After enduring cold, snowy winters studying in upstate New York and endless sunny days working in Los Angeles, Mary has since settled into Portland life, where she is more than happy to don her rain gear and bike around town.

Mary contributes her technical savvy and design eye to everything our office does, from commercial renovations to custom homes. When she’s not answering the latest Revit question, she’s playing with her baby daughter or seeking out delectable vegan treats. Find out more about Mary below

Name & Title at Emerick Architects

Mary Seed – Project Architect

What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on at Emerick? Why?

This is tough. I would probably say the Portland Heights Residence. We ran into a few snags, and it got delayed a few times, but in the end, everyone was happy and it was really amazing. It was an extensive basement remodel that was such a huge transformation from what was there, it was truly unrecognizable. The clients were so positive and easy to work with. We ended up remodeling their primary suite shortly after the basement was completed, and that was also a beautiful transformation.

What’s your favorite thing about being an architect?

I learn something new every single day. No project is the same, even if it seems that way upon first glance. I also get to design on so many scales, a building façade or a trim detail on a cabinet. I absolutely love problem solving, and I get bored easily, so this is really an ideal profession. There is never a dull moment, for better or worse.

Why did you become an architect? Was it something you always wanted to do?

Typical story you often hear, I loved Lego, Erector, etc. I also loved art and math, so it seemed like the right subject to study in college. Believe it or not, before applying to architecture school, I had no idea what I was getting into. It sounded cool, but I had never met an architect and I didn’t even know who Frank Lloyd Wright was! Sort of embarrassing to admit, but the internet wasn’t really what it is now, so I just picked a fun sounding major and hope for the best. It worked out perfectly. To this day I have no idea what else I would have done.

What’s one type of project you’ve never worked on but would like to?

Maybe a restaurant or bar. Or a tiny house. Very Portland things now that I think of it.

What’s the first thing you would buy for yourself if you won the lottery?

A plot of land to design my dream house. I have no idea where it would be, but I think every architect’s dream is to design their own home.

What’s the next place you would like to travel to?

A few years ago my husband and I started planning a trip to Portugal. We bought a travel book and started picking out which cities to visit. We decided to buy a house that year, which ate up all our savings. The following year we had a baby, so needless to say, it’s been a long time since we’ve traveled. I would still love to go to Portugal, but after the past few years I think I would probably pick a tropical beach somewhere with nothing to do but watch the waves and read mystery novels.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Feed my cat. The second I open the bedroom door she won’t stop meowing until she’s fed. It’s annoying!

What’s your spirit animal?

Probably a house cat. I would love to take naps in the sun all day. I wouldn’t be as annoying as my cat though, I would patiently wait to be fed.

If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Buffalo Soy Curl Rice Bowl from Sweet Hereafter.

Beach or mountains?


What’s the number one place you recommend to eat in Portland?

Sweet Hereafter or Double Dragon. Both have amazing food and fun atmospheres.

What’s one thing you think everyone should try in their lives?

Travel to other countries. It can be hard to do because it can be expensive, takes a lot of time, etc. but learning about life through other cultures and people is such an important thing to do in life.

How do you relax after a long day at work?

I have a two-year-old, so that doesn’t happen.

Bike or car?

Bike! I hate driving and traffic. I’m an avid bike commuter.

Favorite curse word.

Uh oh. I have a toddler so I’m trying to eliminate that sort of language from my vocabulary, but I’m from Massachusetts so it comes naturally. Ever since watching The Last Man on Earth though, I started saying “Oh Farts” which is not as dirty and kind of hilarious.

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