Design, Life

In 1989 I began my Interior Design classes at Michigan State University. I’ll never forget my first class assignment: creating a complete design, from soup to nuts, for a new restaurant to be housed in a renovated library in Massachusetts. The task seemed enormous! What had I gotten myself into? I knew I could draw and paint but I had never tapped into this side of my creativity before. It would prove to be a challenge! My first board was basically rejected by the professor. I was so angry with her, but even more so, disappointed with myself! After swallowing my pride I took another stab at it and this time ended up with a very nice result and a good grade to boot! The images below are my final boards submitted throughout the term.

The first task was to create a name and come up with a theme that would tie the whole design together. I settled on the name Binders and added: “Your Intelligent Choice In Fine Dining” which represented the main theme.

Once the theme was determined, it was time to design the wallpaper and carpet. It seemed simple enough, boy was I wrong! After many painstaking hours of looking at carpet and wallpaper samples, considering the theme, location, and a million other little details, I settled on an elegant flower and leaf pattern. I created a template for both, transferred them, and drew in the remaining details. Then it was time to add color. Simple, right?  I’ll spare you the gory details such as: markers drying up half-way through, running to the store at the 18th hour only to find that the colors don’t match; working on the “wrong” side of the paper; accidentally coloring outside a line and having to start all over, AGAIN; running out of supplies; hand-cramping, starving, sleep-deprivation, etc…

Next came the design of the menu. Although this task was less fraught with problems, it was very time-consuming. For those of you not familiar with Interior Design, it is a very PRECISE art form. Professors expect perfection, especially in lines, lettering, measurements, etc. Don’t even get me started with drafting!

The last part of the assignment was to design the packaging; one small and one medium box, and a take-out bag. Of course we couldn’t run to the nearest Hallmark and modify existing packages, we had to create them, from scratch. It was accomplished by scoring and folding the heavy weight paper in just the PRECISE fashion. Once created, it was time to apply the design (Refer to Gory Details of Wallpaper and Carpet).

Needless to say, I survived! Which I think is the goal of some of these intro classes – to weed out those who aren’t tough enough (or crazy enough) to complete the program. And I learned a great deal about design, materials, construction, and myself!

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