Inspired to Design - A Brief History of Jake Neidlinger


I was one of the lucky few that knew from an early age what I wanted to do with my life, and it always involved homes in some capacity. I was constantly drawing as a kid, creating these imaginative story lines, and building spaces out of Legos; my creativity knew no bounds and was constantly thinking of the next out-of-the-box idea. My biggest dream as a kid, and even to this day, is to build my own home. It was such a fun childhood, and I think it gave me solid footing to know that creativity is needed in this world on so many levels. Naturally as I grew older, my mind became curious of how things came to be, how things were built, why they were built that way, and how things worked in harmony with one another; it made me naturally start to ask the question “why?” Why these materials? Why this shape? Why those windows? Why these colors? Why is this space utilized for this purpose as opposed to another? Why, why, why… Sure, maybe it’s a little portion of my childhood curiosity I am still holding on to, but its become this analytical approach to seeing things and trying to understand more of these things that now, I never want to lose it. My foundation in life is molded from curiosity and creativity and what those things combined can create physically, mentally, and emotionally.


My passion started in architecture because I wanted to build homes for the longest time, which seemed to educationally lean more toward commercial practices rather than residential. My dream to work on homes evolved from architecture to interior design once I decided I would be attending Indiana University; luckily, I found a lot of crossover between the two career outlets. It was from there that I really found a passion for what the interior of a space can be and what it can do to its users.

Commercially, we want the end user to experience something, but not live in it; the design should be implementing function over form and inspiring as many as possible to work productively in that practice. It can be boundless the number of creative experiences designers can bring to a public space, but the result is trying to design something modern that every one of the end users will benefit from which can be tricky.

Residentially, we want to design a space that is going to be affecting a much more limited number of end users every day. We are wanting to design a space for a specific & unique end user, where the styling and design is almost always different between projects; the function and form of a space can vary from end user to end user, whether it’s an open floor plan, a closed floor plan, or a mix of both. Everybody utilizes their space uniquely and has different needs for their home.


I think this is where I find the most rewarding work in the design field- being able to perfectly design a home for its end user. Being able to capture what a couple of picky clients, and rightfully so, want their home to be and function as can be extremely difficult as you are usually having to bridge the gap between styles and materials of each end user and what the home is wanting to be.

Each opinion, each material, each emotion, and each style becomes a puzzle piece, and I have the unique pleasure of putting together that sometimes complicated puzzle. Residential design can often feel like a daunting task for the everyday person because it involves so much intertwined detail, so much that its often overwhelming for the end user to handle on their own. As a designer, I often find my job to be about limiting all of these options out there in the world and streamlining those things to fit into a single vision for the space.

As I continue discovering more about the design world, I am constantly finding new senses of inspiration, whether it’s from the built environment around me, the new and multifaceted material uses of products, and the natural environment around me. I am someone who wants to utilize as much of the outside world, with its beautiful plants, lighting, and colorways, inside to connect you and your interior space to what’s going on in the world around you. I am always asking myself what connections are being made in this space, and through what mediums; mixing those mediums is the most interestingly experimental process I could think of enjoying, from the finishes to the furniture to the uses of each.

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Furniture is one of those things that has been a very big interest of mine now for a while as it is so multi-dimensional in what purposes it serves, so varied in its material uses, and so unique in how its shaped. I am inspired by how we use furniture, and exploring those uses through aesthetics and function; I am so inspired & curious about furniture that it’s become a small dream to design my own collection one day.

We’ll so how these design dreams pan out, but for now, I am going to enjoy all the opportunities and challenges this field is going to bring my way. I can only hope that it continues to fuel my passion to be as creative and curious as I can be, and that it continues to be as rewarding as it has been thus far.



By: Jake Neidlinger, Staff Designer