The lovely lady from English-Rose-Darlingg left me a comment yesterday asking about being an interior designer - how did I get here, what do I do everyday etc. I started writing her back and realized it could make for an interesting post. Interesting if you're interested in being an interior designer. Otherwise you may want to stop reading now because it will be loooong and probably turn into a rant of some sort about my angst against decorators (Will Ferrell shout out coming: once again I'm going to recommend our viewers watch something else. That being said...)
How I got here:
When I was young I had a thing for floorplans. I remember asking for graph paper and architectural stencils for Christmas. I loved to draw these elaborate plans of homes and buildings - it was like a puzzle, placing each room and thinking about the windows, doors and furniture. I also loved to think about the colors in these imaginary spaces. Thank god for my patient parents because my other obsession was my bedroom. I rearranged my furniture, covered my walls, uncovered them, covered my furniture, rearranged my furniture, put up art, took it down, rearranged the furniture. I told everyone that I was going to be an architect when I grew up..
In high school I decided to take a drafting course, it was me and 13 guys (preview to my typical meetings) and I hated drafting. You will see the irony in this in a few paragraphs. Bless my drafting teacher's heart, he basically taught me that architecture was the least creative thing I could ever do (its not.) I abandoned my childhood direction and entered college as a graphic design major..
Somewhere in my freshman year I met an interior design student and began to realize that there was this magical career where people laid out rooms like puzzles and studied color and loved art. I changed majors that summer. I spent four years finishing my degree (standard for accredited schools.) For those considering it, know that it is a time consuming major. I was occasionally jealous of my roommates and their seemingly endless amounts of freetime while I spent late nights in the studio building models and drafting - but I loved it..
My program was almost completely focused on commercial interior design - in four years we did one residential project. Which brings me to a quick sidenote. There is a big - huge - difference between commercial interior design and residential interior design. And there is an even bigger difference between interior designers and interior decorators. I do not do living rooms. I do not want to help you with yours. I do not do trinkets. I think basically every 'interior design' show on HGTV/TLC/Bravo etc is kind of bologna. My college counselor used to tell incoming students that if you like the show 'Trading Spaces' this major is not for you. This doesn't mean I don't appreciate awesome residential design though!.
What I do:
I won't say exactly what I do because well ...because. I work on large public spaces. I spend an enormous amount of time drafting on the computer (see that irony?) I also work on finishes - selecting carpet, counters etc. I learn about fire codes and handicap codes and safety codes. I think there is a large disconnect between what tv tells us interior designers are and what reality is. You never see the characters on 'Design Star' stressing about turnaround radius in the bathroom do you?.
So English-Rose-Darlingg I hope I have not totally crushed your dreams - I'm just being honest about my experience in my path of interior design. You should find a residential interior designer and talk to them as well to see another side of things. I definitely recommend you call up local interior design and architecture firms (both residential and commercial) and ask if you could come tour their office and sit with a designer for a few hours. We have students do that all the time and its a great way to really see what the career is like and how many different options are out there..
I like what I do. The end.
The top image is the title of an article about Florence Knoll. The rest of the images are lovingly borrowed from the internet...