SUCCESS STORIES

Throughout the program we see our students’ hesitations transform into confidence and their dreams turn into realities. We are so proud to feature our wonderful grads and to share their designer success stories!

 

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JENNIFER ADAMS, JENNIFER ADAMS HOME

Interior Designer Jennifer Adams, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Jennifer Adams Worldwide, Inc., is a prime example of what hard work and dedication can lead to.

Jennifer grew up in a household with very little money but she never felt limited by her circumstances. Her love for designing and improving spaces started early on in her life. She repainted her room countless times and frequently moved furniture around to get a new look. Jennifer helped her mom sew drapes, bedspreads, pillow covers and also build furniture, even their sofa! They also successfully dyed their carpet navy blue with Rit® dye and a steamer!

Her family worked hard for everything they had which is a value Jennifer carries with her today.  She began working at the age of 14 picking strawberries and working in the apparel department at Fred Meyer. Jennifer always had an entrepreneurial spirit and she created many of her own jobs including a house cleaning business. During the summers Jennifer and her sister would clean houses for a total of $50 and even advertised their services by posting flyers around town.

Continue reading her story on our blog here.

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NAZANIN KARIMI HAJARI, CHIC LIVING INTERIORS

While raising her kids, Nazanin remodeled her home in Portland and a couple of rental homes. Her friends and family who saw the remodels were very complimentary of Nazanin’s design work, which led to them consulting her for help and ideas with their homes. Her friends began encouraging her to start doing interior design as her career. “When my youngest son graduated from high school I needed something to do with my free time. I wanted to pursue something, and why not continue doing something that I love?” Nazanin’s longtime hairdresser, Daniel, mentioned to her that he was going to Heritage School of Interior Design. “I had looked into longer, more expensive programs but I have two kids in college! And I didn’t want another Bachelors degree.”

Heritage has been a perfect fit for Nazanin and she is an absolute joy to have in class. “I was afraid to be a student again – it’s been a challenge, but a good challenge. Whenever I worry about class on Tuesday, or a test, my husband reminds me to be proud of what I’m doing. Once I’m at school I feel good – I love being here and I love all the new friendships.” Nazanin has grown so much over the past 12 weeks and has wonderful relationships with Stephanie, Michele and her classmates. “My instructor Michele and Stephanie have been there to mentor me and help me obtain my interior design goals.”

Continue reading her story on our blog here. 

IRENE TOKSTAD, DESIGN ALLURE, LLC

I have always valued family and community most in life. I believe a happy family starts with a solid foundation and that this foundation is made up of an environment that you want to come home to, because after all, home is where the heart is. As a child I would envision pulling into to a driveway eager for what’s inside: family, joy, and sanctuary. A place of cleanliness, order and harmony. A place where you come to collaborate, relax, and get inspired. A place any member of the family feels safe and welcome.

I realized at a very young age this was not just a dream and that I could create the family and home I dreamed of and I wanted to help others do the same. So I started cleaning. I eventually went on to own my own house cleaning business called Keep It Clean, Call Irene, where I got to fulfill my passion for serving the community by offering services that sustain an environment they desired to come home to. I loved what I did, I was proud of the company I built and it was an honor to be welcomed into a client’s home. Many of my clients became like family to me. At times I would assist clients with furniture layouts, surface selections for remodels and even went shopping with many of them so that they could freshen up or even recreate their space. My clients inspired me to study interior design and take my passion for home and livelihood to the next level by recreating interiors from start to finish.

Continue reading her story on our blog here.  

SUKRITI PANSARI, ANUKRITI STUDIOS

Sukriti is an Interior Designer who grew up in a small town called Sambalpur in the eastern state of Odisha, India. She grew up looking for any opportunity to be creative and always enjoyed DIY projects. Her family recognized her talent for design and encouraged her to consider Interior Design as her career. With their encouragement, she enrolled at a reputed design college in India, APIED, and was exposed to the world of interior design. This exposure confirmed her passion for Interior Design and she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. She then moved to Mumbai, a metropolitan city in India, where she worked with many renowned architects and designers in the industry.

A year ago, Sukriti married the love of her life, Ankit, who received a wonderful job opportunity in the US, which required them to move to Seattle. Sukriti wanted to continue her career as a designer but needed to learn about the market and industry standards here in the US. She began researching design schools and came across Heritage School of Interior Design in Portland. She was excited to learn about Heritage and valued the idea of a more hands on, practical learning experience. Sukriti and Ankit had set up  a home in Seattle for Ankit’s job, so Sukriti temporarily moved to Portland to attend Heritage.

Continue reading her story on our blog here.  

ALLISON KRAMER, SITTE

“After working for years in the field of interior design, Allison Kramer, noticed that the finishing touch of each successful project was the placement of the perfect, unique chair.

Allison’s background in studio art and her hands on approach to interior design naturally led to an interest in creating custom pieces for her clients. After discussing their wishes and studying the elements of form and function, she utilizes her eye for detail and knowledge of materials to revive and personalize chairs.

