Why You've Got To Check Out Today's Episode:
[00:00:00] Kathi Burns: Hi there. I'm board certified professional organizer Kathi Burns. I'm really glad you're here. This podcast is designed for busy entrepreneurs just like you, who wanna take better control of your business and move forward with less stress and more success. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming.
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Hi everyone. Welcome back to Organizing Energizer the podcast. Today we're going to talk about home design. It's a little bit different than I normally do, but we're going to talk with Jenny Pippin because she's the owner and lead designer of Pippen Home Designs. And I like what she does because she's not only just a professional building designer, she's a certified green professional, a blogger and an influencer. So for over 37 years, Jenny's human-centric design techniques have created home environments that nurture and enhance the human experience. So we're gonna talk about how she goes about doing that, how you can possibly do a little bit of tweaking in your home to enhance your human experience. And we're gonna get going and have some fun with this. So join me and we're on our way. Hey everyone. As I said, I'm here with Ginny Pippin today and we're going to talk about home design. We're going to talk about her expertise and why she does what she does, and how you can glorify and beautify your home and make it more of a Zen retreat type of space. So welcome to the show, Jenny.
[00:01:49] Jenny Pippin: Thank you. Thank you. I'm excited to be here. Kathi, thanks for inviting me.
[00:01:53] Kathi Burns: Absolutely. Yeah, let's talk home. It's a little bit of break from what I normally do on the podcast, so I think it's gonna be a fun exploration of what you're up to. So talk to me about, have you always been aesthetically inclined and always been a home designer, or talk to me about your backstory.
[00:02:10] Jenny Pippin: So I was actually raised on a tobacco farm and farmed tobacco for as long as I could, until I got a driver's license and could go do something else. And then I put myself through school learning about architecture waiting tables. So I was a waitress for a while and then I got into a program where, I was able to get some on the job experience while I was still in school and just fell in love with design and homes. My co-op experience that I had was for for a designer that did only residential work. We didn't do any commercial work, and that's where I found that my love was in, in doing residential only. So that's where my focus has been for 38 years.
[00:02:51] Kathi Burns: That's pretty amazing. Where's the tobacco farm? Were you in the south?
[00:02:54] Jenny Pippin: Yes, I'm actually in North Carolina and I grew up in the eastern part of the state, and my mom still lives on the tobacco farm outside of Dudley. And now I'm over in the Charlotte region on the western part of the state up around Lake Norman.
[00:03:10] Kathi Burns: So when you started doing this, did you go back into the farmhouse and do some redesign for your mom?
[00:03:16] Jenny Pippin: I did actually design some an addition for my parents while my dad was still alive. Yeah. I sure did.
[00:03:23] Kathi Burns: That's fantastic. One of my friends, my aunt and uncle, the not by blood, but by family their son actually designed a home as an architect for them and built the house and everything, and it's, oh, it means a lot. I'm sure your mom just is thrilled to have a little bit of your touch in her life, even though you don't live in the same place anymore.
[00:03:42] Jenny Pippin: Absolutely. And I've designed homes for my cousins too, around there.
[00:03:46] Kathi Burns: Oh, that's awesome. That's awesome. So what made you get into design and architecture and that kind of thing?
[00:03:52] Jenny Pippin: I just loved drawing and I loved houses and I loved the ideas that kept coming to me about how, a space could live. And I loved barns. I wanted to live in a barn. So I actually designed a remodel for my husband and I back in 2006 that looked like the shape of a North Carolina barn, even though it wasn't a barn.
[00:04:13] Kathi Burns: That's fantastic. Did you make it with white trim?
[00:04:17] Jenny Pippin: No, it's actually corrugated metal and a standing sea metal roof.
[00:04:22] Kathi Burns: I love that. Oh I've always wanted a metal roof and it rains a lot in the Carolinas, so I bet it just sounds fantastic when it rains.
[00:04:30] Jenny Pippin: Yes. And I filled it with skylights too, so there was tons of natural light.
[00:04:35] Kathi Burns: Fantastic. Fantastic. So if someone's living in a house that they're not really quite happy with what kind of tip would you give them?
