Contrary to popular belief, our daily schedule as interior designers doesn’t typically involve fluffing pillows, styling bookshelves, or picking out pretty fabrics. Instead, we often find ourselves knee-deep in architectural drawings, specification sheets, and meetings. So many meetings! We get down to the nitty-gritty of a project in those behind-the-scenes details, and quite frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
This week, Athena Interiors have welcomed university student, Caitlin, to join us for her work experience placement for university. Caitlin has been shadowing our Design team to gain an insight into the day to day life of an Interior Designer. We asked her the following questions:
Caitlin, tell us a bit about yourself:
Hi I’m Caitlin! I am a 20 year old student about to embark on my third year of my Interior Design and Styling degree at Arts University Plymouth. I have always been quite artistic so I naturally chose Art for my GCSEs and A levels and it was during my first year of GCSEs that I knew I wanted to go into interior design. My passion for interior design was also sparked by playing ‘The Sims’ and would spend hours designing houses for virtual people and I thought I would love to do this for a living and use my creative skills in a way.
My key objective as a designer is to create psychologically thought, impactful spaces for a variety of people making sure they are accessible for all. I am interested in the way individuals perceive and experience spaces. Besides design I love going on walks with my cavapoo Honey, finding new music to listen to in the car, cooking recipes that I find on TikTok and drinking lots of iced lattes!!
What made you choose Athena Interiors for work experience?
I remember seeing an article about Athena Interiors’ opening a few years ago on Cwmbran Life and had kept it in my mind! I contacted Athena during Covid for some experience, however, due to the unfortunate situation there wasn't an opportunity for me. I then contacted again and was given the opportunity for 3 days work experience! So it just goes to show do not give up and sometimes it's not a now it's a not yet! I am not the biggest fan of picking up the phone and ringing people, however, I am so glad I took myself out of my comfort zone as it has given me this amazing opportunity to further enhance my skills.
What have you learned from working with the Design team this week?
I have learnt so much over the 3 days I was at Athena Interiors and as a student it was so insightful. I had the opportunity to go onto a finished site and got the chance to understand and plot electrical and lighting plans as the last part of the handover. By doing this it will help me to become a better designer as I need to think of the position of these things in a space! It's also been fun understanding the difference between residential and commercial design in terms of regulations and the FR ratings for fabrics. This opportunity has helped me to further develop my communication skills and has helped me to network with a variety of people.
What have you most enjoyed about your time at Athena Interiors?
I genuinely have enjoyed every second of being at Athena. Sarah, Christina and Lloyd were so welcoming from the first moment I met them and made me feel a part of the team! I knew that I would come out of the experience with a bit more of an insight into the working world in interior design, however, not as much as what I have learnt! The whole team have so much knowledge and were willing to answer every question I had (which was a lot!) in a lot of depth, so I was pretty much learning every second I was there!
Has your time at Athena Interiors given you an idea of what career path you’d like to take?
Before my work experience I knew I wanted to venture into commercial design. However, the last few days have opened my eyes to residential design and how fun it can be working on smaller projects and I have also learnt about some restrictions I would have as a creative if I was to focus on Commercial due to the many restrictions and regulations you have to follow! Athena has a mix of residential and commercial projects so it would be nice in the future to have that mix within a job so each day is different and I would get some experience in both sectors! If anything it has made me realise that this is definitely the career I want to pursue.
We wish Caitlin the best of luck with her studies and hope to see her again in the future!