My mom has always wanted a large house, one of those McMansions that she has spent so many years cleaning. But the realtors who were always present at model homes didn't know what my mom did. To them we were just some lady and her odd daughter taking notes. Between these homes and the ones I saw in coffee table books, I was set on being an Architect for a very long time.
My mom was raised really poor, and I think she's always been fascinated by what people with money look like and buy. It was important to her when I was coming up that I looked a certain way, not just because she didn't like my torn up jeans and band-tees or ragged hoodie, but because in her day I would have looked poor. It didn't matter that I fit in with most kids my age, it wasn't "nice." This was with all things. My brother once told me it bothered him that people assumed our family had more than we did because of the way my sisters and I were dressed. I felt similarly, our duplex seemed inadequate compared to all my friends' homes.
I kept my notes and would go home and draw a blueprint. The concept of designing an entire house didn't really hit until I was older, so I had all these drawings of my ideal room. When I was around ten my dad bought me Sierra Home Architect, a computer program that allowed you to design buildings. I didn't have video games, but I had that and I would spend hours designing my dream house (it would have an octagon foyer based my earliest designs).
My parents encouraged this as much as they could, which included taking me to several of Frank Lloyd Wright's homes. I wrote my fifth grade SOL essay about Taliesin West -- I got a perfect 600. Three years later I was accepted into an engineering program at my high school and did that for two years before I realized how much I hated drafting in CAD and Visio. But I would still sketch things in my notebooks next to terrible poetry.
I spent last year living by myself in a studio and didn't realize it for some time, but that was the first childhood ambition that came true. All those sketches of my ideal room were finally brought to life. A single room, arranged precisely how I had envisioned it. Split up into a bedroom area, a dining area, a living room area -- there was a system and it felt like more than just a large blank room. I think Frank Lloyd Wright would have approved.
It seems so silly, but I spent the first two decades of my life just wanting a giant room to call my own. Then I had it, and wanted it somewhere else.