Interior Design: A Tribute

People always ask.. why interior design? Well, here's my story. 

Meraki (n.) The soul, love, or creativity put into something; the essence of yourself that you put into your work.

                It was the first day of design school, a blistering hot summer afternoon in August. While all my friends were at the beach enjoying their post-grad life after just finishing undergrad work a month prior, I decided to push my limits and take a leap of faith and enroll in a graduate Interior Architecture program at Endicott College thinking, well, at least I can still see the beach from the classroom. This was real design school, not the made up reconfiguration of my undergraduate communications degree, where I slightly rearranged my schedule to include those ‘creative outlets’, aka the eight art classes I somehow managed to mold into my schedule, convincing myself that everyone needs a creative outlet. Well, the very first day of design school I learned something extravagant; that we, as designers, are here to change the world, and we can do so by pushing the limits of our knowledge, inspiration, and mental capabilities. It was that second when we jumped right in to the lengthy hours of learning four new computer programs in a week in order to bang out a design board for our final project, which also meant enduring the fight which is the printing room that I knew this was going to be a long road. Who would have thought that simply pressing print resulted in a blank page coming out of the printer the wrong way? It was a feat from the beginning, all aiming at reaching one goal: pushing limits.

It was suggested that when we begin a design we should come up with a concept and break down an idea into parts. For me, this meant meticulously looking into words, through definitions, and trying to recreate them visually. This actually helped me to form what I consider to be my own religion- looking into definitions. It sounds nerdy when you think about it, strolling through a dictionary for fun. But, this lead me in many different directions and finally, I found my life moto in one single word, meraki, a word with Greek origin, and the essence of what it would mean for me to become a designer.

I have always known that I wanted to start my own residential interior design firm, and connect with people on an intimate level to help them create a home that they love, one that promotes a positive lifestyle. Many people outside of the industry think of interior design and might think of words like ‘materialistic’, ‘trendy’, or ‘chic’. But, this is not actually the case at all. We are designers because we want to change the world; because we want to make it a beautiful place to thrive and live, a space of efficiency and positive energy. I have quickly come to realize that this is how I will change the world. We all have something we are passionate about, a little crevasse in the gigantic world in which we can make an impact. And that was my mission. I got a job, working the three days I wasn’t at school, and launched my interior design firm and got down to business, pun intended. Now, the long hours of designing from 7am – 11 pm straight isn’t easy that is for sure, in fact, even the shower has become a time to think about design concepts. But, I believe the harder I work, the more of myself and my ideas can be placed into the world through design.

My philosophy for working with clients is to help them to transform their life and find the niche that helps them to transform the world as well, making design a driving force for positive change. For me and my focus on sustainability at school, moving towards an eco-friendly way of life is essential. Here is another definition for you, since this is how I like to think about things, and in fact, the title of my very first studio project. Biophilia: the idea that views of and contact with nature can improve our health and well-being. We need to connect with nature, and if we can recognize this, there is sure to be a transition to more sustainable homes and buildings in the built environment. This is part one of my personal design mission. In a more formal manner we must consider the impact design has on our environment. Which brings me to part two of my design mission. Another word to move towards; wabi sabi- a Japanese aesthetic suggesting that we must find beauty in the imperfections of the world. This can be completely related to design and the pieces that we meticulously chose to place in our design, weather it be architectural features or a piece of furniture. This could be as practical as utilizing an old buffet regardless of its scratch and crack. We are finding the beauty in the story, and the imperfection that the piece has endured. And finally, the last portion of my design philosophy, part three; Inclusion. Which to me, means making design accessible to everyone through pushing the limits for universal design. This could mean planning for ADA regulated spaces, or making design accessible to those living in under-privileged areas. If, as I mentioned above, design will be a chance for us as designers to change the world, then we must include everyone in our master plan.

The biggest idea I have learned so far from these grueling, yet wonderful past eight months of design boards, Revit families, and concept models is that we must fuel our passion for design with innovation and ideas that can change the world around us. We must look to things that have never been done before, or look to improve things that are being done now. Change, something I used to be terrified of is now what fuels my design thinking. Interior design is most definitely not about picking out pillows, but completely about changing the way people live, and transforming our society into a cohesive, positive, beautiful space, one surrounding at a time.