Podcast

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.

Catherine Hersacher: Bespoke Fine Interiors

Welcome back! Today on The Student Lounge Trish speaks with Catherine Hersacher of Bespoke Fine Interiors in sunny South Carolina. It’s a real, raw, and brutally honest interview that dives into challenges of a career in interior design. This one is not to be missed.

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Trish in Spain

On Episode 2 of The Student Lounge, Nick interviews Trish in Madrid, Spain, while the two bombed around the Iberian with the incredible Chaise Lounge sponsor Porcelanosa. Trish won herself a spot on the Porcelanosa tour through Spain that featured their sleek showroom. She calls the trip “the experience of a lifetime.”

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Getting to Know The Team

Welcome to The Student Lounge! On our very first episode, Trish sits down with The Chaise Lounge founder Nick May to talk about why he co-founded this podcast and why it will be so useful for students. Spoiler alert: we want students to understand the industry and what it has to offer and also connect people with designers and brands.

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