From the ongoing challenge of searching for the most suitable chair, Allison decided to create a curated space that applauds the chair for it’s design, function, and aesthetics. The SITTE showroom features a unique range of modern occasional chairs sourced from artisans, local consignors, worldwide manufacturers, and one of a kind refurbished pieces.

Allison’s vision for the company is to connect talented furniture designers to potential buyers, to give back to the community through fundraising and educational events, and to help her clients find the perfect chair to complete their home.”

Visit the beautiful SITTE website here. 

KEASHA BROWN, SHADY DAZE SHOP

Keasha moved to Portland just a few weeks before the start of the Certification Course at Heritage. Among the many reasons that led Keasha to her decision to enroll at Heritage, a love for Portland was one of them.

Keasha’s passion for interior design started with her parents love for victorian style lampshades. Her father had a dream of opening a shop where they could sell their beautiful, handmade shades, but he sadly passed away before he was able to do so. Following his passing, Keasha’s mother taught her everything she knew about the trade of making lampshades. This inspired Keasha to open an Etsy shop in honor of her father, named “Shady Daze Shop”. Keasha often uses Victorian style shade framework with vintage fabric and fringe. She describes her lampshades as a mix of “Marie Antoinette meets Stevie Nicks” and the style represents the late 1960’s and Victorian era.

Continue reading her story on our blog here. 

 

KATIE MARTIN, WHAT’S NEW? FURNITURE

Katie Martin is a talented artist with many passions including singing soprano in Consonare Chorale, cross stitching, and baking (her classmates love her banana cake). Most recently, she discovered her love for Interior Design and is now happily working with the home staging team for Greylyn Wayne, the Interior Design and Staging business tied to the furniture store, What’s New? Furniture.

Katie was always interested in design but it took her some time to figure out what career path she wanted to follow. She considered going to fashion design school, but instead went to college and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Education. However, she quickly realized that this path wasn’t quite right for her. After a series of life goal meetings with a friend and compiling a list of her favorite things to do and the skills she had, she discovered that interior design was the path she was looking for.

Continue reading her story on our blog here. 

OLYA SURITS, HART HOWERTON

Olya has an inherent passion for everything interior design from spacial arrangement to an understanding of design principles. She knew that Interior Design was her destiny, but was scared to take that step towards her dream. She had a successful career as a Marketing Manager at a software company where she managed projects with large enterprise clients. Interior Design was always in the back of her mind and she always looked for opportunities to implement design in her work. She eventually came to the realization that she was unhappy and unfulfilled — it was time for a change.

After a year of researching Heritage School of Interior Design, she finally made the decision to enroll and her life has since changed in the best possible ways! The Heritage program validated her natural talent for design and gave her the skills she needed to pursue a career in Interior Design. A few weeks before graduating, Olya flew to San Fransisco for a job interview at Hart Howerton Architects and we are so excited to announce she was offered the position! She will be working under Principle Designer, Fatima McNell as an Interior Design Intern. Hart Howerton’s practice is “Designing Complete Environments™—exceptional buildings, communities and places—in special situations, where a unique historic or natural environment requires an especially thoughtful and innovative solution.”

We are so proud of Olya’s achievements and we can’t wait to see flourish as an Interior Designer!

 

KATIE BUCHANAN, TINY LUXURY

Katie grew up playing competitive sports and had little time to discover her true passions in life because of a busy sports and school schedule. In high school, her dream of playing college softball came to an end after several injuries and a hip surgery. Katie spent her time healing from surgery by painting and learning new skills and quickly realized how passionate she is about creating beautiful things.

Katie attended Linn-Benton Community college but became uninspired by the career path she was on and found herself longing for something more creative and hands-on. She had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland and Italy and her love for the arts and beautiful spaces propelled her into creating a life full of inspiration and creativity. After returning home, she began working at a financial service company which gave her some freedom and a sense of entrepreneurship that she was craving from a career, but still lacked the creativity she wanted.

After hearing about Heritage School of Interior Design from Heritage graduate, Amy VanDitti, Katie was immediately interested in the program and met with Stephanie to discuss her options. It was everything that Katie was looking for and more and she made the decision to start saving up to pay for her tuition. Although Katie was one of the youngest students in the history of Heritage at age 20, she excelled and was able to enhance her natural creative abilities with an education, which gave her the confidence she needed to start her career as an interior designer. She woke up every day excited to learn about something she loved and graduated from Heritage with the biggest sense of pride and fulfillment.

Continue reading her story on our blog here.

 

NOELLE DALBY, AMY CARNAHAN INTERIOR DESIGN

Noelle Dalby is a naturally creative person who was a talented makeup artist and worked in property management before deciding to pursue a career in Interior Design and enrolling at Heritage. Through her experience at Heritage she gained confidence in her design style and the skills she needed to work in the design industry. Noelle loved being surrounded by classmates who shared her passion for design.

Noelle is now working as an Interior Design Assistant for Amy Carnahan, owner of Amy Carnahan Interior Design. As Amy’s assistant, Noelle’s role includes picking up orders, shopping for accessories, handling returns, problem solving, helping with installation, organizing, and attending important appointments as needed. She is enjoying the real life situations and finding the experience to be invaluable!

