In 2021, I decided to enroll in the Associate in Science (AS) program through Florida State College at Jacksonville. The program uses a balance of theory, practical hands-on training, and real-life experience to provide the foundation for competencies in all phases of interior design. The program’s comprehensive content provided a well-rounded foundation in interior design, which has become instrumental in helping me approach client projects with precision and expertise.
The course content included:
- The characteristics and performance of textiles
- Computer-aided drafting skills
- Space-planning skills
- Furniture and accessory arrangement
- Hand drawing
- Rendering and color selection
- Presentation skills
The degree culminated with a professional internship during the last term, solidifying the theoretical knowledge I gained throughout the course, which I was honored to complete with local interior designer Jodi Schoenfeld and her staff at FL Interior Design Solutions (IDS).
The college experience 2.0
Returning to school as a “mature” student brought a newfound passion and direction to my studies. Having a background in real estate and custom home building and renovations lent a distinctive perspective to the learning process as I was able to apply what I was learning to what I do on a day-to-day basis.
Beyond academics, the program reignited my connection with the design community. Engaging with local businesses and interviewing seasoned designers provided invaluable insights into the industry.
Two years to the month, I completed the course with straight As in every class—a testament to the dedication and passion that fueled this journey.
Immediate impact on my career
With my Interior Design Technology (AS) degree, I’m now able to bring a wealth of expertise that directly benefits our custom home building and renovation clients at John Merrill Homes. While clients have always sought my design advice, the program has transformed my approach. Now, I delve deeper, ask more questions, and focus on the intricacies of each project. My input encompasses not just decoration and finishes, but also space planning, floor layouts, and hand-drafting. I understand how to make the most of every square foot, ensuring that rooms are aesthetically pleasing and highly practical. This attention to detail translates to homes that not only look stunning but also function effortlessly, meeting the unique needs and lifestyles of each client.
Beyond technical proficiency, my training also allows me to provide highly personalized design advice. I can consider each client’s unique preferences and lifestyles, tailoring the design to suit their needs. Every project truly reflects the client’s taste and style.
In addition to the degree, I also achieved a Technical Certificate in Staging, which seamlessly integrates with my real estate career and past staging experience.
… And on my own home
My own home underwent a transformation as well. Assignments had me reimagining rooms, rearranging furniture, adding new elements, and shifting the entire ambiance of our living spaces as a result.
The future of custom build interior design
Looking ahead, I’m eager to delve deeper into computer-aided design tools like AutoCAD and Revit. The goal is to continually refine my skills and leverage technology to enhance our services.
I’m also committed to staying updated with the latest industry trends and best practices. This means I can introduce our clients to the latest materials, finishes, and design concepts, helping them create spaces that feel current and timeless. My ongoing education and skill development ensure that John Merrill Homes remains at the forefront of the industry, consistently delivering exceptional results.
Although it was tough to balance my responsibilities at times, I am so glad I decided to pursue this path for myself. This degree significantly elevates the level of expertise and service that we can offer to our custom home build and renovation clients. I’m looking forward to using my newfound technical proficiency to help clients turn their dreams into functional, beautiful spaces tailored to their unique visions.