Tom Froning graduated with an industrial design degree from the University of Cincinnati, and soon after, he traveled to Lopez Island. He put his degree and experience with small remodels for friends to use by helping his family convert a three car garage into an attractive waterfront getaway. Here, he vacationed with his family for many years before calling Lopez home. The island lifestyle and the spirit of helping others remained with Tom as he developed his design career.
He journeyed to Portland, Ore. to begin working for Ziba Design, a promising new firm. While there, Tom was recognized for his unique and user-friendly designs, receiving numerous awards; namely, the Design Excellence Award given by the Industrial Design Society of America. Working with large international companies, Tom began to question the corporate mentality of mass consumerism; specifically, the obsolescence as opposed to long-term use of products and their environmental impact. He searched for another way and found Friends of Opal Creek, a nonprofit organization working to protect a 35,000-acre watershed on the west slope of the Oregon Cascades. Tom was instrumental in forming what is now the Opal Creek Education Center. He spent seven years as facilities’ manager, restoring historical cabins that are still in use today.
Never forgetting the islands, Tom and his newly married wife, Stephanie, decided to begin their life together on Lopez. For the past 14 years, Tom has been designing and building homes for island residents. His company, Soundesign, combines his two passions by providing complete design-build services, from concept to permitting to construction. As a designer, he enjoys facilitating the refinement of the client’s idea; as a builder, he acts as a conduit of the design, helping shape the form, making sure all the functions connect to bring together a space that one would call home.
Tom spends his free time on his farm, Sweet Acres, keeping bees, growing a garden and truly appreciating the natural beauty of the islands with his wife and son. To learn more about Soundesign please visit the website, www. soundesignli.com.