The global pandemic upended our lives: we cancelled events and vacations, and postponed plans and celebrations. However, some creatives have used this time to reevaluate goals and business ventures. It turns out that 2020 may have revealed an unforeseen path that some were meant to go down all along — an opportunity to begin a new adventure.
John Patterson and Jeff Valdez did not know what to expect when they launched their new design company, GLASSplash, in Los Angeles at the end of 2015. For a while, they shared their time between Los Angeles and Santa Fe, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, Patterson and Valdez decided to move their business to Santa Fe. So far, their time in Santa Fe has only reinforced their belief that it was the perfect place to begin a new chapter of their business and lives.
Before GLASSplash, Patterson, a Californian, and Valdez, a Santa Fean, started the design firm, Inspired Living Design, in Los Angeles, in the early 2000s. They were known for their creative vision in kitchen and bathroom remodels and renovations of older homes. On one fortuitous occasion, they were hired to design a studio and remodel the kitchen for artist and family cook, Mark Steven Greenfield. When they incorporated a unique design from the artist onto a see-through glass panel to use as a kitchen backsplash, the idea for GLASSplash was born.
After researching materials and investigating the various methods of printing art on tempered glass, Patterson and Valdez began to build their new company. But before launching it, they determined that their designs and ideas might do well in Santa Fe, a place of art cognoscenti, a place that embraces art. Santa Fe felt right for a pair of designers who wanted to bring unique designs into often ignored spaces, such as kitchens, baths and offices.
In July 2019, they began experimenting with splitting their time between Santa Fe and Los Angeles, delightfully finding a plethora of interested clients, as well as local artists to collaborate with in The City Different. While Patterson was eager to move away from Los Angeles for the first time since 1973, Valdez had never considered settling in Santa Fe again. They had a furnished rental in Santa Fe that was convenient during their back-and-forth trips to Los Angeles, but as soon as they found a cozy house to buy that was several blocks from the Railyard, the transition to Santa Fe became much easier. The house had not been updated since the 1950s, and being no strangers to older homes and renovations, it was a perfect fit for the design duo.
When the pandemic hit in March, they hunkered down in Santa Fe and nested. They soon realized that they might as well consolidate their two homes. In early fall, they went back to Los Angeles to sell the house they thought would be their “forever home,” pack up fifteen years of life in California and open the doors to their new venture in Santa Fe. What could have been a terrible inconvenience turned into a great opportunity in the Land of Enchantment.
The transition took a little time to get used to, but Valdez says they are now happily settled. “We’ve just created our own little oasis here,” he says. “We reinvent and reimagine spaces for other people, and now we get to do that for ourselves.”
In Santa Fe, Patterson and Valdez are looking forward to even more opportunities for collaboration with wonderful people and wonderful local artists. One of those artists is Jonathan Juanico of Acoma Pueblo, who uses traditional Acoma symbols and stories in his digital art. “We’re loving the energy that’s here,” Patterson concludes.
Katerina Barton grew up in Santa Fe and recently received a dual-MA degree from NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Institute in journalism and in European and Mediterranean studies. She is now a freelance writer and journalist in New York City, but the magic of the Southwest still calls to her.