The Beginning Of A Designer

What is it that makes one person a designer versus another? I am not sure that there is an actual answer to this question, but it seems my destiny was laid out for me at an early age…

When I was a little girl I rearranged my room and organized it all the time, for a while I think it was on a weekly basis. My mom loved it as I was always cleaning my room in order to rearrange it. At one point I had to share a room with my sister, we had divided the room in half to keep our things separated. She was always messy and left things on the floor and behind her bed, I on the other hand had everything neatly in place.

I had designed a cardboard dollhouse for my sister’s hamsters. The frame was one of those science fair 3 fold cardboard stands. It had 2 levels – a main floor consisting of a Living Room, Kitchen, and Dining Room, with a 2nd level containing two Bedrooms. I installed carpet, vinyl flooring, wallpaper, & painted the walls. I was always creating something – drawing, sketching, sewing, gluing.

As I became a little older I started designing clothes for a Barbie Doll (a hand me down from an Aunt). I used the red net bags from onions, tape, thread, paper, and anything else I could get my hands on. I then designed my Grade 9 Grad Prom dress as well as my sister’s and our Grade 12 Graduation Gowns as well. The colours selected were daring at the time, there was nothing else like them in style at any of the proms or graduations – we did stand out from the rest! I can’t believe we wore them, I love my sister for being brave and wearing what I created for her.

As a teen my mother taught me how to paint and indulged me when I decided to put my new skills to the test and painted my bedroom lavender with dark purple casings, baseboards and doors – it was not a great combination, but I loved it! The room stayed this way for many years and I smiled every time I saw it after moving out. To become a Clothing Designer was only a dream, leaving and living in another country or large metropolitan city was not an option that had entered my mind at this point in my life.

All of the psychological / career tests done through junior & senior high school had 2 routes for me – the creative path or the logical path. Thinking the creative path would not get me a job that paid well I followed my logical side. I had decided I would become a lawyer as a career and entered my first year of university as a Bachelor of Arts student. I didn’t enjoy it and wasn’t doing well at any of the courses and became frustrated and confused. I decided to take a year off and worked as a Chiropractic assistant. This made me realize this was also not the career path for me and that I didn’t like this type of work or it’s environment, so I went back to school. My second year of university I enrolled in a few Home Economics courses in design and started to excel. This led me to transfer from the BA program to the BSc in Home Economics. I majored in Clothing and Textiles, within it taking the residential courses offered at the time. My career path became a little clearer, knowing that it should be in design, but what kind of design I wasn’t sure yet.

Follow me on my journey of how I became an Interior Designer. Following with the lessons I have learned over the years as an Interior Designer.

Shane Sellwood