'I somehow got it into my head that I'd make my own money.'
GUIDING LIGHT: Evelyn Audet's lighting firm has found its place in a male-dominated industry of residential and commercial construction.
PBN PHOTO/DAVID LEVESQUE
By Rebecca Keister PBN Staff Writer
Lighting a home – or any space, really – is a tricky business. Such design work involves careful and intricate planning, establishment of sourcing, careful product selection and, finally, decoration that celebrates a job done well.
Much of the same could be said about East Providence businesswoman Evelyn Audet’s career.
“It was really a dream. I thought [for] my ideal job that I would have an office in a house and [have] something that I created and then I would drive to the city and present my work and get paid for it,” Audet said. “I’ve created that. And it’s a marvelous situation.”
Audet owns Evelyn Audet Lighting Design, which she runs on the third floor of her 125-year-old home. The company recently was selected by the Public Broadcasting Service’s “This Old House” as the design firm for its remodel of Barrington residents Geoffrey Allen and Michelle Forcier’s beachfront home.
If that’s her decorative moment or, as she calls it, her “icing on the cake,” it’s been earned over 25 years of establishing herself as a respected veteran in the male-dominated industry of residential and commercial construction.
Audet, 54, grew up in Westport, Mass., knowing from an early age that she was meant to work creatively.
During her junior year in high school, she entered the Massachusetts Junior Miss pageant and presented an interior-design project as her “talent” for that portion of the competition.
“I wasn’t extremely talented in music or dance or anything,” she said. “I always wanted to do something in design. I’ve always had an interest in making stuff.”
After high school, she took a job in data entry but three months in realized it wasn’t for her. She then enrolled in Bristol Community College and earned an associate degree in fine arts in 1980.
Accepted to the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, she moved to the city for a short time but discomfort there led her back near home – and back to the corporate world, which she once again found unsatisfying.