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A Double Life By Design

Finding What Makes Your Heart Sing

Article by Karen Creason

Photography by Allison Elefante

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Finding a career where she could be creative and use the artist side of her brain while also creating something tangible and functional for others made interior designer and owner of An Inside Job Interior Design, Patti Lynn Sharp’s heart sing. Beyond her 30+ years of making clients' dreams come to life, Patti Lynn has another passion which also makes her heart sing.

When not working in her Brentwood interior design studio or meeting with clients, Patti Lynn can be found collecting eggs from her chicken coops, tending to her sheep and numerous crops or playing with her Suri Alpacas. Yes, Patti Lynn is a farming, egg-gathering, produce-picking, animal-whispering, alpaca raiser. Franklin Lifestyle (FL) sat with Patti Lynn (PLS) to flesh out the double life she created by design.

FL: WHICH DO YOU ENJOY MORE - WORKING WITH ALPACAS OR CLIENTS?  

PLS: I love them both! The alpacas are such gentle and kind animals. I am creating a line of products made from alpaca fiber: pillows, blankets, sofa throws and more. I envision a cottage industry of weavers, spinners, and knitters; where everything is handmade, homemade and locally made. Thinking of how I may help those with limited income make goods from my designs makes the hard work of raising alpacas worth it. I also enjoy spending time understanding what my interior design clients like and don't like and why, and what works and what doesn’t work for them. My goal is to create pragmatic luxury through designs which are truly a reflection of my client and how they want to live as well as a design that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

FL: HOW ARE INTERIOR DESIGN AND YOUR FARM “LABORS OF LOVE”?

PLS: I help clients avoid costly mistakes and free up my clients time to do other things. I spend hours making selections and doing all the backend work to present cohesive designs to the client for review. Leveraging my Masters degree in Health Care Interior Design, I create residential and commercial designs so my clients can truly thrive where they live and work. It is a labor of love yet different from my work at my farm. At the end of the day, I pull into my driveway and there is nothing but rolling hills and you see the corn growing here, and the alpacas running around there, the sun setting over the hill… the peacefulness is worth the hour-long drive. The farm is a completely different type of work but the rewards are so worth it. 

FL: WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF INTERIOR DESIGN?

PLS: Understanding scale, patterns and textures, and the relationship between pieces and the room itself is important. Having experience and an understanding of home construction is vital. I have developed a network of trusted specialists and these relationships are invaluable in allowing our work to progress seamlessly.  Knowing what I do best, and knowing the best professionals that do what I don’t, is huge. For example, our partnership with Archuity, an architectural firm with whom we share a common wall in our Brentwood office. Having architects to partner with gives us options for designing both commercial and residential spaces not available to many other interior designers. We are a one stop shop - from the architecture through completion - we do it all. 

FL: WHAT IS YOUR PLANNING PROCESS FOR YOUR CLIENTS AND YOUR FARM?

PLS: I visualize myself living in the space. I create the drawn plans and walk through it in my mind as if it is standing in front of me. I am cooking in that kitchen, reaching for a pot, spices… I am using that shower, reaching for my towel and looking for a place to keep the extra towels. It is nice to have a beautiful eight foot long shower, but if there is no place to hang a towel, or if it is lacking storage space, the space is not well designed. It must be both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Great interior design involves careful planning to create a unique project for each client. But not everything is totally expected. For example, I may strategically place a really cool antique chair covered with modern fabric in a room. It gives it a bit of character and warmth along with a little bit of a surprise. Planning for the farm is a little different. I hope to add to my alpaca herd over time. I am excited that we have three baby alpacas on the way!

As a farmer, alpaca raiser, and interior designer. Patti Lynn Sharp is loving the double life she designed. She can be found enjoying the challenges of designing for commercial and residential clients at aninsidejobdesign.comand being a farmer and alpaca raiser at her Centerville farm.

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