed much.