Her future career goal is to work for a commercial design firm that designs unique interiors. As a creative person, she is looking forward to the freedom to push the design aspect in a space.

 

 

STEWART HORNER, PENNY BLACK INTERIORS

“I was born in Sheffield Northern England in 1969, an only child. I struggled academically but discovered a talent for art and design at an early age. My passion for interior design goes back to my early teens. My Grandfather was a builder and my dad was an electrician. They would re-decorate the house every three years religiously. They made a point of allowing me to decorate my bedroom exactly as I wanted. This freedom brought about my creativity.

I was a huge Adam Ant fan in the early 1980’s and his flamboyant and anarchic sense of style inspired me and led me to my path towards fashion. I later discovered Vivienne Westwood, one of the UK’s most iconic and prolific designers. I have been pretty eccentric most of my life when it comes to what I like to wear and I’ve had a passion for clothing, hats and shoes for as long as I can remember.”

Continue reading his story on our blog here. 

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ALEX LARSEN, THOMASVILLE FURNITURE

Alex went to college at the University of Oregon and graduated in 2014 with a BA in Music. Before Alex decided to attend Heritage, she was in sales for a local catering company. She was constantly on the phone and doing mundane work just to pay the bills. “The environment was uplifting, but I really just didn’t feel fulfilled. I had been in many sales jobs and all of them felt the same.”

Alex decided to do some brainstorming to figure out what her next steps would be in her career. “I’ve always been a creative. I started thinking about what I want out of a job and how I could make a difference and feel satisfied afterwards.” One creative field that came to her mind was interior design and a simple google search led her to Heritage. “I was so impressed with the website and the reviews – I had to meet with the director! I knew I wanted to do this for myself – I felt empowered and wanted to accomplish something amazing!”

After meeting with Stephanie it was apparent that Heritage was the perfect fit for her. “I met with the Director, Stephanie, and immediately fell in love with the space, location, and how much love and energy Stephanie has put into the school. I immediately felt welcomed and at home. I was so excited! However, I didn’t have enough money to cover all of tuition and wasn’t sure how I was going to make that happen.”

Continue reading her story on our blog here. 

 

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MYA LWIN, MYA LWIN DESIGN

Mya has had a passion for design since she was in 3rd grade and her dream job was to become a fashion designer. In college she studied graphic design as a creative alternative to fashion since her school didn’t have a design program. “After graduating from college and working in marketing, admin, and operations roles, I realized I couldn’t do the whole 9-5 desk job, and for the sake of my sanity, I needed to get back on a more creative career path.”

Mya was working as an Operations Coordinator at a software consulting firm literally across the street for Heritage. It was meant to be! “I wasn’t feeling very fulfilled in my position and wanted to shift to a more creative career. I decided on interior design because in my position at the consulting firm, I was assigned to oversee the redesign of the office and I had such a blast doing that and I could imagine myself doing interior design as a career.” After meeting with Stephanie, Mya immediately enrolled at Heritage.

Continue reading her story on our blog here. 

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RHONDA LARSON, VELVET & BURLAP

“My passion for designing spaces began as a child. My sister and I would construct elaborate Barbie Doll houses occupying the entire living and dining room of our home. We made the furniture by reconfiguring small boxes and covering them with fabric or paper. Our babysitter taught us how to draw house plans, including strategically placed furniture in each room. This became a regular Saturday activity around age 10 and I still have those plans today. My eleventh birthday request to my mom was to take me to the local “Tour of Homes”. How many eleven year olds want to do that?? My college roommates still talk about coming home the night before I had an exam to a completely rearranged apartment! Each of the homes I have owned through the years has undergone renovation and redesign because I could never stop myself. My family and friends have always teased me because once I would finish a home, I would either have to start over again or buy a different house! The passion is deeply entrenched.”

Continue reading her story on our blog here.  

 

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JOYCE ROBINSON

Joyce was a stand-out artist in high school. Design, printing, painting, drawing, sewing—you name it. She attended art school for a year which helped her realize her passion for graphic design, but when she enrolled in a university a year later, she ended up choosing photography for her art degree emphasis. She graduated and worked a few years in a darkroom, and stated, “all that time in the dark helped me see the light!” She finally decided to pursue a career in graphic design by going back to school. After graduating she had a great combination of both photography and graphic design experience.

Before relocating to Portland, Joyce spent 28 years in Colorado and had a variety of careers including a graphic designer, art director, photographer, and stylist for national quilting magazines. Throughout this time, she discovered her love for architecture and interior design. Joyce had the opportunity to explore her love for interior design by building two custom homes, remodeling a log home and also a few condos. She attributes her love and passion for design to her childhood. “My dad had been into drafting and had dream home plans on the drafting table for years. I guess he started me out young thinking about homes and design. I used to love to draw up floorplans for my bedroom and then rearrange the furniture.” But it wasn’t until recently that she decided to take her passion further by pursuing a career in interior design.

Continue reading her story on our blog here.  

