Julie Traveled from Canada to Portland to Pursue her
Passion for Interior Design
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. Eclectic, eastern influences are very inspiring to me in design. When I returned home I began playing with the design of the loft that I rent in Edmonton. I also started a band and began touring. When I was away, either on tour or traveling, I would sublet my apartment and I got a lot of positive feedback from people who had seen my space on social media. My friends started asking me for design advice and eventually I began renting my place on Air Bnb. The response I have gotten on the site has been overwhelming!
After being in a band for a while I started to realize that being a professional musician may not actually be an ideal career for me. I decided to begin exploring other options and registered in an Introduction to Residential Interiors course at The University of Alberta just to test the waters. I had researched several programs in the Pacific Northwest with the intention of moving out of Edmonton and relocating further west, possibly to British Columbia. I discovered Heritage School of Interior Design online and was really impressed by the reviews I read. I had been to Portland twice before and loved it. Stephanie was really informative and accommodating with my application process and so I decided to enrol in the Spring Certification Program. I was excited to combine my love of Interior Design and my passion for travel and immersing myself in a new place.
The process of getting to Portland actually went fairly smooth. I believe that if you are on the right track, then things will align as they should. I was able to find a couple to rent my place for almost the exact time period that I would be in school. I had money saved and I arranged for accommodations in Portland through Air Bnb. I am currently staying/camping at a commune/hostel of sorts and will soon be moving into a tiny home cabin for the remainder of my stay. I’m learning the value of space while inhabiting very tiny spaces!
So far my experience at Heritage has been extremely positive! Stephanie has been super supportive and Michele is a fantastic instructor. The learning is very hands on and thorough. It’s also great that Michele has a background in sustainable design and this can be incorporated into the curriculum.
After graduating from Heritage I am hoping to work in home accessory imports as well as residential interior design. I still love to travel and have lots more places to check off my list. I’d like to start importing my favorite items to sell online at home while still doing freelance design work. At some point down the road I would ideally like to expand the online store to a retail space somewhere in British Columbia. Until then I will be absorbing as much information and inspiration as I can!