By Kathy Day
Molly Proul knows what it’s like to change jobs. Each time that she’s made a change, she’s taken what she learned and applied the lessons to the next position.
Now the Del Mar interior architect/designer, wife, mother and Del Mar Heights Elementary School PTA president is about to put another notch in her belt. Having opened MMP Design Solutions and getting it on the road to success, she’s now preparing to open a home décor store at 1228 Camino del Mar in Del Mar. Set for a spring opening, MMP Home will feature accessories of all types, as well as its own furniture line that will be made in San Diego.
While owning a full-service design firm specializing in interior and exterior design was her ultimate career goal, it took a few steps along the way to get there.
“As a woman, there really is a glass ceiling,” Proul said. “You can’t just go to work. You have to be a good wife, a good mother, part of the school and keep your health.”
She’s done all of the above, including faced down post-partum depression and her husband’s brain surgery this past August.
“Life hits you,” she said. “It’s how you deal with life and it’s challenges. Don’t give up. Surround yourself with intelligent people with integrity.”
A native of Newport Beach, she grew up on the water, sailing and teaching the sport she and her husband Eric still enjoy. The couple knew each other “as little kids … we didn’t like each other,” she said. But when she went to work for him at Balboa Yacht Club, they fell in love, spending their first date on a boat in the summer’s weekly Beer Can race series. It ended with a kiss; on New Year’s Eve they celebrated their 19th anniversary.
They attended the University of Southern California, where she studied photography and film. She dropped out after they married, and he graduated in electrical engineering.
“My dad was a lawyer and I thought he should be a lawyer, so I signed him up for the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test),” Proul said with a chuckle. He was accepted to the University of San Diego School of Law.
Meanwhile, she tried to figure out what she wanted to do, eventually settling in as a teacher’s aide at La Jolla Elementary School. But to get that job she had to be a student, so she enrolled in meteorology and interior design/architecture classes at Mesa College.
“I got a ‘D’ in meteorology and an ‘A-plus’ in the design class,” she said, adding that her teacher encouraged her to get an internship.
With Ross Theile’s studio near the elementary school, she mustered up her courage and asked for a spot.
“Elizabeth Theile hired me and taught me,” she said. “Mr. Theile told me, ‘Don’t call a couch a couch. It’s a sofa. And things are not cheap – they are inexpensive. … They are beautiful, classy people with amazing taste.”