My name is Tracy Moller and I am Fine Line Home Design LLC. Here's my story...
Like most little girls I spent a lot of time playing with my Barbies. However, rather than inventing story lines and dressing them up, I preferred constructing little houses for them out of old boxes. Nothing made a rainy Saturday afternoon more enjoyable than building a little streetscape of cardboard stores, houses, and restaurants against the wall in the basement. I loved architecture and planning out living and working spaces.
As I grew up my priorities changed and my thoughts of residential architecture faded away. After getting my AA in Business Administration at Frederick Community College, I ended up working for an insurance company, in a job that required no creativity. I reminisced about Barbie and her "neighborhood" more and more. On a whim I began taking architectural drafting courses at FCC on a part time basis, just to see if I'd like it. I did! About a year later the company I worked for was sold to a larger firm, and I was told I'd be job eliminated, so I started hunting for a job in my dream occupation. Fortunately I found part-time employment as an architectural drafter for a firm in Frederick, Caddworks, before my position was eliminated; after my official last day at the insurance company I became a full time drafter.
I continued my education while working and eventually completed the FCC Architectural Drafting Certificate program. The real schooling took place on the job, though. I spent five years at Caddworks working on additions, renovations, and custom homes - some of them quite elaborate and large. I then went to work for a small family-owned contractor as their one-person design/drafting department, learning about the residential construction business from the builder's perspective. Missing the creative challenge of designing larger projects, though, I decided after a few months to strike out on my own.
I started Precision Drafting Services in 1998 and worked out of my Hagerstown home. After two years I moved the business into a historic former hotel that had been partially converted into offices. The building was packed with inspiring architectural details and I even had a fireplace opposite my desk, but it also had a leaky roof, so after two years I relocated to a nicer office in Hagerstown's Public Square. Business was booming so I hired my husband as my assistant in 2005, and that's when I renamed the company to Fine Line Home Design LLC. We moved to a larger office right across from the library. Then the recession hit. Fewer industries were more decimated than residential construction. My husband was forced into finding outside employment in 2008, and shortly thereafter the library not 40 feet away from my office began a massive two-year expansion. With no client parking, dust, and construction noise, it was time to move once more.
In what would be hopefully the final move for many years, I left downtown Hagerstown after more than a decade and relocated to a new basement office in our Williamsport home. The parking is free and plentiful, there are no one-way streets to navigate, and you can't beat the commute! The office space is separated from our living space and has a dedicated entrance for clients, so mentally switching from work mode to home mode is easy.
The Barbies are stashed away in the attic now, their houses long torn down, but I think of them often. While working on a custom design I'll sometimes envision it as if I've built it out of boxes against the walls of my childhood basement. How many other residential designer drafters imagine "walking" their client in Barbie form through potential kitchens and out onto imaginary decks?