Life is full of adventure. Mark, Paul & Kelly have had their fair share, but none so great, none so daunting and certainly, none as thrilling as the creation of INNOVATE Architecture & Interiors. Mark and Paul’s shared adventure began early in their lives as their parents and grandparents were friends before their births. They grew up together, went to college together (Go Hokies!) and subsequently worked together at Williams Tazewell. They continued to be friends outside of work and were in each other’s weddings. When Williams Tazewell was acquired by the TAF Group, Mark and Paul continued to market and design as a team and both actively participated in the hiring of new staff. It was during this time that their duo became a trio. Mark and Paul hired Kelly as a college graduate (Go Hoos!) and the three became forever a team when a TAF Group fire forced them to work out of Mark’s house for several weeks. If only they’d known then what lay ahead. Wanting different challenges and a change in work environment, the three resigned from TAF and went to work for another local firm. Mark, Paul, and their families participated in Kelly’s wedding and the families were forever linked. The three of them spent 9 ½ years working, growing and learning in their new positions. Many notable projects were created and executed under their design and management purview. The size and complexity of the projects grew and with each success, the desire for the next adventure grew as well. INNOVATE Architecture & Interiors became a reality when Mark, Paul and Kelly, peering into an empty storefront, began to realize that this was their ultimate dream and above all else the adventure of a lifetime. Soon, the three found themselves back in Mark’s house working on folding tables and working with a ‘zip drive’ network. The server arrived and so did the opportunity for their first office. It was small, ‘quaint’ (meaning it needed work) and came to be known as the BBT (Big Brown Turd). The three were able to hire their first employees while at the BBT and often wonder how they were able to secure such great people with only their enthusiasm and passion to create great work. A mere seven months later the trio and their group of employees moved into a beautiful, architectural gem in Olde Towne Portsmouth. The 1891 schoolhouse’s character and charm meant that Mark and Paul would have a hard time talking Kelly into anything else. Quite honestly, all of them fell in love with the building and the potential for their young firm to grown within the historic walls. The firm now stands as a thriving group of enthusiastic individuals each dedicated to making every project great and working to exceed expectations daily. Mark, Paul and Kelly continue to embrace each new challenge, strive to find the magic for each project and push themselves and their team to be the absolute best. Their adventure continues…

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