Mark Haynes, Allied ASID_MYSTORY.jpg





My design career started early at the age of 10 while living in the wilds of West Texas. A family friend built me a 7x7-foot deer blind that I turned into a fort. I loved being there. There was a sense of warmth and a feeling of security that came with the solitude. I ate, played and, to my mom’s dismay, even slept out there sometimes.

I “borrowed” change from my mom’s purse and my dad’s coin jar and perused garage sales for dishes, drapes, chairs, lighting...anything that would make my fort feel more like home. When I finally ran out of change, I browsed back alleys for discarded items and garage sale leftovers.

The fort grew to five rooms.

But when I started a second story, the neighbors grew concerned, and that was the end of the fun. I reluctantly disassembled the fort.

Fast forward many years, I see now that this fort was the beginning of a life full of creative pursuits. I started my career in advertising, working on campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the U.S. After 15 years, I woke up one day and realized my passion for the ad business was gone.

Not quite sure of what I wanted to come next, I took a month sabbatical driving throughout Mexico to reflect on the next chapter of my career . My mind kept returning to that fort. There was so much joy during that time in my life, and I realized quickly that I wanted to translate that same joy into my work.

I enrolled in design school in Santa Fe and worked with a firm for six years, learning all of the trade practices, systems and secrets. At 47, I had gone from the corner office of a big ad agency, to an intern working with great designers who were much younger than me. Needless to say, it was a shock to the system, but the time spent there was extremely valuable to my growth as a designer and I am very grateful for the experience.

In 2012, my partner Kevin and I moved to Denver where I decided to take the leap and open my own firm, even though I only had one small carry over client from Santa Fe and knew no one in town.

Looking back, I realize that my whole life was leading to interior design, and the only thing I regret is not starting sooner. That said, all of my life experiences play a big role in my approach to the work. All of the systems I learned in the advertising world helped me create streamlined operations for my design clients. All of that time spent in the deer blind, established a space for my young mind to be creative.

Today, I am thrilled that I get to spend every day doing what I love, and helping others to feel as comfortable, secure and inspired as I did sitting in my little fort in West Texas.