Tessa Broadwater’s job is to illuminate our lives, literally. She studied interior design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and now designs lighting spaces for others on the Emerald Coast. “I am a lighting specialist and designer,” she says. “I help select, design and provide lighting fixtures and home furnishings for local and out-of-state builders, homeowners, and architects.”
Tessa grew up surrounded by creativity. Her mother was an art teacher and her father an unlikely combination of carpenter, musician and hydrologist. (I can’t help but note that Broadwater is a particularly appropriate name for a hydrologist.)
Her passion for art presents itself immediately. The first thing you’ll notice upon meeting her is her body art. She apprenticed as a tattoo artist for a time in West Virginia but decided that other media were more to her liking. “I have always appreciated tattoo artists and their designs,” she says. “I learned a lot about the industry and loved every minute of it, but this still didn’t seem perfect for me.”
Tessa had wanted to be an interior designer since she was a child. Her stint at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh taught her about design. She had found her calling. After a long day helping clients fill spaces with light she can be found in a spare bedroom in her own home, which she has turned into an art studio. “My favorite expression in art,” she says, “is working with acrylic paint on canvas. My second favorite would be buying and repainting or refinishing furniture pieces. I can’t handle a blank room or canvas for too long.”
Tessa is a relative newcomer to the Emerald Coast, having arrived here about four years ago. Originally from Frostburg, a small town in the mountainous western panhandle of Maryland, she does not regret the move.
“I had broken off an unhealthy relationship with my boyfriend,” she says. “My sister was moving to Navarre with her husband at that time, who had been offered a job at Eglin AFB. They knew I always wanted to live elsewhere and offered for me to move with them. I decided to pack up my life and move within about a week. My decision felt right. I needed an extreme change and knew this was going to be it. Little did I know that this would be the best decision I’d ever made. I did not know about the Emerald Coast before moving here from Maryland.”
Tessa worked at The Surf Hut in Miramar Beach for a couple years before landing a job that allowed her to exercise her passion for design. She now practices her craft at Lighting, ETC., located in the 30Avenue shopping district in Inlet Beach. You can find them on the web at www.lelights.com. They sell all kinds of home furnishings and accessories, not just lighting fixtures.
She feels she’s in a good place right now, both in terms of her location along our beautiful beaches, and in terms of her chosen profession. She says her job with Lighting, ETC. is rewarding. “I love my clients! Every space I work in is different and unique in its own way. The ultimate satisfaction is seeing the results of a happy customer in their beautiful home or business.”
I asked Tessa where she would like to go from here with her career. She’s happy doing what she’s doing for now, she said, but would like to spend time learning more about the building and design trades. “I love learning, and I am constantly learning in this industry. Ultimately, I would love to flip houses while designing and coordinating the whole process. Beyond that, maybe one day creating my own brand and company.”
And what’s on her bucket list? “I love traveling and experiencing new cultures. I would love getting tattooed by some of my favorite artists in various states around the country.”
If you would like to nominate someone for an interview contact Tracy Steely at 850-803-9822. Visit our website at www.thefacesofwaltoncounty.com