My first year in the program, I had a studio class that specifically taught solving problems and creating new products by thinking outside of the box. We designed custom chairs inspired by art pieces, and had to be able to back up why we created it the way we did. For another project, we created physical fabric prints and samples and had to create a product out of one of our final samples. This process carried us through the inspiration phase all of the way to production, this was very beneficial to understanding the entirety of the design process. This class taught me how to think outside of the box, but also taught me how to strategically go about doing so. The kitchen and bath studios that I took in my Junior year, taught me how to pay attention to every detail and fine tune a project. They taught me how to think about the use and functionality of the space first, and then to move on to the aesthetics. They also taught me basic building codes, and ideal measurements for the NKBA.
My favorite part of this program, is how much your graduating class feels like family. We have become extremely close over the last couple of years, and I love that we were able to get to know each other so well due to our smaller numbers. My second favorite aspect of the program is it's focus on residential spaces, in contrast to industrial buildings. We are trained to work on both, but I do enjoy and prefer the focus on homes. The last part of FI that I love is that many of the courses are incredibly practical. We graduate with tangible skills and knowledge that can directly be applied to the work force. We cover every aspect of jobs, and are even required to take a family finance course so that we better understand how every decision we make affects our clients and their budgets.
My favorite project so far has been the Sherwin Williams Student Competition. We were given perimeters on certain things Sherwin Williams wanted included, but other than that we had full creative freedom. It was a fun project that allowed us as creatives to incorporate our personal style in whichever way we wanted with no financial restrictions. In a way, it opened my eyes as to what I am drawn to for inspiration and how I personally apply my inspiration to the final design concept.
Another insightful project included a Habitat for Humanity home. After being given a foot print of the home and a fictional family to design for, it was a challenge to incorporate the family's wants/needs with the donated products and repurposed items to create an aesthetically pleasing and successfully functioning home. A lot of learning came from brainstorming and researching ways to repurpose furniture and architectural pieces. It gave me an appreciation for something old being turned into something new.
- The community and support system found within the Furnishings and Interiors program has been a huge benefit to my academic experience. The professors and my peers are incredible advocates for my success and are willing to give constructive criticism for my benefit.
- The necessary attention to detail has solidified my design process.
- Being held to high standard by my professors has showed me how thorough thinking leads to a much more successful project.
The projects in our major have been very diverse. I have enjoyed learning about interior design from many different perspectives. Our first year in the program, we designed textiles from concept to finished product. This project opened my eyes to the fact that, as a designer, I am not simply using other people's work. I have the skills and ability to design every single item in a space, from the textiles to the door hinges. During our second year in the program, we entered a student competition through the National Kitchen and Bath Association. The NKBA chose real clients, whose style was very different than mine. This project forced me to put my own design aesthetics aside and to focus on the actual desires of the client. I think this project definitely helped to prepared me for the real world.
The top three things about the Furnishing and Interiors program that have made my academic experience most memorable.
- I love the personalized, hands-on approach of the F&I program. Our classes are small and the professors truly care about us. The professors work one on one with each student to guide them and teach them. That is hard to find at a large university like UGA.
- Through F&I, I have gained numerous skills. When people hear "interior design," they assume it is just arranging pillows. But, I have gained knowledge in countless computer programs like AutoCAD and Revit. I have also learned the ins-and-outs of textiles, from their chemical makeup to their final product. Lastly, I have truly learned how to see a concept through from initial idea to its completion.
- Lastly, through the skills I have learned in the F&I program and its internship program, I had the opportunity to intern with an incredible design firm, CLOTH & KIND. This gave me tons of real world experience and showed me that the knowledge I had gained in my classes were going to put me a huge leg up in the industry.
The kitchen and bath projects from our second year in the program was based on an actual client. This project stands out to me because it was the first time that we got to design for an actual couple. Our design styles got tossed aside and we had to follow what the client wanted. I think this was eye opening for a lot of people because we couldn't just pick whatever we wanted. This project is was the closest thing we have had to a real life design job. During the kitchen and bath projects I learned that your style doesn't really matter when it comes to having clients. They are the people living in the space, so what they want should take precedence over your own personal style.
The top three things that have made my academic experience the most memorable are:
- Going on trips to ADAC and showrooms. It's refreshing to see where our degrees can take us.
- Being a finalist in the National Kitchen and Bath student design competition. It's really nice to see all your long hours in the studio pay off.
- The people. The eight of us have spent countless hours together and we have become really close. We always cheer each other on, and I think that's really special considering how competitive this field can be.
For our first studio class sophomore year, we learned how to take a project from the conceptual phase all the way to a final presentation. We learned how to use inspiration, by using a piece of artwork to inspire a chair. Throughout this project, we would have frequent check ups with our professor where she really pulled the ideas out of us and shaped how we would bring concepts to life throughout our interior design career.
The most memorable experience from being in Furnishings and Interiors is no doubt the people that you meet. These girls are some of my closest friends that I would have never gotten to meet otherwise. We became so close because of our smaller class numbers and the amount of time we would spend together. I also love the field trips that our class gets to take. It really reminds us why we are doing what we are doing. They are also very inspiring. I get a ton of inspiration from the field trips we take, and they shape my projects. My next favorite thing about this major is the networking opportunities that the major provides. We have so many chances to meet other students in different fields, while working on projects with Fashion Merchandising majors, and professionals in the design field.