Catherine Hayes' Kickass Job

Catherine M Hayes.jpg
Courtesy of Catherine Hayes
Welcome to our weekly idea of a seriously kickass job. Today, we nabbed Catherine Hayes of Hayes Architecture/Interior Inc.. Hayes designs for a living -- and quite often, she gets paid to design kickass restaurants like Modern Steak, Sanctuary Resort Spas & Suites, and Chelsea's Kitchen.

Hayes started her design studio 18 years ago and is responsible for the prettiest restaurants (and photoshoot-worthy bathrooms) in town.

We love her work ... almost as much as she loves her job.

What are you working on right now? 
Designing ways for people to fall in love with living in well-designed smaller homes, to work in cooperation with other businesses, sharing talent and space, and to dine and play in restaurants and resorts that amuse, entertain and inspire them.

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Claire Lawton
The front patio, designed by Hayes, at Modern Steak in Scottsdale.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At about eight years old, I read the description of what a nomad is in The National Geographic. I told my Mom I wanted to be a nomad. She said no. It didn't matter, it turns out I am sort-of a nomad, who designs stuff between my travels.

How did you get into your line of work?

As a kid I used to sit on our front porch and when the Sears delivery truck came rumbling down the block, I would chase after it until it reached any neighbors house. If they unloaded an appliance I begged for the box, then dragged it into our backyard to add to my always-morphing fort. I loved arranging these boxes to create my shelter.

In addition, I grew up surrounded by astoundingly beautiful architecture; e.g. my walk to school, playing in friends homes, riding my bike as fast and far as I could to see all the fascinating homes, high-rises and hotels. When someone told me the people that designed these places were "architects"  I instantly set my intention to be one.

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Claire Lawton
Modern Steak's interior.
What's the most annoying thing about your job?
That I have to conduct myself like a calm, composed person when I am really intensely excited and energized by all of the ideas running through my head and the countless opportunities to be of service.

What's the most awesome thing about your job?
That every single day I get to draw, design and discuss ideas, with my team and clients, on how they might like to live, work, dine or play.

The use of the word "job" seems truly foreign to me. What I do has never been a job. It is a wild ride through life filled with colossal fun and invention. The satisfaction I get from clients who tell me they are pleased with what we have helped them create is indescribable!

What's the most common misconception about your profession?
Other than that we make a lot of money I think it is that people think we couldn't possibly be as inquisitive as we appear, all of the time ... but I can't help being relentlessly curious about all kinds of things. There aren't enough hours in the day to explore and learn about everything I would like to know about.

If you couldn't do the job you have, what would you do instead?
Try and be a great piano player, draw a cartoon strip, teach children about art and architecture and the people that create it, figure out how to be able to swim in the ocean near colorful fish almost every day, figure out how to love and care for a couple of people really well and be out in nature for the majority of every day. What job would that be?  Until I figure that out I am sticking to the amazing practice of architecture and design and remain grateful to the profession.

What advice would you give to someone who wants a job like yours?
Take risks you are committed to, explore the world, listen intently, only work with people you intuitively feel good around and hire an excellent business manager.

Do you envy anyone else's job? Whose?
Bill and Melinda Gates' partnership, Richard Branson (Virgin-everything).

What would be your nightmare career?
Anything to do with being in a hospital.

Check out a full photo tour of Modern Steak on our foodie sister blog, Chow Bella.

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Claire Lawton
The bar at Modern Steak, which Hayes says she designed to look "like a jewelry box."




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