Meet Sharon Exley

As Architecture Is Fun designer, Sharon’s focus is on public space, play, and participation. She trusts in stuff she finds: art, curiosities and décor that add Beauty and delight. And as a maker, she’s launching Born In Brooklyn aka BIB, bringing family-friendly Happy Face Stools to home, school or library. Sharon is also an organizer for Pecha Kucha Chicago and the force behind Fun Finders.


What do you suck at?
I totally suck at hiding my “finds”. When my purchases are “found” out, my stock answer is “it was on sale”. I’m especially good at finding and procuring so this shopping scenario happens a lot. Thankfully, there’s more laughter than lecture.

What gets you through a rough day?
Like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a recent calamitous day had me checking my watch for the proper cocktail hour. I made it all the way to six PM! Current cures found on our bar for good and seriously bad Alexander-like days include: Bulleit Bourbon, underrated except by me, Patron Silver Tequila with a John Varvatos guitar bottle stopper, and the seriously simple yet lethal Death’s Door Gin. 

My biggest mood changer is curating my cocktail choice. Vintage Sottsass tall rock glass or straight shot in a George Briard Name Your Poison glass? Straight up with whiskey stones? Vesper-inspired gin martini, shaken, not stirred? When Alexander hits drinking age, his grumpy days should wind down, like mine, by design. Here’s to good spirits! Cheers!

What is the world missing?
Beauty with a capital B.

What do you geek out about?
I geek out about being an insatiable collector. Right now, I’ve been geeking out about Brutalist jewelry on eBay, Etsy and Canadian jewelry sites. Like many Brutalist buildings disappearing from our landscape, Brutalist jewelry may be something many can’t wrap their heads around – is it garish? Is it cold? Is it worth saving? Worth wearing? Is it the biggest statement you can make?

As geeking out, for me, revolves around design and designed-objects, I may be obsessively intrigued by Pantone’s colors of the year or carpet tile that aren’t square. OMOs (objects of my obsession) worthy of geeking out about include vintage or architect-designed writing pens, chairs, and lipsticks – you have to be geeking out about NARS.

Biggest geek out of all time? Limited edition artist skateboards and skateboarding as a culture. That’s a long-running geek out, as the 13 year-old me thought she was a pretty bad ass skateboarder…

Who is your favorite character?
I have always loved Tinkerbell! She’s shines! She’s complex and the epitome of cute. I relate to that. You’re little. You’re cute. But in my reality, Tinkerbell is fiercely independent. She’s feisty. She’s hot tempered. She’s passionate.
Tinkerbell has seriously badass style – she’s a fashionista with her pear shape, strapless mini, and those wings! Who doesn’t want wings? Not to mention, Tinkerbell is loyal and a problem-solver – a fixer. Plus, fairies and childhood belong together. Even Wendy has to own up that “there oughta be a fairy for every girl and boy.”  I love that. Best of all is that Tinkerbell trusts in the STUFF! And as for Peter Pan, he fesses up. “Don’t you understand,Tink? You mean more to me than anything in this whole world!” Magical stuff.

Want more? Visit her website or perhaps this one? or maybe this one? Yeah…she’s a busy lady! 

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