I is for Interior Designer: Student works to further career in design

Louisville senior Danielle DePorter interned at Bittners, a design firm in Louisville, this past summer and said, “I felt like I was more prepared than all the other interns.” DePorter is a member of WKU’s interior design program.

Monta Reinfelde

Danielle DePorter said a lot of people don’t really know what interior design is. The Louisville senior said there is a perception that interior design is only about picking out furniture and bed spreads. However, she said this is not the truth at all.

DePorter is an interior design student at WKU and said that her choice to study the major was not random. She said her parents had a huge impact on her making this decision when she was just a child.

“My mom was always changing things around the house, and I always loved it.” DePorter said. “My dad studied architecture for a while, so I guess those genes were kinda passed on to me too.”

Designing residential spaces, like picking out bed spreads, isn’t the part of interior design that DePorter wants to do with her life.

“I really want to do commercial design,” she said. “I am more interested in an architectural part of interior design than in just decorating. The whole purpose of commercial design is health, safety and welfare of the public. I want to benefit others through buildings.”

Interior design is actually a high-tech occupation, DePorter said. She is on the computer most of the time in her classes.

DePorter uses Photoshop and Publisher, but mostly AutoCAD, an architectural design program.

“I am very much a perfectionist,” she said. “So it is a lot easier for me to make things exactly how they would look in life.”

Although DePorter isn’t into designing homes, she decorated her own room, which, in means of style, greatly differs from designs that she is used to doing for projects.

“My style is very clean, very minimalist when I am designing for commercial spaces,” she said. “But I feel like, in my home it is cozy, more vintage and not as modern.”

DePorter said that a great deal of inspiration for her designs comes from other people’s work and the world around her.

“I am really inspired by graphic design, which I do not think people believe correlate to interior design,” she said, “I look at blogs a ton and read architecture and design magazines, such as Dwell.”

DePorter’s academic advisor is Sheila Flener, who is a family and consumer sciences instructor from Bowling Green. Flener said she has a great appreciation for DePorter and her work.

“She is a really great, upstanding student,” Flener said. “I think it is her enthusiasm and drive to not just slap something on a piece of paper and hand it in. She really thinks about what she does. She is focused on her future.”

Since DePorter said she is aware of the fact that the time to apply for a job is coming soon, she has started to work with clients outside the classroom.

“Currently, I am working on a project with a private client from Louisville, designing the dentist office,” DePorter said.

Kristin Wallace, a senior interior design student from Louisville and a good friend of DePorter’s, has her own opinion why DePorter does such a great job on her projects.

“Dani is a super hard-worker,” Wallace said. “She comes in early and stays in late. Design for her is not nine to five, it is a lifestyle.”

Even though DePorter said she has not applied for a job yet, she does have some ideas where she would like to work. However, later in life, DePorter’s ultimate goal is not to be an employee but an employer.

“I would love to have my own firm one day,” she said.