Insight from our Interior Design Intern
For those of you who have been reading our newsletters regularly, you know our monthly ritual of sitting down with a different member of the Lita Dirks & Co. team to get some insight into how they work, their design philosophy, and the industry as a whole. Thus far we have “dished” with a couple designers and one of our purchasing agents. This month we talked with Emily Hanson our summer interior design intern. We had to catch her before she heads back for her senior year at Colorado State University (CSU).
LD & Co: Thanks for taking time to chat with us today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Emily: I’m from Boulder originally. And I come from a very creative family. My mom is a landscape architect and my dad is a residential architect. I spent a lot of summers and other school breaks being “volunteer” labor for my parents.
LD & Co.: Did that make you want to choose a creative profession, or did you want to try something completely different? Rebel a little bit maybe and do data entry?
Emily: Definitely not data entry. [laughs] I knew I wanted to be creative but also wanted to explore a little bit of everything before I made a decision. I applied to CSU as an art student with concentration with photography and graphic design. Then I did the “Undeclared Major, Exploring Arts and Humanities.” This allowed me to take classes such as Introduction to Media, Fashion, and Interior Design.
LD & Co.: What made you choose interior design?
Emily: Well, I really wasn’t sure until the end of first semester my freshman year. After taking those intro classes I found myself really liking interior design the best. I found it to be the most challenging and most interesting. You must take an exam to officially get into the program. So, I did that, and passed. But I wanted to make sure I was choosing the right thing. Fortunately, I was able to get a summer internship with a builder. The internship was great because the company was incredibly small, so I was able to be involved in everything design-wise. It was fantastic exposure. After that experience I knew for sure I wanted to pursue a career in interior design.
LD & Co.: How did you find out about the LD & Co. internship?
Emily: I knew I needed something really challenging for my last summer before graduation and started looking in January. I went and talked to the internship adviser at CSU (they help you with your portfolio and applying) and after learning about the opportunities available at LD & Co., I applied online. I am so grateful that it all worked out.
LD & Co.: We are grateful that you’re here too. Is it what you thought (hoped) it would be?
Emily: Oh my gosh, it’s that and so much more! I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I love that LD & Co. does so much and that I get to be a part of projects from start to finish. Literally from sketching elevations to hanging art, I get to be involved in every little detail. You don’t see that at other design firms. A lot of firms seem to have set teams and you are assigned to a team. So, you do your part but never get the full overview. Things are so much more collaborative here. And, I love that I get to see everything from start to finish.
LD & Co: If you had to say the most important thing you’ve learned (so far) with this internship, what would it be?
Emily: Can I say two things? First, being able to adjust to each different designer’s process/style. I’ve definitely learned how I need to be flexible to help everyone be successful. This is a skill that will help me wherever I end up working. And then design-wise, I’ve learned that it’s very important to really go through an architect’s drawings to look at every little detail and design element to be able to see all the potential for that space.
LD & Co.: Has this internship strengthened your desire to become an interior designer?
Emily: Definitely, 100%! There is such a variety of things you can do as an interior designer. There are so many different niches. I just love the opportunity to see the various aspects of design including model merchandising. And, I love how we explore the psychology of who we are designing for and… oh I just love all of it.
LD & Co.: What’s next for you?
Emily: It’ll be my senior year. The entire year is devoted to my capstone project. For the first semester we spend all our time researching what we are going to do. And then the second semester is doing all the work and the final presentation. I’m nervous but really excited. The whole project is student-driven, and we have a pretty wide-birth to do what we want.
LD & Co.: That is exciting. You’ll definitely have to share your project when it’s complete. It’s been so great chatting with you. We are grateful for your hard work, passion, and talent! Good luck with senior year.
To see some of the projects that Emily has been involved with please visit our website. And, if you are interested in learning more about becoming an LD & Co. intern (we have summer interns as well as year-round opportunities), please contact us today.