Life of a Design Student: What I’ve Been Up To


Hey there, friends!  It has been quite a while!  Design school has been keeping me incredibly busy these past three weeks.  In fact, this is the first time I have actually opened my computer in almost a month — everything technical has been done quickly and on my iPhone.  So…about those e-mails… heh.  Sorry if it took me for-freaking-ever to respond to you.  I will try to be better about that, but this is pretty much the first break that I have had since I started my program at the beginning of the month.

For those of you who don’t know, my program is six months long and is divided up into modules.  I just finished a two-week module about Lighting, and this week we started Fabrication and Business Practices.  I have a ton of information about lighting that I feel compelled to share with you, and I am so glad that I started school with Lighting because, really, great lighting is the most important thing when it comes to design.  Over the course of two weeks, we studied beautiful spaces, and beautiful spaces that lost their beauty because of poor lighting.  More on that in the coming days/weeks.

For this post, I want to share with you what I’ve been up to!  Weeks one and two were filled to the brim with projects.  One assignment that we had was to take the vocabulary words from a list that our instructor gave us and find pictures in magazines that identified with the words. Then we had to professionally organize them into a presentation notebook that we could potentially use for our clients.  Think of this like an example book, wherein if you want to show your client great examples of outdoor carriage lights or firelight, you have pictures right at your fingertips for inspiration.

We had a huge project due on Monday that we worked on for two weeks.  Part of the project included lighting blueprints for a bathroom, bedroom, closet, laundry room, kitchen, and dining room.  Yes, I learned how to draw up electrical blueprints…but that’s not all!  I also learned how to look at developing blueprints and be able to tell my client what should be changed, what should be added, and what should be eliminated altogether.  That was Week 1, people.  I was shocked that I was able to do that after only being in school for a week.  It was an amazing and empowering feeling!

Another part of our project was to make a Color Board.  A color board is like an organized plan of colors, textures, cabinet/furniture finishes, etc. — basically anything that you can use to make up a room. On our color board, we also needed to add two renderings of the bedroom and the dining room, and we needed to include all of the rooms in our electrical planning in the color board.  So basically?  We were choosing a ton of samples.

My design school is lucky enough to have really good relationships with many of the showrooms at the Design Center in Scottsdale, so we spent almost an entire day inside of Kravet selecting samples for our color board.  It was so much fun, but it was also really nerve-wracking!  I fell in love five times over that day, and I left with samples that I was crazy about.

Speaking of falling in love, check out this amazing Maya Romanoff wallcovering that I chose for my color board.

Maya Romanoff Wallpaper {Inspiration Affirmation}
Those are tiny glass beads.  Are you dying yet?  ;-)  It’s so beautiful.  I used this for an entire accent wall in my kitchen layout.

My school has a design studio within its walls, so all of us students are so spoiled with all of the samples and fabric and wallpaper we could ever dream of.  :-)  It’s like spending the day in paradise.

Anyway, after two weeks of nonstop work and absolutely no time to read my precious Harry Potter book (lol) I finished my project.

Color Board {Inspiration Affirmation}
There she is, in all her glory, and I am one proud parent.  ;-)  Maybe when I get it back I will take better pictures and talk about it a little bit more if you all want me to, but for now, this is the finished product.

electrical blueprint 2

Electrical Blueprints  {Inspiration Affirmation}

Rendering  {Inspiration Affirmation}
Rendering  {Inspiration Affirmation}
Added to all of these things, we also had to choose every piece of furniture, and every light fixture from catalogs that we have at the school.  A lot of work, but so much fun!  My instructor always tells us to “Think Three-Dimensionally,” and although that is a challenge when you are having to visualize a space in your mind, it’s also so much fun!

designer puppy
Did I mention that we have a little friend who hangs out at the school, too?  This is Penelope.  She’s pretty much our little designer dog mascot.  She spends her days selecting fabrics and sleeping inside of a luxury handbag.  Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

My apartment is a mess, my desk is crazy, I am running on no sleep…but I am having so much fun!  I feel so blessed to be able to do this, and I’m so excited to share with you all of the things that I learn.  :-)

my desk
I hope to be blogging more in the coming weeks, but if I don’t…you know where I am.  ;-) I hope you all have been well and that 2013 is a great year so far!

Inspiration Affirmation Signature





  1. Erika @ Our Cozy Cubbyhole

    Yay- glad you are back! Congrats Maria! Everything looks amazing and it seems like you are thriving at school! I am so happy for you (though I had no doubts you would rock it!). Isn’t it so crazy how fast you make progress in a short program?!

    You aren’t alone on the hard work and messy apartment stuff either… tis the life of a design school student! ;)

  2. Pingback: Lighten Up! « Inspiration Affirmation
  3. Lauryn Ashey

    Ohmygosh, M! I am BLOWN AWAY! You are incredible! I am so proud of you and all your hard work. I can’t wait to see what else you do in school! You are so talented! xx

  4. Sarah {Lacquer & Linen}

    Congrats on starting school Maria!! I can’t believe your program compacts all that into only six months! Mine was a year and a half and I was over my head with work every waking minute! Good for you, keep up the awesome work!!! Your board,drawings and plans look great, I am so excited for all you will get to learn in the upcoming months! Makes me want to go back! Have fun :-)

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