When I was a small child we moved around alot. My mom was a school teacher raising 4 children on her own, while going to night school. She didn’t have much relaxation time, but when she could, she would take the latest house plan that was published weekly in the Sunday paper and tinker with it. I can remember her marking up those floor plans showing how she would change this or that feature, to make it work better for what she wanted. She would show me, and explain what she changed and why. Back then she would dream aloud of someday living in a house that cost $100,000 … an imagined mansion really. I would draw my own crude “house plans” and submit them to her for approval, which I always received. I was probably 8.
I was always encouraged by her, and my grandparents to pursue that interest. I grew up saying “I want to be an architect when I grow up” No one ever discouraged me from that thinking. Now 50 years later we have both gotten our wish… My mom lives in a house worth far more that $100,000 (although it is no mansion), and I design homes and remodels for a living, which tickles her, and which I find to be a very satisfying profession.
In highschool I was very fortunate to have a superior teacher for drafting. Mr. Frank Geraci was a no nonsense fellow, and was a stickler on punctuality. One day after 3 1/2 years of being on time to his class, I arrived 2 minutes past the bell. By this time I was his teacher’s assistant, helping other students. He dressed me down in front of the whole class for being late. I was never late again! To this day I strive to be very punctual, and usually succeed. After graduation I went on to college level coursework in architecture, but I never forget how much credit should go to Mr Geraci for many good habits I learned in his classroom.
1975 went to work for a local remodeling design build contractor, spending half time drafting and half time driving a materials delivery truck. I worked there for about 2 years, working my way into being the primary liaison between the company and the local Building Departments. One year I counted 106 Building Permits I was engaged in getting passed. In the subsequent 6 years I worked for two additional remodeling contractors, and then spent 3 years working for another home designer, doing remodels on homes in the midpeninsula.
In March of 1986, I felt it was time to be my own boss, and founded Cornerstone Limited, a residential design firm. Since that beginning I have designed hundreds of remodels and custom homes in the Bay Area.
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