[00:04:43] Jenny Pippin: Yeah, I would say, think about how you feel in your space now. Is there a room that you're particularly drawn to. Or is there not anywhere in your house that you're not drawn to? I find that people are drawn to rooms that have windows on at least two sides of the walls. And where the room that everybody wants to be in is a room that has windows on three sides. Yes. So it's like a sunroom. So if you have a space that's like that where you could add additional windows, that's going be where everybody wants to be.
[00:05:16] Kathi Burns: Oh, that's interesting. I hadn't thought of that bit, but that's true. That in the kitchen. But usually the kitchen has some good light as well.
[00:05:23] Jenny Pippin: Humans are drawn to natural light, and instinctively. And so when you're living at a house that's too dark, natural light is going to change it dramatically. And then going with maybe some lighter furnishings or lighter trim, or even just lighter wall paint. Those kind of things. Anything to help brighten it up. But adding windows is a big factor that, that we bring a lot to our clients.
[00:05:49] Kathi Burns: I love that. Now, what, how do you feel about the solar tube, or not the solar tube, the light tube things he can put through your roof and then it gives you your ambient light. Do you use those frequently in your designs?
[00:05:59] Jenny Pippin: Yes, and I have four of them in my own home.
[00:06:03] Kathi Burns: It's always amazing to me how this one little hole can bring so much light into a room. It's crazy to me.
[00:06:11] Jenny Pippin: Yes. And we put one in our kitchen and it's the kind that has a light fixture in it. So when it's dark at night, we can still turn that on. And it serves both purposes, the daytime natural light, and the evening artificial light. And then we find that even when there's a little bit of moonlight, it still brings that natural moonlight into the house. Even on a cloudy day, you still get natural light from those.
[00:06:34] Kathi Burns: That's crazy.
[00:06:35] Jenny Pippin: Yeah, they're wonderful.
[00:06:36] Kathi Burns: That's also a way to add light, if you're in a room that you can't add a window to.
[00:06:40] Jenny Pippin: That's right. Yes. We have an interior stairwell going to our basement where we added one and an interior hallway has one. Yeah, so our closets, yeah they're a great resource.
[00:06:52] Kathi Burns: That's a great idea for a closet because all closets are just way too darn dark, even with a light. What other tips do you have for us as far as sprusing up our home or making our home feel more, more like us?
[00:07:05] Jenny Pippin: I would say anything that, that you have around you that's maybe artwork that you're drawn to or maybe you create art, create a space where you can actually do your own art crafting or, I have a lot of quilting clients. And clients who love to paint create a space for that. If you don't already have one, create a private space where you can go and have natural light in it, but where you can go and be creative, but bring in natural light, bring in the the artwork that you like and bring in plants, plants bring nature inside, but it also helps to clean the air, because we breathe in oxygen and it creates that for us. So it's an easy thing to do. There's lots of things you can do that'll cost a lot of money, but those are easy things. Make sure it's a piece of art that really sings to you and after a while you might not notice it anymore. So switch your art around, so then you start to see it again. Yeah, moving it around is really good idea.
[00:08:07] Kathi Burns: I love that. I like to just take everything off the wall, move the furniture, and then put everything back. And it makes it a completely different room. And I like the plants. I just brought in six plants into my living room. And even if you have a green, if even if you have a brown thumb, there are some plants that you just really can't kill. Like the mother-in-law talk, whatever it's called, the spiky thing. So there's a lot of stuff that you can do, even if you have a brown thumb.
[00:08:31] Jenny Pippin: That's right. And another thing, if you don't have a lot of art, bring in flowers, fresh flowers every week, fresh flowers. I go to the farmer's market on Saturdays and I always bring home a bundle or two of fresh flowers. Just it makes me happy.
[00:08:45] Kathi Burns: Yeah. Yeah, me too. Especially the smell. I had never really experienced aromatherapy as much until I had an operation and one of my girlfriends sent me over three, three bundles of stargazer lilies. And I'm now in love with them and I never understood the healing. That was a healing power for me. It made me feel so good and so energized. Just flowers. And yes, I've never experienced that before. So I'm with you on the fresh flower type of thing.