 

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AMY PEARSON, AMY PEARSON DESIGN

Amy’s passion for interior design began as a young girl after listening to the architect and designers involved in her parent’s major home remodel.  At every opportunity during the project Amy asked questions, constantly seeking to understand every aspect of the build and why decisions were made.

Though life took Amy down several different paths, her passion for interior design never faded.  After graduating college, getting married and staying at home with her two beautiful children, Amy finally decided it was time to pursue her lifelong dream.  As a wife, and a mother of boy and girl twins, Amy’s family is her entire world!  “Being home with my kids was always what had dreamed of and I treasure those years where they were my sole focus and dedication.  However, in those years, I felt like I lost a bit of myself and my identity as an individual and as a woman.  I was craving something in my life that was about me and for me, allowing me to be an independent, creative, and professional woman while also remaining committed to my life as a

mother and a wife.” When her twins grew to an age where Amy didn’t need to be home all the time, she decided it was time for her to follow her passion and dream of becoming an interior designer. The Certification Program at Heritage School of Interior Design was a perfect fit for her, considering she already had a degree – she just needed that career focused education.

Continue reading her story on our blog here.  

 

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ESTRELITA CONDON, LUXURY HOMES

Ester always had an eye for design and even designed her own clothing as a teenager. Later in life she started traveling to other countries and lived in South America for awhile which is when her passion for Interior Design became clear. Ester found that she was fascinated by the beauty and architectural details in her surroundings. For many years she owned a resort in the Philippines which she designed herself! She knew that she was a natural designer but didn’t know how to pursue it as her career. Years later, Ester went through a divorce which is when she really thought about what she wanted to do with her life and decided to follow her passion for interior design.

When she began looking into schools she knew she wanted it to prepare her for a career as a designer and didn’t want the program to take years to complete. Once she found Heritage School of Interior Design she immediately called Stephanie. After learning more about the school offers, she enrolled with excitement, knowing that her dreams would come true.

Ester felt that the program exceeded her expectations and with the intensive teaching style she learned so much every single day. Although English is her second language and technology wasn’t something she was comfortable with, she challenged herself by taking AutoCAD & SketchUp and did really well! Ester is currently working with Luxury Homes in Lake Oswego designing houses throughout Lake Oswego, West Linn and Council Crest.

“I’m thankful for what I learned at Heritage and the successful career path I am on. Because of the knowledge I gained, my clients trust me as their interior designer. My dream is to open my own Interior Design business in the Philippines and incorporate my own custom lines”

 

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BARBORA MESTANIKOVA

Barbora was raised in Slovakia and came to America just 15 years ago to be part of an exchange program. During her time here, she lived with a host family and studied English. Her plan was to return home after a year, but while she was in America she met an amazing man who became her husband. Together they stayed in America, but 15 years later Barbora is still here but without her husband who recently passed away from cancer.

Naturally, there was an emotional healing that needed to take place after her husband’s passing. “It’s been a long time since I felt fulfilled and happy. This new opportunity and experience at Heritage has given me the spark for life again.

Barbora always had a passion for unique furniture and spaces. “As a child, I used to drag furniture across the room just to get a different look or to do a room makeover.” She grew up in a communist regime where there was a very limited selection of pretty much everything – let alone furniture, window treatments, and accessories.

Continue reading her story on our blog here.  

 

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JULIE ADAMS

I was raised in rural Alberta in a tiny hamlet called Cherry Grove. At a young age I really enjoyed drawing and also grew up taking piano lessons. I remember my mother installing a program on our old PC called “3D Home Architect” and I really enjoyed playing around with it, designing floor plans for homes and a fictional music academy. Visual art has always been a hobby for me but I had never considered pursuing it in my post-secondary education or professionally. After graduating high school I moved to Edmonton to attend university. I did a year of Jazz and Contemporary Music majoring in piano at The Grant MacEwan University Centre for the Arts and then switched into Business Management the following year. I did fine in school but neither of these programs ever felt like a very good fit for me.

I took a break from University and decided to do some traveling. This is where my passion
for interior design really began to blossom. In 2012 I travelled to India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia over the course of 4 months with a girlfriend. I was extremely impressed by the architecture, textiles and artisan products I saw there, particularly in India and Indonesia.

Continue reading her story on our blog here.  

 

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DEBORAH BARRY, ALL THINGS NEW INTERIOR DESIGNS

Debbie Barry always had a passion for design, as far back as she can remember. As a child she was constantly rearranging her bedroom furniture. “I just liked how I felt after making it ‘new’ and fresh even though I didn’t necessarily have anything new, I just restyled the room.”  As she grew older and after graduating with a degree in Child Development, she began to realize her love for design even more.

On the first day of school Debbie was nervous but so excited! Within the first 30 minutes of class, instructor Janis Howard said, “You are designers now, I want you to start thinking of yourself as a designer.” Debbie stated that she literally had to hold back tears. “After 20 years of being out of college and having odd jobs that I never got any fulfillment from, it was finally happening! I am a designer!” She never in a million years thought she would go back to school but loved that Heritage was an intensive program and she could start her new career in 6 months.

