Interior Designer Joan Hurst

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Joan Hurst is a retired interior designer. She lives in Aurora, Illinois, with two children and a husband who works as an architect. She now spends her time as a stay at home mom. She still loves using her interior designing skills and knowledge around the house and does some design work for friends and neighbors. Although she doesn’t work fulltime anymore, she remembers everything about what an interior designer does, and what it takes to become one.
Hello Mrs. Hurst. I have a few questions about being an interior designer. My first question is why did you become and interior designer?
My father was an Electrician with a love of design and architecture. Some of my fondest memories are of designing my own bedroom. I guess I have always liked architecture and art, and interior design gave me the opportunity to work with both of those fields every day.
What’s an interior designer’s normal work day like?
A normal work day can include a variety of things from being creative to problem solving to managing the business end of the job. Meeting with clients, vendors, and contractors is a big part of a designer’s day. A designer also creates drawings, presentation materials and project budgets. I also spend time researching products and shopping for the best quality and prices for my clients. The business end of the job will include tracking billable hours, purchases and taxes.
What do you like about your job and why?
I like developing creative solutions for my clients. I think it is important that people live, work, and learn in environments that make them feel good. I like the fact that I can do that for people by listening to my clients and creating a space that fits “them”. I also enjoy helping a client define the sense of style they already have.
What do you not like about your job and why?
I don’t like dealing with people that are unreasonable. Some clients have totally unrealistic requests. It is my job to explain a process or procedure to them so they understand and know what to expect every step of the way.
The hardest part of any job is keeping vendors and tradesmen on task. If I choose the right people for the job the project will be completed on time. Setting a realistic deadline keeps everyone happy.
How do you become an Interior Designer?
When I started out in 1987 you could call yourself a Designer without any proof of licensing. If you wanted to call yourself an Interior Designer you needed to pass the NCIDQ.
Today if you want to call yourself an Interior Designer you first need a 4 year college degree. When you graduate you need to work for 2 years under a licensed designer or architect. Then you take the NCIDQ, a licensing exam. Once you have passed it you are a “Licensed Interior Designer”.
Was becoming an Interior Designer one of your first career choices? Or did you always want to be something else?
I majored in Art but never thought that I would become a working artist. I always enjoyed chairing the annual student art show and talking fellow artists into showing their work. It was after my third year of college I decided to obtain a second major in Interior Design. I felt I could then utilize my own creativity and my desire for order in one career. It was the perfect blend for me. Having a minor in Sociology didn’t hurt either. My minor helped me understand cultures and individuals. This helps me connect with my clients in more than one way. I learned to listen to and observe others. This helps when a client has a difficult time verbalizing what they want out of a design project. Adding a second major towards the end of my college career has made me a better designer.





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