[00:09:15] Jenny Pippin: Anything that's, that you feel is beautiful, will make you feel good, it actually makes you feel happier, it makes you feel healthier. So anything that you can bring into your space, be it flowers or color or a piece of art or sculpture, anything like that your pet. Make sure you have your pets with you. Yeah, my, my cat to be here with me too.
[00:09:38] Kathi Burns: He's never been on the podcast before welcome, Ying. Here he goes.
[00:09:42] Jenny Pippin: It's no wonder my cat wanted to be in here with me too. She's gray and white. So she wanted to meet your kitty.
[00:09:49] Kathi Burns: Ah, that's good. That's funny. That's funny. So I know that this has happened to you. People say, I don't have a big enough closet. I hear this all the time. What do you do for the people who feel like they don't have a big enough closet? Do you have advice or tips or anything that you do to to help them feel like at least they have more closet or maybe bust out a wall to give 'em more closet?
[00:10:12] Jenny Pippin: Yeah, if they have a 10 foot tall ceiling, Then we can add another layer of hanging space in that upper area. I have a client who actually has a company that makes the arms that you can bring down, you can hit a button and it brings the arm down to you with that whole extra row of storage.
[00:10:34] Kathi Burns: Yes. I have a couple clients who have those. It's fantastic. And that is where you put your off season clothes. Then what you don't need, you stick those off season clothes and bring 'em right back up. Oh, I hadn't thought about doing that inside of a, a lot of my clients just have the really small, they're in the old homes. And they have the really small closets, the one door thing. But they do have the high ceilings, I never considered putting the dropdown in there.
[00:10:57] Jenny Pippin: Yes or if there's attic space above that closet, if they don't have a 10 foot ceiling, but there's some attic space they could bump into, they could raise that ceiling without having to bump out and add onto the house.
[00:11:09] Kathi Burns: Love it. Love it. Yeah. That's smart. I'm learning new things that I had never considered before, Jenny. That's prime. So tell me about the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. What happened with you whenever, so you graduated and then did you start working for someone or did you launch? How did that work?
[00:11:27] Jenny Pippin: I did, I went to work for a builder at first, and we did a lot of what we call spec homes. Speculative, we didn't have custom clients for them and they had a set style that they were building. It was what we called a five, four and a door. It's really a Williamsburg style, the five windows across the top and four on the bottom with the door in the middle. Your basic colonial type box. And then I went to work for a builder in in Chapel Hill who built only contemporary houses. So I had a mix of the very traditional and then the very contemporary. And then I went to work for a designer who did only custom homes. And so every client that he worked with wanted something unique, unique to their taste and their budget, and also unique to the building site that they had versus, going in and clearing a piece of land and like the development type. These were individual lots in different places and I just love that. I love the variety, I love the uniqueness of each project that we got to work with. And I was married at the time and my husband wanted to relocate to, to do a business partnership with a friend of his in a surveying company in Charlotte. So we relocated to Charlotte and instead of trying to find another job with another firm, I decided to start my own because I had started a little bit on the side before we moved. We lived in Raleigh at that time, so I decided it was time to go full bore on my own. And I approached a number of designers and builders in the area to ask, if they needed help, I could offer some overflow support. And one of those builders actually decided to build a spec home in something called the Street of Dreams, which was a home tour for the public to come through and ask me if I wanted to design the home for that tour. And I said, absolutely. I would love to do that. It was my first opportunity to get, to do anything like that. And our house won best in show and best architectural design. So being open for the tour for, I guess it was maybe two weeks. Hundreds of people went through that home tour, and as a result of having that exposure, I got a lot of custom clients that started coming my way for, what they saw that I had done there on the tour and just loved it. And my specialty is being, it is designing for a view, and this home was on a golf course and directly across the street was the lake. So we had a view front and back.
[00:13:58] Kathi Burns: That's fantastic. The story arc of your career just seems like it was perfect, to start, what do you call it, the five, four in the door to start with, start when I never heard of that phrase, but that's pretty cool to start with that and do the cookie cutter and then progress and progress into custom, and then to have the opportunity to actually design your own on the street of dreams. You had a dream career. Absolutely. You are blessed girl. It just sounds like the perfect the perfect circumstances have worked for you all throughout your career. That's amazing.
