For starters – www.dove.ly was purchased for me by Bryan Vaccaro, my amazing boyfriend of a very long time. The domain itself cost $75 and took a while to get.
We got dove.ly for many reasons, but starting with the fact that more than 5 years ago, Bryan started calling me Dovely (and also “Dove,” “Dovebee” and other variations). When I moved to Brooklyn after graduating college, I started putting things in profiles and making user names referring to DovesinBK. It was cute, and it stuck.
As a digital artist employed by a social media company (amongst other things), I discovered Twitter early on and DovesinBK came with me in February of 2007. At this point, many of my coworkers and friends were well aware of the handle and used it as well. A competitor to Twitter came out sometime that spring which all of my coworker friends and I decided to try out. I think this one was Jaiku. Looking to change it up a bit – I used Dovely instead of DovesinBK. As most of you are probably hearing about Jaiku for the first time now, you can assume how well this trial faired. And while our usage of this microblogging service didn’t last long, the handle Dovely did.
While living in my first real apartment in Brooklyn, I became actively involved in the DIY and indie interior design scene that was emerging online at the time. I devoured all the blogs I could find and actively documented my own experiments and projects on flickr. I never seemed to have the time to create my own blog. I should have (and am now). But all of this exposed a deep seated desire to make interior design a more prevalent feature in my life.
This unrest inside me grew until one day I discovered a post on the job board of craigslist for a design assistant for a new HGTV show featuring one of the former cast members of Trading Spaces. My heart was set aflutter as I quickly penned a cover letter, all the while thinking could it really be Genevieve?
A week or so later I was called in for an interview. It was Genevieve, in fact Dear Genevieve. I was offered a position and two weeks or so later, I started. It was really awesome for a while, until it wasn’t. When I first started, I worked closely with the designers who designed everything (not Genevieve) and the construction crew to make sure the designs got implemented correctly. Some egos got bruised along the way and our production schedule rearranged so I was working two shoots simultaneously, crazy long hours, less and less of what I wanted to be doing.
The pay was terrible and on a particularly bad day, they told me they were going to dock some pay to help their budgets. This was not okay so I quit. Walked off set. kapooy.
When I woke up the next morning, I realized, I had no job.
Was I crazy?
Later that day, I got a call from a local community college. They needed someone to teach Flash (both Actionscript and Animation). It was a far cry from interior design, but I could definitely do it. Truth be told – it was nice to do something that felt smart. I realized so much of the actual interior design industry disgusted me. The amount of money spent on things like vases and curtains. The clients – spoiled people who didn’t even know how to hang a picture frame, never mind think of something meaningful to hang.
I was feeling like there needed to be a way to combine what I did love about interior design with my uber tech-y skills. And so, Dovely Design was born.
The idea was that I would get detailed measurements from clients, talk with them about how they needed the space to function (FIRST!) and then what kinds of styles and things they loved and how they wanted the space to make them feel. Then they would set a budget.
I would then source a bunch of affordable options to decorate and design their space – but on top of that, I would model the space in 3d with all the new and existing pieces to first make sure that the arrangement would fit in the space as designed and function correctly, and secondly, give the client a detailed visualization of what the finished look would be (before they bought anything, painted, rearranged furniture, etc.)
It was a great idea. Unfortunately, getting detailed measurements was hard to do. And I couldn’t produce the work fast enough to be affordable for the market I was attempting to target. And I didn’t know how to market it.
After some soul searching, I decided it was probably best to keep interior design as a hobby and focus on technology and media as a career. I loved teaching and so I applied to graduate school to get my MFA so I could be a full fledged professor some day. Boyfriend, puppy and I headed South the Savannah to attend SCAD for Interactive Design and Game Development.
We got a great big Victorian house in a slightly edgier neighborhood. The space was amazing (all 3 bedrooms and 23 windows of it). It quickly became apparent that our graduate student budget would never be enough to furnish the house appropriately. So we did the bare minimum. I started stalking craigslist for affordable pieces we could add as needed like a stainless steel garbage can for $25 and 6 mid-century faux bamboo dining chairs for $125 total.
Some things fell into place, and I got a full time position at the college as the Senior Interactive Designer in the Communications Department. With a little extra cash available, I was able to upgrade something like window treatments (Ikea to the rescue! $25 pair of linen curtains at 117″ long? yes please) and some vintage dressers for the dining room and living room.
We bought somethings that didn’t quite work out in our space so after fixing them up with a fresh coat of paint and some Dovely touches, put them right back on craigslist (with a small mark up to cover our labor of course). It became a really fun pass time for two overworked graduate students/professionals in Savannah.
After a year and a half, our house felt like home. So I guess that meant it was time to pack it up and hit the road again. We both got jobs back home in NJ at Dow Jones as Interaction Designers for their product development team. It was a really good offer so we couldn’t pass it up.
We knew it was time to stop renting but we weren’t exactly sold on where we should look to buy. My little brother was actually just thinking of purchasing a house in the town we all went to college in with the ambition of fixing it up to rent it out. We agreed that it would make a good amount of sense to move in with him and help him fix it up while we figured out our next step.
So thats where we are today. Dovely Designs greatest challenge yet is to help redesign this 1950s Cape Cod into a super sweet, and super profitable rental and make it nice and livable for us in the mean time.
This blog will serve as a place to document these adventures and hopefully encourage me to start documenting other fun side projects. You know explore my hobby a little bit.