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The Start of My Voyage as an Interior Designer

ID Design Basics 101: Environmental Autobiography

By: Marisa Reeves

When I was a little girl, my mom read me bedtime stories, my favorite was book started out like this, “In an old house in Paris that was cover in vines “(Bemelmans) that’s right, Madeline was my hero. This fictional little girl influenced my life tremendously. I admired Madeline’s strong character, her courage and how fearless she was. I could relate to Madeline because I often felt that I too was, “The smallest one.”  She taught me that even though I’m small I can accomplish big things.

Because of Madeline, Paris was also the first foreign place that I had learned about. I learned all about European architecture as well, as I grew older I was always eager to learn about Europe because I admired how beautiful their design style was there.  One day I hope that I will be able to go to Paris in particular to learn about French and European design styles. I hope to be able to travel the world and learn as much as I can about design.

I grew up in Utah County, and the first time I learned what an Interior Designer was in the Lobby of the Dinosaur Museum in a place called Thanksgiving Point. I noticed these Masonry stones above me. They caught my eye so I asked my mom about them.  She told me that Interior Designers and Architects were paid to design such features. I remember thinking of how awesome it would be to design something like that for everyone to look at and admire the work that was put into the building.

All of my life I have grown up with a love of art, my greatest influence in the design world is my mom;. She is a graphic designer and has always exposed us to various types of art. She has taken us to museums, allowed us to splatter paint all over our cushions on our couch to make our couch more interesting, and to be able to display what kind of people we are. I would describe my mother’s style as more modern, she loves color. I have taken after my mom and appreciate modern urban styled design.

We have taken many trips to Park City, Utah, we enjoy walking down Historic Main Street and visiting all the little boutiques, our favorite pizza restaurant, jewelry shops, museums and also Interior Design and furniture stores. Park City has always been an exciting territory for me to go to explore. Denver, Colorado is also another place that my family and I liked to explore.  My mom has exposed my family to different cultures, we have attended many festivals, we visit museums as often as we can and I love learning about all types of art no matter where we go.

I seem to be attracted to big cities, and classical European styles, but in contrast to that, the first three years of my life I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have regularly visited my grandparents there and we travel around the southern states.  I have seen many country themed areas in my life and I am able to learn from them.  I feel that I have a certain connection though it’s not what I live for with southern culture.  There is a certain feeling that you can only get when you are in the south which is difficult to describe. I love those warm summer nights that I spent on an old wooden swing with my Papa in Branson, Missouri.  I remember how much I loved the landscaping outside our Motel.  There is just a peaceful feeling there and I feel that it’s part of me. It is, where you go, the people you meet, and the things you do make you who you are. I have learned to appreciate the country style although it is not my style. I believe that is important, to be able to appreciate something although it might not be what you enjoy the most.

I have spent most of my life in a small town, and it also is not my favorite but I have learned to appreciate what it has to offer for me. I have been able to see my city develop from nothing to having a neighborhood full of people.

I have realized that what I really love is light, city lights or star lights in particular and I know that they are complete opposites of each other but to me they both mean the same thing. Light to me symbolizes hope, so it is important to me that no matter where I go at night I can see that small burst of light to make me feel at home.  City lights are exciting and make me feel that I can take on the world.  Star lights make me feel that I am safe where I am, and that there is hope for me here, the balance there is important to me.

I had not really considered being an Interior Designer until the end of my freshman year in High School.  I recognized how much I loved flipping through interior design magazines and critiquing the different styles. I was excited to know that an Interior Design class was offered at my High School. I took the class my sophomore year, and loved it! I was pleased with myself and the projects I was able to accomplish. I loved learning about the different styles and history of design, learning how to make my own floor plans, so I stayed involved with interior design throughout High School.

I became involved in FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) my junior year of High School. I was an officer for two years, and my senior year I was president. FCCLA was where I was able to launch my beginning in Interior Design. FCCLA is associated with the FACS classes (Family and Consumer Sciences) so I was able to stay very close to the interior design and clothing programs to further develop my skills as a designer. My friend Amber Barry and I competed in STAR events (Students Taking Action for Recognition) where we were able to enter in the interior design category.  We worked closely with our advisor, Mrs. Sherman to be able to accomplish the project. We were able to learn so many things because of our advisors and the feedback we received from our judges. Also through our independent study we were able to learn and received inspiration.

Amber and I went a step beyond that and we researched the life of a designer. We discovered which classes we would need to take to help us prepare for our careers as interior designers.  I took classes in High School such as: basic drafting, commercial art, and clothing to help myself prepare.  My teacher Mrs. Holt assigned my financial lit class a project to investigate a career we would be interested in studying which helped me decide that I really did want to become an Interior Designer and how to decide which University to attend.

My senior year of High School I was blessed with a very special opportunity to design a house within our district. We competed in small groups against our classmates and my group won. I am proud to say I helped design a rambler in American Fork, Utah, “Blissful Tranquility”. It sold for $279k before the open house even closed.  That was a great experience for me and gave me a taste of my future.

I feel that FCCLA taught me many skills that will be useful in my future as a designer.  I was able to do what I love to do, plan and organize. I learned how to communicate with people better, contact companies that we may need assistance from, meet lots of new people and maintain a professional environment.

My senior year I also competed in STAR events and competed in a recycle and redesign category. I really had just learned to sew that year.  I was able to refurbish a wedding dress into a fun purpley blue formal. I had a lot of fun with it. My teacher/ FCCLA advisor influenced my learning in the Interior Design and Fashion Design industries. She worked with me for long hours, taught me and was always interested in my future. She too had a passion for Design and was able to share it with me, and I am so grateful to her.

I want to be able to travel and live everywhere so I can learn from everyone and everywhere. I want to learn about all different kinds of art, design, architecture and landscaping styles.  I want to be able to be the best designer I possibly can. I have lots of dreams and goals for me that I know are possible to accomplish. I have always loved the show “Extreme Home Makeover”, and I always thought it would be amazing if I could be a designer on that show. I came to realize that, if I chose that life it would be difficult to have and spend time with my family.  This is how I want to change the world and accomplish big things in my life. I want to study as much as I can from everyone and everywhere and one day build a reputation in a town outside a city. I will be well known and hope to be able to make enough money that I can be able to do lots of service projects like the designers in “Extreme Home Makeover”. I would like to be able to at least once a year be able to do some type of renovation project for someone in need. I want to make a difference in this world  because of who I am and what I am capable of doing.

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