[00:14:32] Jenny Pippin: Yeah. There, there's a whole nother piece to that story. Before I moved from the Raleigh area to the Lake Norman area, I was living in a home that, that my husband and I were renting at the time. It was a passive solar home, had been designed by the homeowner himself and built by him. And so it was my first experience in being in passive solar. And I thought, this is so awesome. Why isn't everybody building this way? So I wanted to learn about that. But shortly after we moved in, I was in a bad car wreck. And I was thrown out the sunroof of my car. My, my back was broken in two places and I wound up in a body cast and I realized that this same home was not going to be able to accommodate me in a body cast in a physical challenged position. And so I wound up having to rent a hospital bed and put it in the front room of the house, and that's where I stayed for four months. And so I learned that you really have, you don't have to be old to need a house that, that that can support you in a challenging situation. You don't have to be in a wheelchair, to have somebody come and visit you who is in a wheelchair. You need to make your home visitable by others as well as functional for yourself. So I learned once I was able to get back to work. I went ahead and studied accessible design and the passive solar design, and so I've incorporated those two elements in with what I do for my clients now too.
[00:16:01] Kathi Burns: You probably don't do a lot of two stories in at this point. You probably are, your specialization is a one story.
[00:16:07] Jenny Pippin: Actually, we do a lot of multi-level houses because our specialty is designing for a view. A lot of our properties are on either a lakefront or a mountainside, so we're putting elevators in. And so when you want to get somebody into your house, if you've got steps to the front door, we actually make the garages deep enough so that you can hide a ramp inside that garage. So it doesn't speak to the world that there's someone with a physical challenge in that house, but it also provides safety from the weather. So you don't have a slip, a slippery, Icy ramp outside in the weather. It gives you a place that you can come and go and even if you don't need it for a physical challenge, you can always put your groceries in one of those buggies and wheel it up into the house, so it makes your home a whole lot more functional.
[00:16:54] Kathi Burns: That's a smart idea because yeah, I think whenever we drive by and see the ramps, it's oh, I feel a little bit sad, and this way you don't even have that, you don't even have that sadness coming through your house.
[00:17:05] Jenny Pippin: And not everybody can afford the elevator. So what we do is design this, the a closet, essentially the size for an elevator shaft, and then we design the floor to be self-supported and not connected to the other floor system. So it can be easily removed at some point down the road if they ever do decide that they want to add the elevator in. If they never need the elevator, they've got great storage closets on every level.
[00:17:29] Kathi Burns: Smart. You're so smart. So if you had to look back and talk to yourself before you became a business owner what would you tell your teenage self?
[00:17:41] Jenny Pippin: I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. Everybody was farming, so I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I really didn't know exactly what direction I was gonna take it, but I would tell myself to never take no for an answer. If there's something you want, go for it. And persevere. And don't let anybody dull your sparkle.
[00:18:05] Kathi Burns: Ah, don't let anybody dull your sparkle. That's a great quote. We're gonna have to put that one underneath the podcast right there. I love that. And okay, so as a stylist, I always tell people, you need color, texture, and shine. If you put together an outfit, and I would expect that there's something to be said about that in a design of a home, how would you interpret that?
[00:18:28] Jenny Pippin: Light fixtures tend to be a place where you can bring in that sparkle and shine. And it's the jewelry of the home yeah. So that's a great way to, to bring in that sparkle.
[00:18:39] Kathi Burns: And how about color and texture?
[00:18:42] Jenny Pippin: I personally love color. My whole house is full of color and my last home had 14 paint colors in it. I think this one probably only has about six or seven. But color lights me up. And what I found with the former home, with all of that color, everyone who walked through the front door just lit up literally. So color is really important. I think there, there's some people that prefer to be very neutral and very calm, so you could have spaces in your home that are that way. But I think in their main living spaces have in color, your favorite colors just makes you happier.
