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Nov 03, 2022 By Jessica Jones
Perspective Moving UP: A Day in the Life
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Step into a Day in the Life of business owner Christie Porter as she leads her design firm and non-profit.
By Jessica Jones Nov 03, 2022
Published in Articles
Brought to you by sponsor

Designers often have a specific area of expertise or focus when it comes to their work. Daily life in the design profession looks different depending on whether you are an interior designer, architect, manufacturer, or business owner. For our first ‘Day in the Life’ we follow 2022 Anna Hernandez/Luna Textiles Visionary Award recipient Christie Porter, IIDA in her daily life running her business, making time for herself, and combining her nonprofit work into her role.

Porter founded her company, ONE NINE Architecture in 2018 to invoke bold change in the architecture and design fields. ONE NINE, Architecture services commercial tenant improvement, retail, multifamily, non-profits, education, and medical projects as well as residential new build, additions, and remodels. Porter also created a non-profit called ONE NINE for Humanity, deriving from her company, that provides home building and housing facilities, structural and design improvements for facilities, and offers resources to organizations while connecting with youth through mentoring and counseling. This was a way for her to combine her love for design with her passion for helping others.

Through her nonprofit work, Porter has worked with organizations like Gigi’s Playhouse donating a portion of her company’s time and effort for the design of a space for free. They also received furniture via donations from other companies and donated those pieces to Gigi’s playhouse’s new buildout and donated funds to assist with the remodel and installation of the furniture as well. She also assists Frontline Missions with their annual shoebox drive by creating a digital file for the fliers, collecting donations from partners in the design industry, and helping hand deliver the boxes with Frontline at the drive. Design and nonprofit work intersect daily for Porter and she enjoys being able to help others in need while building her own company.

In the first of the series, we give you a look at a day in the life of a business owner and designer —sharing the ins and outs of various roles in the design industry.

Jessica Jones:
What made you decide to start your own business?

Christie Porter:
I wanted to be able to help others with no limits, no restrictions, and I wanted to build something that could one day financially support my dad, sister, and her family. I wouldn’t be where I am today if God didn’t bring people into my life to step in and provide shelter to my family when we were homeless, food when we had none, financial help when the electricity and water were turned off, or clothes when we had none. I am so grateful for all that others did to step in to help us and doing for others what was done for me has been my driving force for wanting to give back. It crushes me when I know others are hurting in any way, so I wanted to be able to help however I could to show them that they are loved and their life is worth fighting for. I know now that you can overcome your circumstances, but when you are in those low places it’s hard to imagine.

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After picking up her favorite Starbucks order, a venti iced green tea matcha latte with coconut milk. Porter checks her emails first, and then checks any urgent correspondence off her list.
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To build community in the workplace, Porter makes sure the team has bonding events to encourage furthering their education and provides them with opportunities to take part in nonprofit events.
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Porter’s design work and nonprofit work intersect daily. She’s worked with organizations like Gigi’s Playhouse and Frontline Missions giving them her time and design space at no cost.

JJ: What's the best piece of advice you could give an emerging interior designer?

CP:
If you have a goal, set it, give it a time frame, and don’t give up. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself to achieve it and soak up as much knowledge as you can from any leader that takes the time to mentor you. Appreciate every second of the mentorship, and time your transitions out of a workplace based on when you have hit the max of what you can learn, not on when you want to get paid more. Once you hit the ceiling, it’s time to transition.

JJ: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

CP:
Being the first one in my family to attend and graduate from a university, being the first female out of all my relatives to be CEO of a company, being the first Armenian CEO of an architecture firm (that I am aware of), has been huge, and finally utilizing my skills to help others is probably the thing that is at the top of that list.

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Porter stays motivated throughout the day by remembering she is getting closer and closer to her life goal of providing for her family, friends, and those in need.
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Porter’s daily routine changes frequently but she appreciates being able to adjust her schedule as needed to do work like helping student interns with their own projects.
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Porter likes that her role gives her the ability to help clients and those in need with the services her company provides.

JJ: Where do you look for inspiration?

CP:
This depends on what the inspiration is for. In life it’s God, professionally it’s also God. For design, it’s so many things like nature, famous architecture, colors, texture, and anything that will give me creative ideas for projects I am working on.

JJ: When do you feel the most at peace in your life or work?

CP:
I feel the most peace in my career when I know that a large goal is met, it allows me to set aside the accomplishment and take a breath. In my personal life, my contentment with where I am and what I have been blessed with is what gives me peace.

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Porter’s favorite part of her day is when her puppy Kobe wakes her up to get her day started. Kobe loves morning snuggles and it’s the motivation she needs to get her day going.
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Porter’s schedule varies day to day but she enjoys working on different projects weekly like the design Omega Chair install pictured here.
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At the end of most days, Porter eats dinner, talks and reflects on her goals and dreams up plans for future with her husband (not pictured above).
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