Alumni Spotlight is an ongoing blog series that features interviews with a variety of Darlington alumni about their careers and the impact their Darlington experience had on their lives.
This week, I am excited to share a Q&A with Jonathan Gilreath-Harvey ('07).
Jonathan is an interior designer who has his own firm, Table Manors, Inc. He is opening a new shop in Rome this fall to grow his business and help serve his clients.
Were you a day or boarding student? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Rome, Ga. and was a day student.
Where did you attend college?
I attended Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga. where I majored in Interior Design and Historic Preservation. Savannah is the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States this was one of the main factors why I choose SCAD which provided ample inspiration as I was attending.
How did Darlington prepare you for college and the professional world?
Attending Darlington set me up for success in college by teaching me to work hard and go beyond what was expected of me. When I got to college, I was far ahead of many other students in my skill set because of Darlington’s rigorous curriculum. I found that many of my peers had never done large projects like research papers, while I had been writing them for most of my school career, making it like second nature to me. It also meant that my professors expected more of me. These higher expectations caused me to take great pride in the work I turned in while there. Also, now in my professional life, the expectations are very high for the level of work I present to my clients and I still hold myself to the Darlington standard of work.
What was my career path after graduating for Darlington?
After graduating from SCAD I went on to work for the largest corporate design firm in the southeast for nearly seven years. There I began specializing in residential interiors and worked in dozens of homes in the greater Chattanooga area. Interior design is a career that allows me to display my creativity while having to listen to the homeowners I work with. Every project is a collaboration of a client’s final dream and my ability to bring that dream or idea to life. Each new home brings with it a new adventure and a new skill. This business is a revolving door of trends and color schemes which keeps it new and exciting with every year!
What is your greatest career accomplishment?
In 2017, I began my own interior design and lifestyle brand, Table Manors, Inc. This has been the main goal from the beginning and came to fruition due to the great support of family, friends and clients. What started as a very large change from the safety of an already established firm has quickly become the greatest leap of my life. I began working from home and have already outgrown the first retail location. In the fall we will be opening in a larger boutique space in Rome where we will be a full service interior design company that can set a table or start from scratch in a new home.
What ways have you applied Darlington's motto to your life?
“Wisdom more than knowledge” applies to every aspect of my career. I have great knowledge of design and color theory, but without the wisdom to discern these facts and ideas they are not usable tools. I am able to choose the patterns and placement of furnishings in a home by combining several different design elements with ease because of the wisdom I possess in the field.
“Service beyond Self” means going above and beyond to help others. I believe that every small act of kindness adds up to a more fulfilled life. Offering my time to volunteer my services to a non-profit can make a big difference in our community. Serving the community you live in is the beginning effort to serving the rest of the world. I feel that if enough people in every community were willing to donation their time or their resources, the world could be a totally different place.
“Honor above Everything” is most applicable to my personal beliefs. I feel that it is very important to maintain personal integrity in every aspect of your life. Being seen as a respectable and honest person is of utmost importance to me not only as a business owner, but as a friend, among other things.
What do you hope for the future of Darlington and its students?
I hope that the students of Darlington continue to dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams. I hope that throughout their careers as students they take full advantage of the resources they are being provided and put them to good use. I hope that they never forget how fortunate they are to be in school with such high esteem that is providing them with all the tools necessary to succeed in college and beyond. I hope they go on to make a difference in the world and communities they live in.
Why do you give back to Darlington?
I donate and volunteer at Darlington because it is where my career began. I am hopeful that I can influence other students to pursue dreams that may sound too big or even too scary. I give back because “Service beyond Self” stuck with me as an adult and I will never forget that! Darlington is a large part of my community and volunteering allows me to influence the youth of my community because they are the future! Even if I only make a difference to one student, that student could change the world.