“It has taken me a long time to get to this point in my life.  I’m still learning about how it is up to us to us to use the talents God gives us.” Debbie has come to realize that she is truly talented at interacting with people and designing spaces. She is looking forward to her future and is excited to explore the various opportunities in the design world.

Continue reading her story on our blog here. 

 


AMY TROUTE, AMY TROUTE INSPIRED INTERIOR DESIGN

“Prior to attending Heritage, I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and enjoyed a successful decade-long career in Marketing and Advertising. I always had an eye for color and design (graphic design and branding were a major part of my earlier career) and a passion for the comforts of home.

When I found out I was expecting twins in 2003, I knew I would continue to work after they were born, and wanted to LOVE what I was doing if I was away from them, so I decided to pursue my passion for design.  I slowly built my portfolio over the first three years of their life with referrals from friends, and eventually met Jennifer Adams, an established designer and Heritage graduate.  She hired me to work with her Portland clients and recommended I attend Heritage to gain the education I was missing.  I recall her saying “you have about 80% of what it takes to be successful, Heritage will provide the rest.”

I decided to take her recommendation and attend Heritage. The most beneficial part of the curriculum was learning how to work with vendors, how to draft contracts, and the best practices in managing projects and client expectations.  I had years of experience in project management, but learning the specifics of the interior design industry was very valuable.

Heritage was key in rounding out my approach to running my firm, and to honing my services and talents.  My business grew immediately after I graduated, and has blossomed in to a full-service firm with 5 employees in addition to myself.  I couldn’t be happier!

I highly recommended Heritage School of Interior Design!  Even graduates of other design schools can benefit from the real-world, client-focused approach of Heritage’s curriculum.  Interior Design is so much more than CAD and textiles – it’s working with people in their homes and it’s a very intimate process.  Heritage teaches its students to connect with the client on a level that is key to success in this business.”

 

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TRACY MCGUIRE, TRACY MCGUIRE INTERIORS

Tracy McGuire has always had a knack for design, but she remembers it cultivating in college, when she attended the University of Vienna in Austria. She studied art, architecture, German and European history, which helped her discover her creative side and passion for the arts. Her love for sports led her to a very successful career in the athletic footwear and apparel industry, holding many different roles in marketing from handling endorsement deals to managing sponsorship contracts. Most recently, she was a Product Manager in footwear marketing and managed the product creation process from development, to design, to product creation and merchandising.

Tracy first heard about Heritage 10 years ago when she hired an Interior Designer who was a Heritage graduate. Tracy was inspired by her skills and career and was encouraged by the graduate to enroll. The timing wasn’t right as she was focused on raising her two children but it was always been in the back of her mind.

Tracy has extraordinary drive and has overcome challenges with confidence and strength. She is an avid runner and spends at least 5 days a week running with a goal of at least one road race a month and one marathon a year. Two years ago, she was a victim in the Boston Marathon Bombing… Read her full story on our blog here.

 

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KRISTEN SIEFKIN, IDEASPARK INTERIORS

Kristen Siefkin and Stephanie Plymale first met while volunteering as personal shoppers for Dress for Success of Oregon, an organization that helps underprivileged women get the tools they need to help them enter or reenter the workforce. “I loved Stephanie from the minute I met her. She was super fun, always positive and like me, willing to push these women outside of their fashion comfort zones in order to see themselves a little differently,” Kristen stated.

Kristen was always passionate about beautiful things and ensuring her surroundings “felt right”. Most of her adult life she collected Asian art, Japanese tansus and Danish modern furniture. It wasn’t until one of her best friends, Sara, bought a new house that she considered a career in interior design. “Sara asked me to help her decorate a few of her spaces and in the process, she told me she’d never seen me light up the way I did when I designed. The classes and curriculum at Heritage confirmed for me that not only did I have a passion for design, but I had the skill, too.” Continue reading Kristen’s story on our blog here.

Click here to see Kristen’s publication in the Oregonian! 

 

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IAN DOUGHERTY

Ian has always loved color and design. Growing up, he would find himself painting and repainting the walls of his room in search of the perfect look. That experience was great practice and propelled him into painting and designing his own apartments. That’s when he really learned and appreciated the importance of turning a house into a home, a place you want to be because it is a reflection of your personality and sense of self.

During his teenage years, Ian worked with his father in the construction field learning the skills behind demolition, remodeling and building new homes. Surrounded by the detailed processes of building homes gave Ian a passion for design and structure.

Like many of us design enthusiasts, Trading Spaces on TLC was that one show that made Ian realize he could actually do design work. Him and his Mom spent quality time together watching every episode and they always thought, “We want to be on this show! We can do this! We have great design ideas!”. But knowing it would be unlikely for them to accept a 13 year old as a guest on the show, Ian would just have to design on his own. Being very creative and resourceful throughout his whole life, Ian has designed, built and ‘upcycled’ many pieces of furniture and decor for himself and his friend’s homes. He loves making signature art and furniture to enhance the uniqueness of ones personal space.

Continue reading Ian’s story on our blog here.

