Author Archives: Victoria Guerrero

Q&A: 2011 IIDA Student Sustainable Design Competition Winner, Katie Goodman

In honor of the 2012 IIDA Student Sustainable Design Competition, we’ve caught up with a past winner of the competition!  In 2011, a team consisting of Katie Goodman, Liz Kahn, Jennifer Madden, and Sarah Martin, all from Drexel University won the competition for the Drexel Smarthouse.  We had a Q&A with one of the winners, Katie Goodman, and here’s what she told us about what she’s been up to since then!

Q: University Attended?

A: I graduated from DrexelUniversity in June [2012]

Q: Where do you currently work?

 A: At the moment I am looking for a job in retail design while doing some freelance work on the side.

Q: What year did you win the Student Sustainable Design Competition?

A: December 2011

Q: What was your initial reaction when you won the Student Sustainable Design competition?

A:  Upon winning the SSDC I was absolutely shocked.  I wasn’t anticipating anything at all.

Q: What inspired you to enter the competition?

A: My teammates on the project discovered the competition and thought it would be great exposure for the project and the Drexel Smarthouse as a whole.  As a member of IIDA I thought it would be a wonderful idea and fun to try our luck with a project we spent so much time and passion for.

Q: What inspired you to pursue Interior Designer? 

A: I have always been passionate about architecture and design as a whole.  I have always found myself looking at space as a three dimensional puzzle and I was drawn to Interior Design through the combination of these passions.

Q: What have you been up to since winning the competition (work, school, etc.) and tell us about that experience?

A: Since winning in December I have received my masters in interior architecture + design.  Upon graduating I took a trip to Colombia to visit a friend with an architectural/engineering company.  While there I had an unforgettable experience and a chance to learn about design and architecture in South America.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to this year’s entrants, what would it be?

A: One piece of advice I would have is to think outside the box.  Through my experiences with Drexel Smarthouse we pushed ourselves to think further outside our comfort zone and it has definitely paid off.

A plan for the Drexel Smarthouse, winner of the 2011 Student Sustainable Design Competition.

To view more photos of their winning project, click here.

It’s not too late to enter the 2012 IIDA Student Sustainable Design Competition.  Submissions are being accepted until November 15!  Click here for your entry form!  And click here to see entries that have already been submitted.

Voting begins on the last day submissions are being accepted, November 15!


The Art of Keeping Calm

We all lose our cool sometimes, and as students, we all know how easy it is to get stressed out.  In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m on the phone with my bank! If that’s not enough to make anyone want to pull their hair out, I don’t know what is.  I’m going to take a bit of the advice I’m sending you way, and apply it to my situation.  So what should you do to keep calm?  Read on!

Breathing exercises Just learning the art of breathing correctly can increase your mood and help mellow you out a bit.

Meditation: You’ll often feel like even if you take a minute off from your busy schedule that you’re being unproductive. When in reality you end up watching Modern Family on Hulu for an hour.  Instead, just take anywhere from five to 15 minutes to relax your mind.  You’ll be much more refreshed when you’re done and incorporating meditation into you daily routine will allow you to remain calm and mellow throughout your day..

Look at the bright side:  Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?  Sure this huge project may seem like the end of world now, but think about what it might do for you in the long run.  If relevant, this is a project you can add to your professional portfolio which you can leverage when hunting for internships and jobs.  Even though it’s difficult, do the best you can now and the rewards can be endless.

The 3 Easiest Ways to Add a Special Touch to Your Dorm

It’s easy to walk into a Target or Walmart and grab checklist that’ll tell you exactly what you need for a great year.  While these lists are helpful, they won’t always tell you about style and functionality.  You’ve got your own kind of style, and we’re here to give you some fun tips on how to best unleash it.

  • A super fun project I’ve seen a lot of friends embark on is hanging photos from a decorative ribbon or even a fish wire to create a close line display across a large wall

Photos on a wire can decorate an entire wall

  • You might not be able to paint your dorm, but adding color through a fun rug, wall decal, and quilts help keep things lively

Aside from decals, you can add a personal touch, like the homemade t-shirt on this wall

  • Old calendars can really be your best friend.  Often they’ll feature absolutely gorgeous, glossy high quality images that you can easily frame or hang on your wall to make a collage.

A Paris-themed locker size calendar from a prior year provided a fun reminder of this student’s goal to travel to Paris, and right on her dresser!

The Benefits of Volunteering…Right Now!

When one thinks of volunteering, the thought of pet shelters and soup kitchens are usually the first thoughts that come to mind.  However, did you know that you can put your own blossoming Design expertise to good use right now?  Yes, we know you’re a student, and yes, I did say right now.  Plenty of start-up businesses and non-for-profits would love your help in making their spaces great!

  •  A great place to start is  This website literally has every volunteer opportunity you can think of (even Design-related opportunities), plus you can search for opportunities by area code, to ensure you don’t have to stray too far.
  •  Don’t be afraid to go out there and offer your own services!  But please, do come prepared.  Have a well thought out strategy prepared for the place you’re pitching to, and you’ll be sure to impress!  Sure, if you’re hired they’ll probably have plenty of ideas they’ll want you to work with, but this is a way of showing you’re serious about the project.  Plus, the worst they can say is “no”.
  •   If you are an IIDA Student Member, you can keep connected to either your campus center or nearest city/ regional center to see if anything may have crossed their laps.  You can even bring your volunteer idea to them and try to generate a team!

