Design Dude – Intro Blog

I know what you guys are thinking. Oh, a design writer. I bet he loves to sit around all day looking at wall paper and fabrics. I bet he loves to hang around the design stores comparing the taupes and mauves. Ummmm, no. Turns out I’m a regular guy who likes football, boats, cars, women, and my stainless steel grill – not the kind that goes in your mouth. I also like clean simple lines, natural materials, fine craftsmanship and a respect for history.

I wasn’t always a design writer. I started off writing boat stories. And not wimpy little sailboats dude, we’re talking power boats. I produced TV travel shows for three years and then fell into a gig with HGTV. I spent the next three years following a crazy architect restoring a blacksmith shop in Columbia Maryland. The show was called “Dream House,” but a lot of it was a nightmare. The show was a minor hit and we produced five more series. In the meantime I produced over 80 episode of Kitchen Design, another HGTV product. Then two seasons of “Ultimate Home” for Country Music Television. That’s right, CMT had a home show. Hilarious, right? Yeah. Tell me about it.

I was immersed in architecture and design and I liked it. I became somewhat fluent in “archispeak” a popular dialect in Design World. I bought some loafers and a suede jacket and was able to pass unnoticed among interior designers. I started writing stories about them. A sideline started turning into a career and I realized I’d stumbled into a niche. I was a design writer. Wow.

But wait there’s more, because not only have I observed the design process I’ve been a participant. Mmm-hmm, that’s right. The wife and I bought a four square in DC. We painted, landscaped and did some minor makeovers in the kitchen and bath. We sold it, made some money and moved. Call us accidental flippers. We sunk the money into a mid-century modern house in the burbs that hadn’t been touched in fifty years. Original floors, boiler, windows, kitchen, everything left like it was still 1950.

We started down the remodeling highway. First as do-it-yourselfers, then by hiring the guys-in-pickup-trucks. We should of known better but we were young and poor. Not really, but just like everybody else we’re always looking for value and still are. We built a deck, put in a hot-tub, re-did the patios, painted, tore down wall paper, removed paneling and cut slots in the walls. We then invested a big wad on re-doing the kitchen, brought in an architect, the whole shooting match.

We had no kitchen for three months. We washed dishes in the bathroom sink and I spent a lot of quality time with my grill. Been there, buddy? Yeah. You’re feeling me. Anyway, we got the kitchen done and three months later the house caught on fire. No fooling. A transformer we were using for low-voltage landscaping lights shorted out and caught the exterior wall on fire. Nobody got hurt and there wasn’t much damage from the flames but smoke, water and the firemen made the house uninhabitable. We were out for 18 months.

The insurance came through and we ended up replacing floors, HVAC, windows, doors, and most of the roof. The entire kitchen was taken apart, moved, stored and then put back together. Every design decision was rehashed over and over again, so when it comes to working on the house, I know of what I speak and I have the gray hair to prove it. So if you’re remodeling, rebuilding, or about to construct your dream house, stop by for a visit and I’ll try to give you the straight scoop on all the stuff that’s out there, from, you know, a regular guy’s point of view. Did you see that game last night? Jeeez….

Scott Sowers

Checking Out The Architecture From Courtside


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