 

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KATHIE HENLEY

Kathie spent 25 years in financing and handled thousands of home closings during that time.  “Although I loved my job and working with people who were excited to move into their new homes, I really longed to be somewhere creating beautiful spaces instead of behind a desk.” In 2001 the office she had been with for years closed. “It seemed like the perfect time to transition to something I really longed to do.” She heard about Heritage School of Design from a friend and signed up for the 2002 spring term which would begin in April.

Just before Kathie was to start at Heritage, her daughter gave birth to a baby girl with Apert Syndrome, a very rare condition that most doctors have never even heard of. “This was a life changing moment for our entire family.  With so many surgeries and medical treatments ahead for little Poppy it was not the time for me to go back to school because I was needed in a more important place.”  Although there are surgeries and treatments ahead, this past year has been a good one for Poppy.

“My husband, Keith, was the kindest and most encouraging man I have ever known.” Together they bought an existing coffee shop in the Hollywood District and redesigned it. “We eventually sold the coffee shop and flipped a home, which was a wonderful experience. I was ecstatic each day I spent designing and decorating and we were thrilled when the first person who saw the home purchased it.”

Kathie enjoyed designing and working on their flip so much that she began doing some room makeovers for friends and eventually got some staging jobs. “I found that I really loved transforming spaces.”

In July 2015, Kathie lost her husband to a completely unexpected heart attack. “That was the absolute darkest hour of my life. It is still a blur in my mind and I can’t recall the hours, days or weeks afterward. What I can recall is that 4 weeks before he died he told me that if anything ever happened to him he would want me to continue on doing all the things that we had planned.”

She went through the fall and the holidays in a fog and when the first week of January rolled around she tried to figure out what to do with her life. “I remembered how much he wanted me to attend Heritage and decided to call. I spoke with Stephanie and found that the classes were beginning the following week. She was so enthusiastic and friendly and encouraged me to give it a try. Without overthinking it she decided to just jump in and do it.

“Attending Heritage is the best thing I could have done. Not only is it a wonderful learning experience but the friendships I have made in this class have been heartwarming and encouraging. There were so many things I loved about design but didn’t know how to turn it into a business. Heritage has filled in the blanks for me and taught me how to develop the business side in conjunction with the creative.”

 

 

 

JANNA ALLBRITTON, YELLOW PRAIRIE INTERIORS

“It’s hard to believe I ever even questioned signing up for the program at Heritage. I learned so much, met some life-long friends, and had the BEST experience! My instructor said something one day that really stuck with me: “You already know the music, I’m just teaching you the lyrics.” Yes! That’s it exactly! I knew I had a passion for design. I knew it sounded like heaven to do something that I love. I also knew that I didn’t feel like I knew “enough” to start my own business without some education. The program at Heritage gave me the confidence and know-how to pursue my dream and to start my own business. Since graduation, all kinds of doors have opened. My work is being published in the 2015 fall/winter edition of Prairie Style Magazine, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some wonderful clients, and more exciting opportunities are on the horizon. If you’re on the fence about this whole design thing, but you KNOW you have a passion for it, just jump! Heritage School of Interior Design will be the best decision you ever made!”

 

NATALIA MAKARENKO, COMFORT HOMES LLC.

“I discovered my passion for interior design when my husband and I built our first home. Selecting paint colors, finishes and lighting fascinated me! Before enrolling at Heritage School of Interior Design, I was a stay at home mom to our 4 beautiful children who always inspire me to create. I later started helping my husband at his new home construction company, Comfort Homes LLC., helping him select colors and finishes but didn’t have the knowledge and confidence to be a designer for the company. I then heard about Heritage School of Interior Design from Heritage alum Jana Allbritton. I learned so much about the different styles of decorating and the elements and principles of design which has been very beneficial for me and my career. Also learning how to render a floorplan has been great for my clients who are more visual people like myself. Being able to do this now gives me a head start when working on a design project. I am able to use the knowledge I gained at Heritage to create any style of home, whether its coastal, casual, contemporary or traditional. I would absolutely recommend Heritage School of Interior design to all those passionate self artists who are creative and value beauty in all living spaces!”

View some of Natalia’s work by clicking the link here

 

REYNA BADILLO, SUMMIT WOOD CREATIONS

Reyna Badillo has always admired art and fashion and she grew up in an environment where she learned a lot about the beauty of wood. She later channeled her passion and knowledge for design into her own business, Summit Wood Creations, which specializes in custom furniture made from raw materials. After successfully running her business for 15 years, she wanted the opportunity to be more creative. She felt that her vision was limited to furniture and she wanted to be able to help her clients create a cohesive look in their home. After meeting Heritage Instructor and Alum, Misty Castleberry, she decided to take that next step by becoming more educated in interior design. After graduating from Heritage School of Interior Design, she feels that she has all the tools she needs to make her dream come true. Reyna says, “I always wanted to create a full line of furniture and now my vision is clear. I enjoy helping my clients make their dreams come true, too. I feel like everyone at Heritage really cares about my success – it feels like a family. I would recommend Heritage to anyone with a passion for interior design.”

