Cross Roads

Cross Roads

Tom Callawayby Tom Callaway

I DON’T KNOW IF THIS NEW YEAR MARKS ANY KIND OF DEPARTURE FOR YOU from business as usual, but I can’t help but feel I am at a crossroads where something new and different is just over the horizon. Of course I could be wrong, and each day of work, family, friends, etc. might continue to drift along on the same path I have been travelling over the years.

I am already in the deep end of my second career, and it’s hard to know if a third career is to be desired or needed in the 3rd act of my life.  But it feels like things are definitely in flux. I can feel rumblings moving under foot like tectonic plates.  My appetite for “doing more” is still, very much in play. I’m a hopeless creative sort. Not a day goes by, either at bedtime or rolling back and forth through some fidgety, sleepless hours in the blackness of lights out, or in the first hour or two upon morning’s waking, that my spinning mind isn’t dreaming of something to design, or to promote, or to decorate. No accomplishment ever seems to be enough to satisfy this voracious design beast lurking within. Yet, I’m happy to say that I can look back at the past years with a great degree of satisfaction. Virtually every past project has made me proud of my efforts.  My most recent projects and experiences in 2013 were no different.

As I reflect on the year past, I am thrilled to recall some highlights, none more so than my speaking last Spring at a design conference in Berlin to 200 leading designers and architects about the unexpected twists and turns of my professional life.  This occasion led to two others speaking engagements, in New York City and again in Los Angeles, giving encores of this well received and requested talk to two other design groups. I also was requested to fly to Paris to show a French textile company my newly developed designs for fabric, wall coverings and rugs. I enjoyed that delightful week in Paris last summer, but after a promising start, the hoped for agreement with the French company did not materialize. Another trip to New York, to attend a design conference there, with more textile meetings with other companies eventually brought my new line of fabrics and wallpapers into a successful agreement with one of the major textile companies in New York.

Thomas Callaway Left BankThree nice home design projects were completed and photographed for future publications and a good deal of my design work this past year, dealt with finding appropriate art and art photography for my client’s homes and offices. This led to a delightful playback of my early years as a painter and printmaker, both in college, and in Holland and Paris in my early 20’s. This was when living in Europe as a starving artist somehow seemed romantically attractive to me.  One glance at my waistline says I haven’t been starving for some time, and the word for romantic is clearly missing in my current vocabulary.

With a promising agenda for 2014 beginning to shape up, what will the New Year have in store for me, and will life, as I know it, be set on some unexpected course?




Like most overfed Americans, I start this year determined to reduce a several pounds, eat healthier food, and get in better shape to handle my endless dreams of projects to undertake. I ponder remodeling my home, plan to attend a design conference in Buenos Aires, and after nearly 25 years, possibly move my offices to a new location. I’d like to take more time away from Los Angeles, plan to see my textile and wall covering lines launch world wide next autumn, reunite with life long buddies next summer in Wisconsin, and, who knows, possibly start writing a book of my life’s helter skelter journey in the Arts. The Walter Mitty in me knows the list will grow and change as the months pass. Not knowing what the future holds is a human dilemma I doubt will ever change. This is probably as it should be, and must be. But to dream of the “road less travelled” or, my still wanting to make footprints across an expanse of fresh snow, lets me know that my work here is not done…no slowing down for this determined, old bloke any time soon.

So here’s wishing each and every one of you only challenges that you can manage, the ability for you to carry whatever load you must, the chance to love the people and things that matter most, and for life to bring your way more pleasure than pain.  Whether at a “cross roads” or continuing down the same familiar lane, keep your eyes peeled for all the details that make this world such a visual masterpiece. And may your days be filled with those kinds of moments worth remembering, when we’re thinking back on this year, next January.

Tom Callaway is an interior designer and architect, living in Brentwood.

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