We recently had the pleasure of interviewing two of our Spring 2023 Fundamentals students here in Denver, Ann Marie Winkler and Kelly Sweeney. The bonus? They’re sisters, which is a first for HSID Denver! We are so excited for them to be embarking on this journey together.
1. Why did you choose to pursue Interior Design as your career?
Ann Marie: I have been a nurse for seven years and have traveled for the last three years. It has taught me so much about myself and humans in general. In the last few years, I have moved every 3-6 months and have officially been coast to coast. Every place is so unique and teaches me something new. I’ve always considered myself a creative social person. Our mom always included us when decorating our home. She let us decorate our bedrooms however we wanted. I know first-hand how interior decorating can turn a place from a house into a safe, personalized home. I love that in this new career, I get to use my creativity and help people create that special place where they feel happy and comfortable.
Kelly: I had been in operations and tech consulting for about ten years and didn’t love it. When I thought about the next five or ten years, I didn’t love the path I was on. I wanted to get into a career that could utilize my skillset and allow me to be more creative. We moved around a lot growing up and our mom always re-did the house and included us in the process. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed interior design and wanted to pursue it as my career.
2. What is your future career goal as an interior designer?
Ann Marie: We plan on starting a firm together called Huron Interiors. Although we both agreed to keep an open mind while going through school, we’re trying to learn and see what we naturally gravitate towards.
Kelly: Like Ann Marie said, to start an interior design firm together. We’re thinking of starting in residential and seeing where it takes us!
3. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Ann Marie: I’m always taking note of my surroundings – of things I like, don’t like, how I would change it. One of the best parts of moving so often was exploring new neighborhoods. Whenever we went to restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, I would tuck ideas I liked in the back of my head and see how to incorporate them into my space back home or apply them to other areas.
Kelly: A lot of Pinterest, social media, and magazines!
4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Ann Marie: To never apologize for needing clarification. We are all human and don’t know everything. So it’s okay to ask for more help.
Kelly: Fear can be a good thing – don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ or try something that puts you out of your element. It’s okay to feel and look like a fool if it means you’re continuing to grow.
5. What’s your favorite thing about your sister and what are you most excited
about taking the program together?
Ann Marie: Her hand-me-downs? But actually, I could never pick one thing. Kelly is brave and so incredible at making people feel welcomed and important. She’s so passionate about the people and things she loves. I’m really excited to take this program with Kelly because we can compare and learn everything. I love to see the similarities and differences in the spaces we are designing in class. I know I can show Kelly an idea and she’ll give me her honest opinion.
Kelly: Too many things to list out! I am obsessed with her, but her kindness, genuineness, and creativity are some qualities that jump out to me. She’s always willing to jump in and help with whatever is going on, is a great sounding board for issues, and always has great ideas to improve any situation/project!
6. Anything else you’d like to share?
Ann Marie: We’re so excited to be here at Heritage and looking forward to what the future brings!
Kelly: It’s been such a joy being at Heritage, immersing myself in design, and feeling like I finally found the right career path. Having my sister by my side has made the experience even better. Due to our age difference, we never overlapped in school, so it’s been fun getting to know our learning styles and working together on building our future company!