 

AMY VAN DITTI, HERITAGE SCHOOL OF INTERIOR DESIGN 

“I can honestly say that Heritage School of Interior Design changed my life. Before graduating college I jumped into a routine 9-5 job, which took place in a typical office environment. The people were amazing and the top-notch succession planning had me set for life. The only problem? I wasn’t happy and I didn’t feel fulfilled. I had a degree in Business but a passion for design. Getting another degree in Interior Design wasn’t what I needed. I needed to know how to put business and design together! When I heard about Heritage from a successful alum, I immediately looked into it and found it was the perfect option for me. Although leaving a stable job to explore my passion was a risk, it was the best risk I’ve ever taken. The knowledge I received from instructors along with the inspiration and support from my classmates was truly invaluable. It launched me into my dream career that I thought I would never realistically have, and I couldn’t be happier. If you can’t stop imagining yourself on HGTV and you’ve been dreaming about doing Interior Design, please stop dreaming and sign up! I promise you won’t regret it.”

 

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MARIA STRAUSS, MARIA STRAUSS INTERIORS

“I attended Heritage School of Interior Design in 2013. Throughout every step of the program I felt I was given the tools and knowledge I needed to succeed as an Interior Designer. Not only did I learn the elements and principles of design, but I also learned how to run an independent design business, how to bill clients with confidence and how to brand and market a design business. The classes were taught by experienced Interior Designers who were able to share their real life experiences, which was extremely valuable for me as a student. All of the instructors were helpful and willing to spend as much time as necessary to fully explain challenging concepts. I truly felt that they had a vested interest in my success. I would highly recommend Heritage School of Interior Design to anyone who has a passion for Interior Design.” 

 

SUSAN NICHOLSON

Susan Nicholson discovered her passion for Interior Design like many of us do, by designing and decorating her own home. Her husband would frequently come home to a redesigned space and recognize how much work it must have been, but she didn’t consider it work at all. She did it simply because she loved it so much! Her friends and family encouraged her to purse Interior Design as a career and it was then that she stumbled upon Heritage School of Interior Design. Since graduating, she received the 2010 IDS District Style Award for Best Bathroom Design in Oregon as well as the IDS National Designer of the Year for Master Bedrooms. She attended the national awards ceremony for designers of the year in Las Vegas, which attracts hundreds of designers from all across the United States. Heritage gave Susan the confidence she needed to turn her passion into her livelihood. 

 

DENA SAMPSELL

“Hi! My name is Dena Sampsell and I am a 2014 graduate of Heritage School of Interior Design. I was a stay-at-home Mom to my two boys for 20 years and consider it the best job I could ever have. But like most moms, you find yourself lost after they leave home. That was me!!!! I was always told I had a good sense of design and should pursue it as a career. I looked into several options but couldn’t find one that suited my needs. Then…I ran into a friend who was an alumni of HSID and she highly recommended the school. When I asked her where this school was located, she said Portland, Oregon. Consider this…I’m from Magnolia, TEXAS!!!! I researched the school and knew it was the perfect choice for me. Soooo….I packed my bags and moved to Portland, Oregon for 4 months! It was the best and most awesome experience I have ever had! I graduated with an A+ grade (one point away from outstanding)!

After graduation, I moved back to Texas not knowing how HSID certification would help me. Fortunately, I have a girlfriend who is in the interior design business. Before I left Portland, she called to ask if I would like to work part-time at the business/store and I was very excited to accept that offer! But, unfortunately, the commute was very long from my house to her store and I was becoming weary of it! Circumstances presented themselves to my girlfriend for her to buy the interior design business/store that was connected with a flooring store. She asked if I would be interested in investing with her. I agonized over it for 3 months but made the decision that I needed to move forward. I am now part-owner in…ironically called…Heritage Interiors Designs in Baytown, Texas!!!  We are going through a major transformation and things are tough…bu I am very grateful to be where I am today. I never would have thought!

I knew before I left Portland that HSID would undergo some changes. Jan and Janis were awesome instructors! They gave me all the tools I needed to move forward. I feel confident that Stephanie was chosen for a reason to take over the school. I want to say to future HSID students, that if you have the desire, you can be successful! If I can do it…you can do it too! Good luck to all!!!!!” 

 

BREANNA CALIXTRO, BreAnna Lee Design,LLC

“I graduated from Heritage in April of 2012 and since then have immersed myself in the design industry.  I own BreAnna Lee Design, LLC and work out of the Urban ID Studio located in the heart of Portland. Really, I just LOVE what I do!  I have a deep and pure love for everything design.  I consider myself a “people person” and take great pleasure in getting to know clients while directing them through the design process.  Through hard work, inspiration, a lot of fun and some-decision making our team will create the unique space that you have been longing for.  My passion for all things design inspires me to continuously explore, create and further develop my professional skills through seminars, ongoing training, vendor meetings and anything else that seeks opportunity and/or growth.”

 

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LAURA EVANS, URBAN I.D.

