For the last 25 years I have had my own Architectural Practice. My creative nature has helped realise people’s dreams for their homes and my ability to listen and connect with people has helped me to understand their needs.
When I left school, financially I was unable to study so I worked as an Accounts Assistant while I studied Interior Design through Correspondence.
I then got a job as a Junior Draughtswoman working for four combined companies drawing plans for Pre-cast Walls, Garages and Low-cost housing. I was dumped in the deep-end, with the lady who was meant to train me – giving me a plan and saying “just copy that!”… I found her drawing pens clogged with ink from years of un-use (she opted to draw in pencil) and after soaking them for days in soapy water to unclog them and together with her stencils, I was determined to draw plans that I would be proud of. (A trait that my Father instilled in me –“always give of your best” are words he has always encouraged me with).
After a while I was offered a job at a Building Design Firm and later with an Architect where my knowledge grew as I started designing and drawing houses, factories, swimming pools, etc.
But, my goal was to work for myself. So at 21 years old that is what I did. With much determination and courage… I have had my share of challenges over the past 25 years that have forced me out of my comfort zones. I have had to register with the South African Council of Architects to obtain a Professional Drawing number and after submitting a portfolio of my work I was classified as a Professional Architectural Technologist. Keeping up with current trends and attending courses to retain my Professional drawing number yearly, which by law is needed to obtain approval of building plans by the Municipalities, has not been easy and of course constantly having to learn and implement the new regulations enforced by the government.
One of the things that I love about my work is the days that I spend on site. I love being outdoors and the simplest things bring me such joy. I find myself, as I am walking around a person’s property, speaking out aloud to a chirping bird, a butterfly or an animal – not caring who hears me – I connect with them as I feel such an overwhelming feeling of peace and joy in my soul.
Memories are important to me and I love documenting them by writing, scrapbooking and especially by capturing them through my camera lenses. I see a photographic opportunity every day and have a dream of travelling across a country like the USA or Europe, with no time constraints, as I photograph anything and everything that inspires me – from my love of animals, to architecture, especially old bridges and buildings, to capturing a moment in a person’s life.
I love the sea and find such solace on the beach and my love for the sky has been something within me since I was a child floating on a tube in a swimming pool watching the clouds. The sky in every form, from its intense blue, to a sunrise and sunset, to the marvel of a starry night have affected me in so many ways. I have done everything possible to be in the sky – I have paraglided, parachuted, floated in a hot air balloon, been in a microlight, a gyrocopter and a helicopter. But my greatest achievement and most exciting time of my life was when I was learning to fly a two seater light air-craft. So naturally when my beautiful daughter was born she had to be named, Skye.
I am a passionate, creative, crazy fun person who has been blessed with a daughter who shares my zest for life, my love for animals, the sea, nature and photography. We are both strong individuals who pride ourselves in “standing out” – not being a “sheep” but being true to ourselves and our beliefs.
I am a Woman of Worth and I am blessed with the precious knowledge that I am never alone as I have my Father in Heaven to guide me through this mortal existence.
Contact Charlene at CAM designs
An Architectural Design Business – from design to Municipality Approval!
Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal