Podcast

Nicole Ruffing: Sherwin Williams

Welcome back! Today in The Student Lounge, Trish is joined with Nicole Ruffing, Sherwin Williams designer account executive from Atlanta, Georgia. The two dive into color theory and all Sherwin Williams has to offer for students and design professionals.

Nicole attended the University of Connecticut for political science and began working in construction in Florida before ever attending design school. She happened upon an interior design book which sparked her interest, and she quickly fell in love with the study. Finally, she looked forward to school and assignments!

As a student, she began as a part-time color consultant – giving homeowners color and product recommendations – at Sherwin Williams. She eventually became a store manager, then made her way into color marketing and design. There, she learned about the business aspects that she wasn’t taught in a classroom. Today, Nicole is a designer account executive, providing color tools, resources, and recommendations to clients. She gets to work with designers and make color fun!

The 152-year-old company offers resources for both designers and students through their site. By signing up online, you can receive complimentary paint samples as a professional or student. Events and opportunities for education are always happening at Sherwin Williams, which you can learn more about online.

A student design competition takes place every spring, spanning over about six weeks. There are two contests, residential and commercial. All you must do is submit renderings – hand drawn or digital – with Sherwin Williams colors and a brief description.

When a student graduates, Sherwin Williams will send the full library of their professional tools, including a fan deck, pallet guide, and larger samples. Contact your local designer account executive to receive a free color fan deck today, and listen on for more information about how to access the tools available and find internship opportunities.

Advice:

  1. Always sample a color before choosing one. They look different from room to room, lighting and depending on if it is dry.
  2. Pick paint colors last when working on a project. They have over 1,500 colors, so there is no shortage of what might work for you!
  3. Find an inspiration piece to use with the app, Colorsnap, to match the colors in the piece.

Student Edition: McKenna HecK

Hey everyone! Today in The Student Lounge, Trish is joined with McKenna Heck, a recent graduate and new Minneapolis designer. The two dive into what life is like to be a fresh graduate; from working odd jobs to finding internships, paying attention to numbers, and learning on your own, you have to manage all of this and more as a new designer.

About McKenna

A small town girl from Wisconsin, McKenna attended UW Stout, not far from the Twin Cities. Earning a BFA allowed her to explore drawing, painting, ceramics, and metals, alongside interior design. From the built environment and AutoCAD classes to light construction, the program offered a wide range of courses to have a better understanding of the industry. The hands-on classes broadened her understanding of how things technically function and allowed her to look at design in an artistic context.

During her internship at The Chaise Lounge, McKenna wrote an E-Book, So You’ve Graduated Design School… Now What?!With advice from Top designers from across The States, the book guides you through the steps to take as a new designer.

Life After Design School

Picking up a position at the Dallas National Golf Club the summer after graduating, McKenna had the chance to connect with successful business people who regularly hire designers. Interacting with and getting to know people at the club, she had the opportunity to learn how to communicate with higher-end clientele.

Attending Metrocon, a Dallas design market, she met many designers eager to jump-start her career and mentor her along her journey. Without walking up to strangers and introducing herself, some of the connections she made would never have been possible. Beyond new LinkedIn connections, attending markets helps her stay in the know with regards to the latest trends and products.

An introduction into the industry, McKenna was taught the importance of maintaining a calendar and problem-solving at the last of her internships. No longer in a classroom where she could ask endless questions, McKenna had to transition from school to the working world. Problem-solving and researching solutions on your own is very, very important.

Listen to hear more valuable advice from McKenna and find her on Instagram or LinkedIn!

To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

The Student Lounge Updates

Feedback? Questions or Concerns? Need to connect? Reach us here.

Resources

Visit NEWH Scholarships to learn more about scholarship opportunities.

A big shout-out to Porcelanosa and Benjamin Moore for sponsoring The Student Lounge! Click here to learn more.

Professor Phyllis Harbinger

Today we welcome Phyllis Harbinger, a professor at FIT and Principal designer at Design Concepts Interiors. A mentor as a professor and ASID member, Phyllis has all the advice from design strategies to presentation. Trish and Phyllis talk about the importance of hand drafting and drawing, using color, enhancing your portfolio, and ASID.

Who is Phyllis Harbinger?

Phyllis earned her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in international relations and marketing, then attended FIT after several years working. She is going into her 20th year as a professor of design at her alma mater, FIT. Find her latest book, The Interior Design Productivity Toolbox, for a checklist of all you need to know when being a designer.

Keep Hand Drafting and Drawing

Hand Drafting needs to stay in schooling, says Phyllis. Drawing to scale is critical to being a designer and should be taught with pen and paper, not a computer. More than for your understanding, clients still want the artisan touch that watercolors, hand drawings, and renderings bring. Let drawings assist your entire design process!

Don’t be Afraid of Color

Many can be scared, but feature walls and pops throughout spaces can take projects to the next level. Jamie Drake, The Prince of Color, and Caleb Anderson from Drake/Anderson and Tobi Fairley are known for experimenting with color and don’t use it quietly in designs. For more about color theory, visit The Munsell Color System to look in depth through charts, tests, and videos.

Advice

  • When managing time, always double your budget and leave room for error.
  • Take critiques and record them to learn for the future.
  • Document your work and revise old projects for portfolios.
  • Visit design centers if you can. Seeing things in life is entirely different than through a screen.
  • Most importantly, enjoy the journey! It’s a gift to create every day.

To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

The Student Lounge Updates

Feedback? Questions or Concerns? Need to connect? Reach us here.

Resources

Learn more about Phyllis online at phyllisharbinger.com, on Instagram, and Facebook. Get her book, The Interior Design Productivity Toolbox, on Wylie or Amazon.

Visit NEWH Scholarships to learn more about scholarship opportunities.

A big shout-out to Porcelanosa and Benjamin Moore for sponsoring The Student Lounge! Click here to learn more.

Student Edition: Allison Brown

Hey everyone! On today’s pod Trish chats with Allison Brown from Logan, Utah. Allison is a recent graduate of Utah State University and Manhattan-bound. Trish and Allison talk about finding internships, the power of associations, and facing the fear of attending events.

Allison attended Utah State University where she earned her BID (Bachelor of Interior Design). She’ll soon move to the upper east side of New York to work in midtown and grow her practice even more.

Since the young age of 15, she knew she wanted to practice commercial interior design, so involved herself with USGBC, IIDA, NEWH, and ASID early on. Allison was on the USGBC committee in addition to being the student president of IIDA and the IIDA student of the year. Staying involved with clubs and associations has always given her resources and opportunities to network through competitions and events.

Working small internship positions between freshman and sophomore year allowed her to learn just how fast-paced everything is outside of school. After directly emailing her resume and portfolio everywhere she dreamed of working, Allison got her first internship in Houston with Gensler, designing for retail and restaurants. Now she’s headed to The Big Apple to work full time!

Advice

  • When you think there is no way you might be the one to win a contest or score a job, it could be the opposite. Internships, jobs, and awards won’t come to you or fall from the sky. Dedicating time towards applications is a learning experience and can lead to something great!
  • Showing up to a convention alone and walking up to strangers is nerve-wracking, but knowledge and networking will carry you on. Go out of your comfort zone! Design events bring never ending inspiration and connections, and you’ll never regret going.

To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

The Student Lounge Updates

Feedback? Questions or Concerns? Need to connect? Reach us here.

Resources

A big shout-out to Porcelanosa and Benjamin Moore for sponsoring The Student Lounge! Click here to learn more.

Ryan Ben: IIDA

Hey folks, on today’s pod Trish chats with Ryan Ben of International Interior Design Association (IIDA), in Chicago, Illinois. Ryan, working at IIDA, is the Student Engagement and Advancement Manager. Trish and Ryan get into the importance of joining associations and attending events offered for students who are delving into the industry.

Though Ryan Ben has been living in Chicago Illinois for ten years, he’s originally from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. An enthusiastic reader, triathlete and transitioning towards a plant-based diet, he’s detail-oriented and lives a very scheduled life, to say the least. Switching from studying business to theater, at The University of Pittsburgh, he eventually found his way to the world of design after acting for a time in Chicago. For over seven years he’s been working with volunteers and members of IIDA.

Students frequently are hesitant to spend money on memberships but the gains are incredible. Endless events are offered for students to network and get into the industry through IIDA, alone. Beyond networking and learning, you have the chance to see what the industry looks like, outside of a classroom.

What is IIDA?

From magazines, design news, discounts, receiving a .design domain with a free year of hosting, educational events, and mentoring programs, IIDA is here for YOU! Competitions are open for members and non-members to become involved. The 2019 IIDA Student Competition – based around healthcare design – winning team will receive $2,500. Student Booth Design competition winners will attend Orgatec, in Cologne, Germany in 2020 with the IIDA team, representing their booth. Submissions for this extraordinary opportunity open in the winter of 2019.

How do I get involved?

IIDA students, or those looking to join, can email or call Ryan with any questions from finding internships and jobs to how to become involved with the association. In addition to contacting him, each chapter has highly invested design volunteers always seeking young designers and students to connect with. City Centers and Campus Centers are located all around the world, so find your chapter!

A special, September 1, new students can become involved the rest of this year and next for only $60. Visit here to join online.

If interested, contact Ryan Ben directly at rben@iida.org. Find IIDA at iida.orgtwitter.com/IIDA_HQ, and Instagram.com/IIDA­_HQ.

To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

The Student Lounge Updates

Feedback? Questions or Concerns? Need to connect? Reach us here.

Resources

A big shout-out to Porcelanosa and Benjamin Moore for sponsoring The Student Lounge! Click here to learn more.

Jecks Lea: Persona Abode

Hey folks, on today’s pod Trish chats with Jecks Lea of Persona Abode, based out of London. Jecks, UK Ambassador for VeganDesign.org, is a designer focusing on wellness and humane living. Trish and Jecks get into what it means to design humanely and understanding space.

Though she’s been in London for 12 years, Jecks is originally from North Birmingham. Thanks to The Lego Group, she was inspired early on to be a designer after building homes for dolls. With a degree in accounting, she understands budgets and handles money better. Financial decisions are essential to consider when being a designer, so she’s able to use her first degree today.

Designing for wellness and humane living is the art of figuring out how to enhance ways of life. Certified in vegan design, Jecks designs ethically and with cruelty-free products. Her favorite spaces to design are bedrooms and sitting rooms since they’re designed for comfort and relaxation. Figuring out how to make a client most at ease is her ultimate goal.

From her days of being a student, she found it was beneficial to learn how to draw technically. Taking dimensions and proportions into consideration led to being a better designer, in her opinion. Careful examination of how things will work in space goes into the drafted designs.

Advice

  • Understand yourself. Take time to get to know how and why environments affect ways of life. Seek and understand how designs influence people.
  • Attend industry events and markets to build relationships with the people you’ll one day be working with. Seminars and trade shows you visit as a student are the start of your career. Think in the long term when networking as a student!
  • Embrace living and the world around you!

To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

The Student Lounge Updates

Feedback? Questions or Concerns? Need to connect? Reach us here.

Resources

A big shout-out to Porcelanosa and Benjamin Moore for sponsoring The Student Lounge! Click here to learn more.

Trisha Poole: Design Poole Inc.

Hey everyone, on today’s pod we have Trisha Poole of Design Poole Inc. in Winter Park, Florida. Trisha is a designer, focusing on hotels and resorts, and the president of the Network of Executive Women and Hospitality (NEWH). Here she offers perspective on understanding all aspects of the industry, staying inspired, and explains opportunities for students.

Coming from a long line of teachers, Trisha decided to get involved with NEWH. She jumped on board to mentor women and immerse herself in a learning environment. Working there gives her the opportunity to help others and get involved with assisting with scholarships. From the vice president of marketing, president of local Orlando chapter, now on the executive committee at the international level as president, she helps students become more involved with the hospitality industry.

Based in the college of architecture, at the University of Florida she was able to collaborate with more than only interior designers. She got to know others studying architecture and landscape design and has more knowledge of the entire industry. What brought her to hospitality was the opportunity to work on restaurants, rooms, the public spaces. Although, impacting people’s lives is the biggest reason why Trisha stayed in the industry.

She first worked and was trained by an architect then went on to moonlight for engineers, before starting Design Poole Inc. Learning how to communicate and function well with the other professionals in the industry has been extremely helpful in the long run. She strongly encourages internships for understanding how things work outside of school. Hands on experience made a complete difference for Trisha, rather than sitting in a classroom. Taking advantage of making connections and learning the industry is the best way to learn, in her opinion. Reach out to local chapters of NEWH to get involved and connected!

Reaching out to people, having a great cover letter and expressing your feelings and goals are the best ways to allow potential employers to get to know you. Designers are expressive and visual, with keen attention to details. Your resume and website speak volumes.

If you set no limitations, you allow yourself innovative, creative, and fresh ideas. Staying driven and inspired will carry you through your career, she says. Some of the ways she likes to stay inspired are finding a happy environment with other creative people, looking at everything in a positive way (as a creative challenge), and finding ways to relieve stress like creating a community and laughing together. Dream, and dream big!

To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

The Student Lounge Updates

Feedback? Questions or Concerns? Need to connect? Reach us here.

Resources

A big shout-out to Porcelanosa and Benjamin Moore for sponsoring The Student Lounge! Click here to learn more.

Garrison Hullinger: Garrison Hullinger Interior Design

Hey folks, on today’s pod we have Garrison Hullinger of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design in Portland, Oregon. Garrison is a bold designer with an unconventional path into the industry. Here he offers perspective on getting into the industry, learning from mistakes, and developing a design aesthetic.

Garrison found inspiration early in life. After his father passed away when Garrison was young, his family scraped money together to buy and fix up a house. His uncle was a custom home builder and his dad worked a lot on the side, so he was always dragged to the job site, and his mother was always rearranging furniture and painting the walls. That inspiration for design was always there – and soon enough, friends and family were asking for his advice.

He originally worked in retail for a long time, and then moved to Williams-Sonoma Home in 2007, where he learned all about the guts of furniture. He was encouraged to take his first design project in 2009: a showhouse, during the economic collapse, which he designed and staged. He won all of the awards that year, and that’s how he began his career!

Garrison doesn’t have a traditional career path, and had learn some things the hard way. Many design schools don’t teach you about budgeting and financing, so he was on equal footing in that sense. However, it was hard to network, and he says that he felt like an outsider early on when trying to break into the industry. But his individualistic path has charged his design aesthetic. He takes chances, goes boldly, and expresses himself.

His firm has about thirty employees, just six years after he moved out of his attic! Building that team was really important to Garrison, and he sees his role at the helm as providing guidelines for a cohesive design aesthetic and letting his staff do what they do best. In other words, he provides the narrative that shapes the brand’s design.

One mistake he’s learned the most from: mismeasuring a sectional and ordering an amazing custom fabric from Italy — only to find out he’s short. He put it into the home and realized that it didn’t work, and he had to order a whole new fabric. Lesson learned: work with vendors and walk them through a project. Talk to contractors who have the know-how on whether a project will actually work out. Work with and listen to the experts you employ!

To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

The Student Lounge Updates

Feedback? Questions or Concerns? Need to connect? Reach us here.

Resources

A big shout-out to Porcelanosa and Benjamin Moore for sponsoring The Student Lounge! Click here to learn more.