Aside from the obvious (good performance is always in style!) you’ll have a great learning experience under your belt that you can reference to when interviewing for jobs and internships.  Being a “self-micromanager” to your own volunteer initiative can often be even more valuable!

Volunteer work can also be a great time!

An Ode to Back to School: Senior Year

Recently, I received an e-mail from, alerting me that my free one-year student prime membership would soon be expiring.  To me, this meant the horror of no longer having free shipping.  Despite that fact that it is only July, I frantically began thinking about the books I needed for my classes—I really, really don’t enjoy paying for shipping.

But as the story came up amongst friends in casual conversation over the past few days, literally everyone told me to stop talking about it.  They were either in summer school and didn’t want to think about more school, or were enjoying, relaxing and not thinking about school at all.  This left me somewhat puzzled—was it that dreadful thought about our final year in school?  Was it fear?  I can relate to these mixed feelings of sadness, imagining the final days of an undergraduate career slipping away, or just the anxiety of what feels like yet one more exhausting work year ahead.

I sense that many of you out there are in that same position—these jumbled emotions of being excited, ready to begin your careers, but still wanting to hold onto that last precious piece of juvenility.  Why not take this last year in stride?  There is something refreshing about feeling like an actual student, one last time.  The summer preceding your senior year is the turning point in which you start thinking about how you are to advance your career, particularly through internships.  I would imagine and hope that many of you are currently interning or are looking to begin that process soon.

I feel that many of you in this position would agree—just having that small taste of what the “real world” will be like, no matter how much you’re looking forward to new opportunities.  It truly makes you cherish that last year when your top priority is still as simple as making the grade.

Pain Free Ways to Stay Productive Over the Summer

I know. I get it.  It’s July and the last thing on our minds is probably school or our future career—or at least we pretend that it’s not in our thoughts.  But there are plenty of painless ways to stay productive over the summer!

  • Work on Your Online Portfolio-  Whether your studying Interior Design, business management, a combination of the two or almost anything really, an online portfolio is now an essential part of the rat race.  Sure, you may not yet be asked for it at every interview, but wouldn’t you rather say you have it?  Having one comprehensive place that displays your best work in one easy to access place is invaluable. Check out Wix, they offer creative templates for easy to make online portfolios.  Bonus: Most of it’s free!
  • Make a Job Hunt Routine- Whether you’re seeking full-time employment or an internship opportunity, make it a habit to check your resources regularly.  Resources include your schools’ internship database and checking in with your local IIDA chapter for leads.  It doesn’t have to be on a daily basis, but make it a habit to check every Tuesday and  Thursday—as long as you have a schedule that works for you. Letting time slip away and not checking for new opportunities could easily set you up for missed connections
  • Learn the Ins and Outs of LinkedIn- Or even just make one if you haven’t done so yet.  LinkedIn is a vast land that can be learned over time, a lot of times by simply using it, other times by typing in “How to use LinkedIn…” on google.  One thing is simple: Connect with those you know, especially if they are in your industry.  Start there and run with it.  Make sure to keep in touch with the connections you make, otherwise, what’s the point?
  • Get Inspired- Simple enough, right?  There are a ton of little things around us daily that can inspire us.  There are entire blogs dedicated to getting you off the couch and into your dreams.  Just take a moment to breath it all in and to smell the flowers.  It is still summer after all!

Observations from a Design “Outsider”

Like many of you, I am a student.  Unlike many of you, I am not studying Interior Design.  Or Architecture.  Or anything that would immediately, remotely appear to be related to the Design industry at all.  Despite my status as a double major in communications and history, since joining IIDA in early April as the communications intern, I’ve learned more than I ever thought I’d know about Interior Design and it’s day-to-day operations.  Much of this knowledge has stemmed from being able to participate in the IIDA preparations for NeoCon 2012.

1)      Everything would fall apart without proper communication channels-  Everything. And I mean it.  Without efficient forms of communication, the show would just be a lot of vendors in one place—and no one outside of NeoCon would have any idea what happened at the show.  Kind of defeats much of the purpose, doesn’t it?

2)      Design Students deserve major credit –  It’s not that I previously thought they didn’t—but seriously.  Wow, just wow.  You never really know how much work goes into a Design project until you see it first hand.  I had the privilege of observing the Student Design Charette during NeoCon and let me just say, the amount of hands on work they were able to put in, in such a sort time, was remarkable.

But really…Design students deserve a medal.
(Team 2, Student Design Charette, 6/12/2012)

 3)      Showroom Appearance Can Make (or break) appeal-  AIS had an amazing showroom concept— the office furniture company went with an urban dance theme, complete with DJ, fun colored lights, and name tag “bling” for their employees.  Their showroom party (which featured a dance crew!) was highly attended and consistently raved about around NeoCon.  Who wouldn’t want to see what sort of product was being displayed in a showroom like that?  That translates to Designers making an impression on a client, too.  Well, maybe a little less bling, but the concept’s the same.

The AIS showroom was enough to make anyone want to dance! At least it did for me!

4)      There are so many tiny steps that go into designing a space-  Every detail in the room matters, and every detail within that detail matters.  Should the chair be leather or fabric?  What kind of leather?  Stain resistant or commercial grade fabric?  And we haven’t even gotten into color yet.  This may be obvious to those who’ve studied Design, but for someone who previously never thought that deeply about it, it truly is AMAZING seeing the work that goes into creating a space the rest of us blindly enjoy.