After years of assisting family and friends with decorating their homes, Laura Evans realized that she wanted to turn her passion into her career. She accomplished this by enrolling in Heritage School of Interior Design in 2004, and since graduating has become an exceptional entrepreneur. She is the founder and owner of one of the first collaborative interior design studios, Urban I.D., and is also the owner of Laura Evans Interiors.

Laura’s outgoing and cheerful personality makes the entire design process enjoyable. Believing that the design process does not need to be difficult or expensive, she guides her clients through the project from begging to end to ensure that their true personality is reflected.

Laura has never regretted her decision to follow her passion and Heritage School of Interior Design gave her that confidence. Having her own business allows her to have great work-life balance and in her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband, David, family and friends (and dogs!), traveling, reading, and a nice glass of wine.

 

PATRICE WESTPHAL, URBAN I.D.

Patrice believes that especially in Oregon, living spaces should be comfortable, inviting and happy. Since graduating from Heritage School of Interior Design she has been able to make this happen for people everyday as her career! With her knowledge about the importance of color, texture, balance, scale and style she is able to create beautiful and functional spaces. She believes that everyone has “style” and with her skills she is able to bring that style to life. She enjoys working in a collaborative environment side-by-side with other Heritage grads at urban i.d.

 

LORI BROCK, URBAN I.D.

Lori Brock, a Heritage grad, began her interior design service in 1992 after 23 years of remodeling and new construction experience in her family’s remodeling business.  She is a registered general contractor, past board member of the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association), consultant, and an active member of the NWSID (NW Society of Interior Designers) and national member of IDS (Interior Design Society).

Being a native of the Northwest, brings long-term relationships with sub-contractors and vendors, familiarity of the area, and a network of excellent local resources.   Extensive travel and working in other parts of the country, including New Orleans, New York and southern California has also brought a comprehensive knowledge of the vast array of styles and new innovative products.

Lori believes interior design is a collaboration between the design team and the client.  Together they plan the details of the work before it begins, giving each party a sense of ownership to their particular role in bringing the design to fruition.

As an experienced interior designer, Lori’s work has garnered many accolades and opportunities.  Recently, while working on facilities for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., she was asked to design rooms for President George W. Bush and remodel and design the Green Room of the Eisenhower Hall Theatre used by President Barack Obama in his address to the nation from West Point.

She was also honored by being named in NW Home and Garden Magazine as one of the “Hot 25 Designers”, has had cover features in Design/Build Business, Impressions, and a full feature story in the coffee table book  “Spectacular Homes of the Northwest” as well as being featured in numerous other print and online media. 

 

SHANNON PONCIANO, URBAN I.D.

Shannon is a Heritage grad and an award winning designer. She successfully runs her own interior design business and continues to use her original background in fashion, textiles, and merchandising to create a vision and help her clients see their project come to life. This process of creative planning along with truly listening to, and understanding a clients needs, helps creates exceptional design fused with style and comfort.

Shannon is a lover of life and has a passion for design, fashion and style. She has the ability to help people create functional rooms that reflect their personal style. She is a great listener and has a way of understanding exactly what her clients are trying to achieve. 

 

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LAURA SABO, 13 Design Lane Interiors

“I found the instruction and education I received at Heritage School of Interior Design to be outstanding.  Not only did I receive the education I sought from experienced and knowledgeable interior designers, but I also gained the direction and confidence I needed to start my own business shortly after graduating.  Heritage also provided field trips for introduction to various vendors, which also has been very beneficial. If venturing on your own, one doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel trying to find reliable, tried-and-true companies

I would highly recommend Heritage School of Interior Design to anyone thinking of entering the world of interior design and be on their way to realizing their dream!  In a nutshell, it has been a life changing experience.” 

 

KATHRYN ARMANI

“Heritage School of Interior Design was the perfect place for me to learn the fundamentals of the Interior Design business. In addition to the excellent overview of the elements and principles of design, we learned how to develop our professional, business and marketing skills. I’ve had a successful design workroom for over 10 years thanks to Heritage. The instructors and students will become a part of your design family and give you the ongoing support you need to succeed.”

 

ANDREA COOK

“I went to Heritage School of Interior Design and since graduating my life has changed expontentially. I had always been in love with design and used my talent to build several houses throughout my life. I also helped many family and friends with interior design in their homes, but I never felt like I could make a career out of it. After going to Heritage I realzied that I actually could make a career out of something that I am extremely passionate about.  I learned all the fundamentals that were necessary to feel confident about my design abilities and developed the process I needed to bring my design plans to life while suiting clients needs. I also gained the professional selling and marketing skills I needed to start my own business.

I am now a designer in Southern Oregon and I have had wonderful clients who continue to give me the best recommendations. In fact, I have been able to grow much of my business simply from referrals. I have completed several full house remodels, from the ground floor to custom furniture,  fabrics for bedding and window treatments.

I also carry my own line of window treatments and fabrics through Layette interiors. I have made many great business relationships with design showrooms in the Portland area, all of which were resources that I was given access to through Heritage School of Interior Design.

I now have my dream job and a wonderful career, thanks to the best education, nurturing and guidance that Heritage School of interior Design has provided me.”

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