Laura Stewart: Plinth and Chintz Interior Design Blog

Welcome back! Today in The Student Lounge, Trish chats with Laura Stewart, an interior designer, founder of Plinth and Chintz Interior Design Blog, METROCON manager and chairwoman on the Texas ASID. It’s a great interview with loads of succinct advice from Laura on how to break into the industry as a student or emerging designer.

Laura grew up in a small town in West Texas, and didn’t know a single interior designer when she lived there. As a child she had an affinity for art as well as math and science, and later attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas on an engineering scholarship. She said she was good at engineering, but didn’t love it. After graduation, the economy tanked. To pay the bills, she ended up temping in several office environments and became interested in interior design and architecture – somehow! At night, she put together a portfolio and ended up going back to school at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Afterward she ended up back in Dallas and experimented with hospitality design until she was hired on at a small firm to design workplaces, and she loved it!

 

Advice

  • Early on, Laura learned that she was more of a project manager than a designer, and she’s good with money. That’s helped her in her own career. Laura recommends the Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 to learn about your passions, traits and workplace habits.
  • Go to parties and industry events and network. People like to talk to students at these things because they are optimistic!
  • You’ve got to know yourself in this business. As you get older, it is easier to understand what you can tolerate, what you  love, and the kind of work environment that you can thrive in. Moving forward, learn about how you work and what you actually enjoy.
  • You can learn something at every job! Laura temped at a big corporation, and she got to work in different departments and learn about how business actually works.
  • Learn about products, but also make friends with product reps. These are the people who know who is hiring, who is leaving and who is going where.

To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

The Student Lounge Updates

Feedback? Questions or Concerns? Need to connect? Reach us here.

Our blog is up and running! Head over now to read a really helpful blog from Taylor Coleman on what she wished she had known before design school and graduation.

Resources

A big shout-out to Porcelanosa and Benjamin Moore for sponsoring The Student Lounge! Click here to learn more.

Professor Diane Phillips

Happy Wednesday! Today in The Student Lounge we have Professor Diane T. Phillips from Georgia Southern University, where she is an associate professor of interior design. This is another raw and real interview with an educator looking back on her entire career. Together, Trish and Phillips dive into the most important aspects of a design degree aside from the material value of the degree itself.

About Prof. Phillips

Phillips is currently in her last semester of teaching and will be retiring to experience “new adventures.” In her next phase, she’s continuing to prioritize serving all of Georgia’s communities with her design skills, including nonprofit design on projects like community centers, affordable housing, and heath care clinics in low-income communities. Over her career she’s brought these values into the classroom and wants students to know that affordability is a really important part of design.

She’s been interested in design since she was a little girl, and has undertaken both residential and commercial projects but prefers commercial. In her own career, Professor Phillips emphasizes the importance of talking to clients as much as possible and looking at things from a different frame of reference. For that, she believes travel is crucial; when young designers don’t pay attention to different cultures’ notions of design, inspiration can be hard to come by.

The Real Value of Design School

When hiring, firms look for any kind of real experience: internships, CAD, problem solving, calming down clients, or even working at a paint store or furniture company! You can learn from really any job, and you can spin it however necessary to get you to where you really want to be. Phillips says that firms love to see prospective team members who capitalize on whatever experience they’ve got.

She also gives many tips for critiques: if you must cry, it’s better crying in a school critique than in front of a client – but generally, it’s better to understand that a critique is of your project itself, not you personally! Aside from the actual skills you learn at design school, cultivating a personality that is conducive to criticism is very, very important.

Listen to learn more!

To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

The Student Lounge Updates

Thanks for listening! Look for us every Wednesday wherever you get your podcasts, and don’t forget to subscribe.

Remember, The Student Lounge is as helpful as you want it to be. Click here to get your questions answered on the podcast and connect with us!

Resources

As always, a big shout-out to Porcelanosa and Benjamin Moore for sponsoring The Student Lounge! Click here to learn more.

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