|By: Dee Shedrick|
According to the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive. Designers are very concerned and go to school to make sure that they are knowledgeable and that they maintain and protect the health, safety and welfare of the public at large—and they can receive this training right here at Delgado Community College.
Interior design is a skills-based major where students learn hand drafting, computer animated drafting, hand rendering and computer rendering (rendering is making a two-dimensional image look real by adding light, color and shadow). Interior design courses are referred to as studios instead of classes and students go through what is called studio sequences: studios one, two, three and four. Inside these studios, instructors will lecture and show students how to apply skills; for example, in introductory studio, students learn how to hand draft a floor plan. Afterwards, students have lab or studio time to work on their projects before completing their projects at home. "Students have to produce projects weekly and the outside work load is pretty intense. Students can't wait until the last minute to whip out a project," said Sanders.
Interior design is very similar to architecture. Architects learn the same thing, but they focus on the exterior; interior designers focus on the interior. Just like architects, interior designers use AutoCAD software (AutoCAD is the industry leader in two and three-dimensional CAD design, drafting, and modeling software). Students also use 20-20, Revit and Adobe Photoshop software, art supplies and drafting tools such as T squares, triangles, drafting pens and pencils. And because of this background, many students end up working for architects and architecture firms.
Interior design graduates have many choices to choose from after graduation. They are qualified to do more than just homes. They can design hotels, restaurants, doctor’s and lawyer's offices and even be staff designers at major corporations. "I worked as a commercial designer in a hospital before I came to Delgado," said Sanders. Students can take their degree and go into many adjunct fields, such as staging, event planning, facilities, project or construction management, product sales and real estate development. Graduate Liz Hartman Lawson is a prime example of that diversity.
|Liz Hartman Lawson with her dog Gracie after graduation|
From there she went on to work for Norwalk Furniture, where she sold furniture, accessories and fabric. After that she worked with Wikoff and Mestayer, an architect and design firm. Ed Wikoff was actually one of her professors at Delgado. While at Wikoff and Mestayer, she transferred his hand drawings into CAD drawings. "It was fascinating to see a design from an architect’s point of view. Ed is an extremely talented architect. He taught me a lot at Delgado and it was a pleasure to work with him," said Lawson.
|Living room designed by Liz H. Lawson|
|Master bedroom designed by Liz H. Lawson|
Not only is interior design a creative profession, but it is very intimate as well. Designers have to go into their client's homes or businesses to help them change their living or working environment. "More times than not, my clients become my friends, which says a lot about my business. It is very exciting to go into someone's home or office and transform their dreams with my vision into a dream come true. The expression on my client's faces when they see the finish product, well, it really is an amazing moment. Of course they have been helping to make decisions along the way, but it's just pieces to the puzzle. The joy in their eyes is worth it all in the end. The bottom line is I that love what I do, but the real gift is that I can do what I love, and bring happiness into my client's lives," said Lawson.