Name: Becky Beary
Position: Interior Designer
Years in Corporate/Healthcare Furniture Industry: 8 Years
When did you first decide you wanted to be a designer? My senior year of high school, we were assigned a project in which we were to gather information on a career that we might be interested in pursuing. I chose to do mine on interior design. I interviewed a local decorator and although she was quite quirky, the seed was planted and I worked from there to pursue my career in interior design.
Education and certification? I graduated with an Associate of Art degree from Rock Valley Community College, achieved my Bachelor of Fine Art with a major in Interior Design from the Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg. I am a LEED Accredited Professional, NCIDQ-certified, and licensed with the state of Illinois to practice Interior Design.
Any other interesting jobs that helped you prepare for this job? Being a mom has definitely impacted how I design. I feel that having a deeper understanding of the specific user groups makes us better equipped to design successful spaces.
What do you love most about your job? Every problem has a solution. I love the process of a client having a design issue, whether it is a lack of natural light, unsightly finishes, uncomfortable furniture, or a dysfunctional layout, and being able to come up with creative solutions to solve the issue.
What has been your favorite or most memorable work you’ve done? Selecting architectural finishes and furniture for a historic 1800’s courthouse remodel.
Free time activities/hobbies? I love to hang with my family, exercise, and go camping.
Who or what inspires you most? My dad – he’s the rock of our family and our biggest supporter.
What’s something you can’t go a day without? Water and/or Chapstick
Who is your favorite designer of any field, and why? Bertrand Goldberg (Architect) – I’m a fan of Chicago architecture. I think if someone can stand and stare at one of your designs for hours on end, you’ve done a great thing.
Have you ever looked back on a project and thought, “Why did I do that?!” No, thank goodness. Every project has its challenges and the final product might not be exactly how you originally intended, but a successful project should have a collaborative team leading the decision process to ensure that the outcome meets or exceeds the client’s expectations.
What is the most pressing issue in the design community now? How do you deal with it? I’m sure it depends on the particular market you focus on, but I frequently work in the healthcare environment and the need for bariatric accommodations is an issue on every project. It’s sad that is as prevalent as it is, but being in commercial design, it is our responsibility to know and understand who is using the space and to make the space fully accessible for them.
What is the biggest misconception by the public about commercial design? That it’s boring! It’s a constant challenge and learning process that frequently involves research and I find that very rewarding.
What changes in the industry have you witnessed since starting in design? Technology is always improving and we are able to provide the client realistic images of what their space can look like during schematic design!
As a designer, what is your most valuable piece of technology? CAD
What advice would you give a commercial designer just starting out in the industry? Don’t be afraid to share your ideas no matter how “new” you are to the team; it might just be what the project is missing!