[00:19:19] Kathi Burns: I totally agree. And for those who are listening, you need to jump over to my YouTube channel and look at Organized Energizer podcasts so you can see what Ginny's wearing because she has popping color all over the place. I love your shirt.
[00:19:31] Jenny Pippin: Thank you. I wear this color all the time.
[00:19:32] Kathi Burns: Plus you can meet Ying, my client, my cat right here. You can see him. That's fantastic. Now what else should we talk about? I love the way that this is the energetics of your space, right? We talk about that. Anything else that you'd like to add to this conversation?
[00:19:47] Jenny Pippin: What are people doing for fun at their homes? I think that's a really important thing to, to think about are they planning in fun spaces? Are they planning in places to enjoy themselves, to relax? A lot of people are really into their outdoor living spaces now and I know you like to ask people how they celebrate. And so for me, my fun place is where I celebrate. I actually had four acres in the country and on the backside of the tree line opens to a cow pasture, and it's our neighbor's cows, but we overlook it and I put in a She Shed. I have dance parties at my she shed with live bands and invite all my friends over and we have a great time. We dance barefoot on the grass and watch the stars and we have a bubble machine. Everybody lights up like little kids with the bubbles. It's great. It's a fun to hang out.
[00:20:43] Kathi Burns: I have a bubble machine too. Girl. You're the only person I know that has one like me. A super 2000 bubble blaster, right?
[00:20:52] Jenny Pippin: We love it. We have a fog machine. We have a disco ball, we have the colorful canopies everywhere.
[00:21:00] Kathi Burns: Oh, I would love to see this. Oh my gosh, you sent me a picture of your She Shed. Which reminds me of whenever we were talking earlier and I lost that thought, but I think it's so important that every person has their own space within the home. For my husband, when we moved to this house, it was like very important that he had his workout space and, how's that gonna happen? It's a whole room. He has all this stuff and he took over half of the garage, it worked out perfectly. And I have my reading area. I have a whole corner of the bedroom that's my space with my lazy girl, my bookshelf, my special light. And that's my space that I can go to. And I think that no matter how small of a space you live in, you can carve out a place that's just for you. And I think it's super important.
[00:21:44] Jenny Pippin: Absolutely it is. And we've just worked on one for a client where we created a nook for her under the stairs.
[00:21:51] Kathi Burns: Yes. I've done that actually for kiddos. Little playrooms, in the space underneath the stairs. Because kids need their own space too.
[00:21:59] Jenny Pippin: Yes, they do. Yeah. Something for everybody. And I like to get everybody involved when I'm designing a home to find out what everybody wants in it. So we make sure that everybody has all of their dreams considered when we were putting a design together. And then speaking of energetics, thinking about where so many people work from home now, we have to have what we call a Zoom room or a quiet place where we can have those meetings and things. We have some clients who want to put their workspace in their bedroom, and I am adamantly opposed to the energetics of the two just don't mix. You don't want to have your business and your sleeping space in the same room. So we find ways to give them other places to make that happen so that they can keep their bedroom, their sanctuary.
[00:22:44] Kathi Burns: Super smart. Super smart. During Covid, one of my clients is a school teacher, and of course she was doing her classroom from her home and in her dining room actually is where she was leading the classroom. One day, her little six year old son went cruising through naked. In the back. And at that point she's oh my gosh, we've gotta do something. So speaking of shed, she had a shed out in her backyard. We actually gutted it, turned it around, turned it into her teaching office space. Which shut the door. And I have anybody cruising around naked behind her and she could actually focus on teaching her curriculum. So God bless the teachers during covid, they went through so much stuff and and creating that, taking that shed and turning it into whatever. I have several clients who have, She Sheds too. I think they're fantastic.
[00:23:34] Jenny Pippin: They are. They're awesome. They're awesome.
[00:23:36] Kathi Burns: Now I want to come and visit you so we can have a dance party.
[00:23:40] Jenny Pippin: And where we are located is really near where the Statesville Balloon Festival happens every year. So in October, the balloons come flying over us and we've had one land in our yard and so it's a great space for people to watch the balloons.
