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Hi there! I’m Nancy and I am the amazing human behind Haven be Design. I grew up in rural-ish Virginia on a horse farm, and moved to Chicago in 2003 to pursue my Masters Degree in Architecture.

After Grad School I spent a few super intense years working 100+ hours a week at the Architecture firm SOM {think Sears Tower, John Hancock Building, Burj Dubai, & Trump Tower here in Chicago}. Hundred hour work weeks, a quarter million square foot research building and many high rise design concepts later, the economy tanked and I was handed a pink slip {along with literally all of the other Architects, everywhere}.

During the Great Recession I had an amazing yoyo of an adventure, moving back to Virginia to spend some time as an actual construction worker {no, not just working the stop/slow sign}, being talked into getting my real estate license by a great {and also then unemployed} friend from grad school, and taking another Architecture gig in Northern VA for a year while the good ‘ole economy was still on the mend, before moving back to Chicago permanently in 2012.

I spent a few years working for coffee giant Starbucks on their store design team, which was a super amazing intense whirlwind of an experience, before finally being honest with myself that I’m really just built for being the boss, so I quit and now practice Architecture and Real Estate on my own, under the umbrellas of Haven by Design and @properties.

And I’ve never been happier.

I’ve been a licensed Real Estate Broker in Illinois since 2010. Last year I officially became a licensed Architect in Illinois as well.

I am super passionate about design and am fascinated by how impactful the built environment can be on people. Buildings and spaces all have their own unique energy, just like people… and your home should be one of your favorite places to be.

I also have a deep affinity for meditation and tuning into your intuition. Being able to understand the energy of space helps me create impactful spaces that feel inspiring, fun, and resonate on a deep level with the people I work with. Everyone’s space should be uniquely ‘them’, and not quite like anyone else’s, that’s one of the things I love most about Architecture and Design.

I started this blog as a way to share different projects I’m working on, as well as my thoughts and perspectives on design, energy, life, and everything that I find inspiring. Thanks for checking out my space, I’m glad you’re here!