“If you can do what you love and get paid for it, that’s the best job”
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. “Helping friends repaint or style a room in their house was a joy for me!” She enjoyed every opportunity she had to decorate whether it was for church events, weddings or Christmas.
Debbie first heard about Heritage School of Interior Design from her friend and Heritage grad Janna Allbritton in October 2014. Janna was about to graduate and told Debbie about the school and how it helped to inspire her. “I was so excited for her and then I thought to myself, ‘this is what I’ve always wanted to do! Why not me? What is stopping me?'” At this moment she remembered a quote she had heard before: “If you can do what you love and get paid for it, that’s the best job”. This led her to pursing an education in design and she began to research Heritage.
Before enrolling, she wanted her family’s support and she needed to overcome some obstacles: the cost, the time, and needing to keep her job to help support the family. “I began to have serious doubts and for months I just kept it to myself and prayed about it.” After a couple months of researching all the questions she had, she finally decided to talk to her family. “Obstacle 1: MONEY. My husband said, “We have some money set aside; I want to see you fulfill your dream”. Obstacle 2: JOB. I was so happy to see that Heritage had a weekend class I could attend so that I wouldn’t have to quit my job. Obstacle 3: TIME. Yes it was a time commitment. Every Saturday for 6 months but I decided I could handle it.” Debbie was so thankful that her family was supportive and they were truly excited for her to follow her dreams.
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. “My teacher, Janis, at Heritage is amazing. I love her so much. She is so smart and funny. Every Saturday is like being with a bunch of my girlfriends. Every Saturday I wish I would have done this sooner!”
“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.
Debbie has now started her own design business, All Things New Interior Designs. Click here to follow her on instagram!