[00:23:55] Kathi Burns: Wow. All right. Fantastic. We're all gonna show up. Okay. So is there anything that you'd like to offer the people that are listening anything at all that they can use to make their home feel a little bit better for themselves?
[00:24:08] Jenny Pippin: Absolutely. We have a great resource on our website. It's called My Blog. We have so much valuable information in our blog to help people from learning about how to be happy in their home, to learning about indoor air quality, to water quality, to bringing in natural light in various ways. And now we're talking about regenerative design and working with nature biophilia and biomimicry. All kinds of great information is on that blog. so at pippenhomedesigns.com. And that's P I P I N, home designs with an s.com.
[00:24:49] Kathi Burns: Perfect. Check it out, gang. I'm going to look it up and I hope you have pictures of your little she shed on there. I'd love to see one of your blogs. You need a blog about that so I can see it.
[00:24:59] Jenny Pippin: We do, and I really want people to know that surrounding yourself with beauty is really important. It helps you not only be happier and helps you be more healthy. And I want people to know that the future of medicine is in the home. It really is. It's the alternative health resource. Your home has a greater ability to make you healthy than even the medical system does.
[00:25:26] Kathi Burns: Wow. All right. That's a mic drop moment, Jenny. Okay. That's powerful. Yeah. That's huge.
[00:25:32] Jenny Pippin: It really is. Yeah. We just have to think of it differently. It's not just shelter anymore. It's so much more of our life experience and it can be a way to help us be healthier too.
[00:25:44] Kathi Burns: Amazing. Wow. All right. Cool. Yeah, I'm all excited about this talk and I'm energized around it, energized around thinking about home that way. I've always considered home a haven, but, for home, for health. But it makes total sense. Yeah. But I think it's a reframe that most of us don't really consider.
[00:26:04] Jenny Pippin: Yeah. When you think about the things that you buy to put in your house, think about what it's made of. It could be toxic materials. Just like a brand new car. Some people love the new car smell, but that's a toxin that you're smelling. It's not something that is good for you. Indoor, indoor air quality is important and healthy water. Is really important and lots of natural light and bringing in nature. All of those things can really transform a space.
[00:26:32] Kathi Burns: Love it. Love it. Yeah. Thank you so much for your time. I am sure that everybody out there has learned a lot. I've learned a lot. And I'm going pop some of those mic drop quotes down below for you as well. And I appreciate your time, Jenny and have fun designing your next home. I can't wait to see what you're up to.
[00:26:49] Jenny Pippin: Thank you. Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity too, Kathi, and I'll look forward to talking with you again.
[00:26:53] Kathi Burns: You got it. Take care yourself.
[00:26:55] Jenny Pippin: Have a great afternoon.
[00:26:57] Kathi Burns: Okay. You too.
[00:26:58] Jenny Pippin: Oh, one more thing. We have a book coming out. Yes. I almost forgot to share this with you. We're writing a series actually, and so we're working on book one of the series. And it will also help people to learn about how to design their home for their specific soul's desire. So we use, what we have coined is, are you inspired discovery process. And so there's six key elements that we look at when we're designing a home that will actually be what you what is designed to really bring out what your soul wants so that you can live your best life in your home.
[00:27:40] Kathi Burns: You were holding out on us, Jenny, so now it's good to know this book is coming out. So when are you expecting to publish?
[00:27:48] Jenny Pippin: Our intention is going to be this fall, maybe around October. Is the the goal, I should say? Yeah.
[00:27:56] Kathi Burns: All right. If we go to your website and we download, is there a way for us to get on that list so that we know when your book's, when your book's going to drop?
[00:28:05] Jenny Pippin: Oh yes, absolutely. Go to our website and sign up for our email list and we actually just announced it today in a newsletter, so we'll be sending that out again tomorrow. And, we'll keep everybody up to date as, as much as we can on how it's developing.
[00:28:21] Kathi Burns: That's quite exciting. I wish you much luck with that. Thanks for popping that in at the last second. Yes, little pip in you. Okay. Signing off for now this week, gang. We'll see you next week. Same time, same bat channel, and we will see you there. Bye-bye.
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