Freelance Interior Designer Kyrsten Attig
What led you to become an interior designer and when did you become an interior designer?
Since I was young I had always been captivated by design, specifically how the interior and exterior of a building creates a story for the viewer. I enjoyed the idea of creating spaces for people to inhabit--places that inspire certain feelings in people--certain reactions. It really comes down to solving a problem: envisioning and designing an environment to fit the client’s needs. I am drawn to the mixture of technical and creative skills as well as the organization and teamwork to pull the entire project together.
Like countless people after high school, I had no clue of what I wanted to do. I took 2 years off, dabbling in some courses at a local community college. From this my interest in design grew substantially. I began my journey at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, majoring in interior architecture/design. Part of the curriculum included a six-month co-op, where I had the opportunity to pack my bags to New York and work for Gensler Architects. Through this venture I was able to learn how the design world actually functions outside of school projects. I was able to work alongside some incredible architects and designers. Working at such a large firm allowed tons of opportunity for growth. I was able to create my own path and experience, and I learned a lot about the architectural side of the industry. This eventually led me to my job after graduation, at BLT Architects. BLT has a strong architectural presence in commercial design. I learned and became very adept at the principles of space planning, functionality and construction. At BLT, I gained knowledge and advice from my mentors, which then helped me to branch out on my own for awhile. I am currently working from home as a freelance architectural designer, specializing in multi-family housing projects in Brooklyn, New York.
What is your favorite aspect of being an interior designer?
One of my favorite aspects about being a designer is the flexibility within the profession. Architecture and design allows room for an individual to choose their distinctive path. There are various fields of designs to choose from: commercial, residential, education, etc. Within each field comes specific requirements--making no two days the same. Some days you may be drafting architectural drawings, others you may be meeting with clients or on the job-site.
Along with the industry, we are continuously introduced to new and improved products and designs. Numerous designers become representatives for these companies, acquiring knowledge of each specific detail the products has to offer. Although, I must say that my favorite part of interior design is the excitement and fulfillment I sense when the project begins to come together, designing a space that is efficient and eye-catching is crucial.
What have you learned the most from your career in the interior design industry?
Interior design is not all about the creative aspects. Vital factors of design include the knowledge of building structure, codes, space planning, ergonomics, drafting and more. While the job may include picking colors, furniture, and textures the bulk of the project is drafting, working with architects and engineers, drawing details, etc. When a designer fails in this area, details can go very wrong. Learning about the plumbing codes, the electrical, and the load-bearing walls of the structure in question is required to run a smooth project.
What tips and ideas do you have for other’s who would like to start a similar career?
Many individuals think that an interior designer is similar to an interior decorator. This is not the case: interior designers have become very technical. Typically projects run through three stages: schematic design, design development and construction administration. Schematic design is the most creative stage in the process. Designers pick the colors, textures, components and general design. Design development comprises the drafting, architectural details, and how each component fits together. And lastly, construction administration is where the project comes to life. An understanding of local laws and codes are a huge part of the last two phases since updating details and fixing components ensues until the project is actually built.
What is at the heart of your work you want your clients to take home?
We spend so much time in buildings, whether it is your home, work, or favorite restaurant. With my work I want to express a vision, and each project can be entirely different in this aspect. My goal is to not only make the client happy, but myself as well. To bring in an innovative, cost effective, and functional design to the table. To leave the client with something they will enjoy for quite some time. Which brings fulfillment on my end: knowing that individuals inhabiting the space appreciate it and make it possible.
Kyrsten Attig's portfolio is available at http://kaa788.wixsite.com/ka-portfolio, and she can be followed on the following platforms:
Photos Courtesy of Kyrsten Attig