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Posts Tagged ‘top interior design schools’

Yesterday I shared one Harrington College of Design Alumna’s experience as she transitioned from snowy Chicago to her professional career in Interior Design in Hawaii. Today, Tami shares some valuable advice she learned along the way of her journey.

Tami said, “Since graduating and going through the job hunting process, I definitely appreciate the fact that we are taught a wide spectrum of interior design skills at Harrington.  Those in the profession that I have spoken with since graduating have mentioned the professionalism in my portfolio presentation: that it shows my understanding of the different aspects of what goes into a project.  I made sure to incorporate architectural drawings, design development, renderings, and the process of how I was able to reach my final design. 

I believe that the two valuable pieces of information I took from Harrington were as follows:

  • Be congruent through your entire design process.  This sounds so simple, but it takes time and understanding of how you approach design as an individual to develop the ability to be congruent in your design from concept to space planning to furniture selection.  This is something that I have noticed has made a difference in the presentation of my design skills.
  • Completely express yourself through your portfolio.  My portfolio teacher, Tom Marquardt, was fantastic in the sense that when it came to formatting our portfolio he allowed us to be completely free.  He truly wanted us to be able to express ourselves through our work, which I am so thankful for the opportunity to have learned.  From him, I was able to gain a better understanding of myself through design and further develop it.”

Tami also shared one of her sources for inspiration – Teknion’s third edition of “Design Does Matter” stating, “I strongly encourage anyone interested in design to read these books!  They are compilations of designers from all areas, writing about why design is significant in our world and for our generation.  They definitely keep me motivated and excited about what we do!”

Thanks for sharing your advice Tami, and we look forward to hearing an update from you soon here at the Harrington College of Design! We’re currently about a foot of snow deep here in Chicago in our own Winter Wonderland, so hope you are enjoying the sun and sand 🙂

Featured design work is by Tami Stevens from her Harrington Thesis project.

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Originally from Iowa, Tami Stevens decided one day to pursue a career in interior design. After googling “top interior design schools”, Harrington’s name came up. After learning more about the Harrington College of Design, Tami made the move to Chicago and completed her BFA in Interior Design in 2010. Upon graduation, Tami and her boyfriend decided to make their dream a reality: to move to a remote island in the Pacific – Hawaii!

As soon as she graduated, Tami hit the ground running professionally: after contacting several firms and visiting industry events, Tami landed a contract position creating spec books for an Air Traffic Control Center on a base in South Korea. She then turned her sights to the island where she hoped to live. “Before graduating, I researched the different opportunities in interior design firms in Hawaii.  During a week stay in Hawaii, I met with five firms and discussed with them the possibilities for someone who was just graduating in Interior Design.  I also brought the draft of my portfolio for their review.  When I came back to Harrington College in Chicago (while in Tom Marquardt ‘s Interior Design Portfolio class), I was able to make the necessary adjustments to my portfolio, based on the companies that I would actually be applying to in the near future.  From that experience, I knew that I would be able to become successful in the field of interior design while still living in my dream location!” Tami said.

Tami’s hard work and research paid off: after a competitive interview process for an open position at PhilPotts, a leading design firm in Hawaii, Tami was successful in landing a Jr. Designer position. Speaking of her design interests, Tami shared, “My primary interest is not just interior design, but design in its entirety.  From architecture, graphics, urban engineering to product design, etc., I appreciate learning about all aspects of design and how it has the ability to influence the world around us.” 


Tami shared some fun facts about her transition from snowy Chicago to the tropical island, sharing:

  • “78 degrees becomes sweatshirt weather after only living here for six months
  • I usually see a rainbow on the way to and from work every day
  • There are several different climates between the 8 islands – Big Island (Hawaii) even has snow!
  • Nobody honks their horn here – not even cabs
  • We don’t need air conditioning – the trade winds that come through our apartment are enough to keep it cool!
  • Sustainability is a HUGE part of everyone’s lives.  Living on an island in the middle of the ocean creates the sense of urgency that so many other places would benefit from.”

Keep reading tomorrow when Tami shares some great advice from her experience pursuing her dream position in a competitive industry!

Photo courtesy Tami Stevens. Photo is of Tami and Tom Marquardt, Harrington College of Design Interior Design instructor, at Tami’s graduation in 2010 from the Harrington College of Design.

Hawaii photo courtesy The Daily Ornellas

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