2023 – The Swell Year

Jan 9, 2024 | Design

What a year!  I couldn’t be more thankful.  With 2024 around the corner, I wanted to consider my ‘word of the year’.  But first, a reflection is in order for 2023.  The word that instantly comes to mind, in hindsight, is SWELL.  To borrow from the synonyms of the adjective of swell… 2023 was a cool, dandy, fine, fly, grand, posh, super year!  

But wait, that’s not all!  Swell can also mean ‘to grow or cause to grow in size, especially as a result of internal pressure’ or ‘a succession of waves or a single large wave’.  All of this is SO pertinent to our 5th full year of White Pine Design! 

This year, we started with one full time employee, our creative design director, Kallie, who’s been with us 3 years where we worked from a shared office space.  In February, we moved into Baker Lofts and began the long, intentional process of building it out.  Into quarter 2, Abigail went from student to graduate and from intern to full time technical designer.  And Beth went from a beloved client of WP to a part time process manager.  Jordan and I continued in our roles as Builder/Carpenter and Lead Designer/Manager.  White Pine Design was expanding.  And it was good!  Grand. Posh. Super.

We tackled:

1 addition,

2 whole home renos,

7 bathrooms,

3 kitchens,

1 attic space,

1 exterior deck + multiple exterior home upgrades,

2 showrooms,

1 speaking event,

3 scouting trips in 3 locations,

Design for dozens of spaces,

All while adjusting to some new & improved software systems and processes.

I share this out of gratitude for our team.  Out of bewilderment of what Jordan is able to manage and accomplish onsite!  And because it has also been: stretching, strained, intense.  A surge and a crescendo.   

Co-leading a growing team is hard work.  Growing a business is tough!  And turning that off to then parent and manage a household is difficult!  If I’m honest, there was a weekend where I questioned it all.  The internal strain was building and I wondered what the purpose was of this workload, the juggling, the risk.  I had to circle back to the ‘whys’ I had listed down (as I was instructed to do from the various business books and podcasts I had consumed), to be reminded of our values, our mission, and my personal whys.  And I was instructed to face unfounded, unrealized, unreasonable anxieties.  I’ve since worked to adjust my perspective, my responsibilities, continuing to delegate more, and set better personal boundaries around what I’m able to achieve in a day. 

I have so much respect for small businesses and the different stages of building a business.  It is not for the faint of heart!   I have learned so much about myself and there is always something to learn from all experiences, the good things and the hard things.  Our company is no longer a baby.  It’s growing up.  And that has been welcome but it has meant some major commitment from us.  We are so thankful for our people – our employees that are growing with us, our trades and vendors that partner with us, and for our amazing clients that keep the work coming!

This year, a shift happened. We are more confident than ever in our processes, our product, our delivery, and the finished products we fulfill.  Year five, 2023, the swell year feels like a graduation… like we made it through the initiation process to see if we had the grit it takes to run a small business.  The struggle is real, the overwhelm is valid, the questioning is part of the process.  And coming off from a season of ‘swell’, the dreams, goals, and next steps for future design initiatives continue to well up in us!  We are ready for more and excited to see what opportunities God provides in year six.  (He is my why!) 


Cheers to five swell years!  Thank you for following along!

– Lindsey


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