This movie/slideshow features me 1 during the early days of my first job as an interior designer at Ryan & Williams- “the office professionals”, the Buffalo NY designated Haworth dealer at the time. Fresh out of school, I knew I had a lot to learn and I was very shy. The ongoing joke was I did not speak a word that first year. But I was a good listener, worked hard and learned quickly. It wasn’t long before I was tasked with a 350-workstation space planning project. The initial space plan was produced by the architect who designed the building. It was determined that the layout as designed did not fit. The architect did not allow for “panel creep”, the fractions of an inch that add up over a long span of workstations. With few options and little time, I was given the opportunity to come up with a workable plan. I was able to deliver and the client was very happy.
I have been in the business of design for longer than I will admit here. My experience is varied. Furniture dealerships brought a vendor/contractor point of view, banking facilities department as the end user/client, architectural firms where I gained great knowledge of construction and of course interior design.
The interior design profession is often romanticized in film and literature and many people remark to me that it must be fun to do what I do and I do enjoy it. Selecting colors, furniture and artwork is probably what most view as the “fun” part. In addition, an understanding of construction is at the top of the list. We also must have a broad familiarity with mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and telecommunications technology. The ability to interpret and apply an expansive range of codes applicable to our designs and specifications including all local and state building, fire, life safety and health codes, ADA guidelines and environmental impact is part of the day to day design process. The documentation is detailed, tedious and necessary.
We are responsible for monitoring our client’s established budget through the life of a project, making recommendations, including review of competitive bid results and contractor’s payment application submissions for possible discrepancies, errors and/or omissions.
We are legally responsible for our work and Professional Liability Insurance is a required expense and as you probably guessed, it is not inexpensive.
NCIDQ stands for The National Council for Interior Design Qualification. This organization is responsible for the formulation and administration of the qualifying examination for all interior designers. The successful completion of this exam is a requirement to become a New York State Certified (CID) Interior Designer meeting the requirements prescribed by law to practice interior design in New York state.
I do not test well and will never forget my first NCIDQ exam experience. With little time left the proctor passed by and said, “that’s a nice blank sheet of paper”. Of course, I did not pass. The proctor’s statement sticks in my mind to this day and happily it motivated me to try again. The second time, I successfully completed and passed the exam. I am a New York State Certified Interior Designer and the owner of a Woman Owned Business Enterprise.
I am fortunate to have worked with great clients, both end users and as a sub-consultant to architects. I am selective in project type and work with people that have a strong appreciation for the interior designer’s role. A sense of humor is a big plus also.
The tangible is usually the focus, but the intangible is most important. Creating an environment that reflects a compelling culture that produces a positive influence on employee recruitment, employee retention and customer satisfaction. The end result of any design leaves a lasting impression for a very long time and it is our responsibility to provide excellent, professional design services to our clients. That’s what keeps them coming back!
My last word today on the subject of design is COMMUNICATE OFTEN, it is key to the success of a project and….keep smiling!
1- In the first image you will see I am wearing jeans, a rare occurrence. The business was located at 82 Pearl Street in a 4-story building, former home of C.H.Utley Piano and soon to be apartments today. The office supply inventory was located on the 3rd floor and the furniture on the 4th floor. It is evening and we are sitting on the 2nd floor showroom “chair bar” taking a break from our yearly task of inventory. I was in charge of furniture and it was quite dusty on the 4th floor!
Photos: long lost then found…courtesy of the Martin J. Murrett family.