SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Nixa woman has left the corporate world to start her own business during the pandemic.

Maria Cass said she never used to be a risk-taker until she was furloughed from her job in March and laid off in October. Cass is now the founder and managing principal of Intrinsic Homes.

“The final decision was made I was going to pursue a Scandinavian modern,” said Cass, discussing her latest project. “Very streamlined and functional, kind of the concept of that. It’s pretty much all black and graphite on the exterior, so you’re going to notice.”

With an emphasis on creating a new wave of women in construction and supporting local artists, Cass opened Intrinsic Homes, a home building and design business. She is currently working on her first home.

“I want to do three special moments within a home,” said Cass. “I think in this home I’m going to have a local painter do somewhat of an ink or watercolor and create that into a wall covering that we used to do that in the hospitality industry from the printer. And then having someone do a blown or stained glass light fixture.”

Cass said changing careers in the middle of a pandemic isn’t easy because you have to build a business and design a home over the phone.

“Getting the depth of that knowledge, but having do it on Zoom,” said Cass. “Continuing education on my computer instead of in a class where I can ask questions. I think there is something with face to face contact with people, being able to talk to someone in person is extremely helpful, and I think that hindered things a little bit, but again everyone’s been so supportive, I can’t complain.”

Cass said she hopes to have the home finished in May, 2021.