Interior Design

Interior Designers in High Demand

I often write about what we’re doing at the college to educate and inspire our students, but today I thought I should write about something heavy on my mind.  The challenge of late is being able to meet our industry’s demand for our graduates.   One of the reasons is that the twin cities (according to Forbes magazine) is #12 of 20 Building Boom Towns in the nation.  You can read the article here.  We have been receiving requests for our graduates from all over the state and Wisconsin.  If you’re a current or prospective student there’s no time greater time greater than the present to get your degree!

Organic Architecture and Interiors

Owatonna Bank

Early this spring Interior Design students at DCTC enjoyed a field trip to two significant historic icons of two of America’s most famous designers. First stop was the Owatonna, Minnesota bank (currently a Wells Fargo branch) designed by famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan in 1908. The form follows function directness and simplicity he was known for is obvious in its simple shape. It was to be the first of Sullivan’s “jewel boxes”. With limited entries and high windows it feels like a secure place to bank. Yet it also exhibits an unbelievable richness of applied ornament of sculpted terra cotta on richly textured brick. The interior space is vast and impressive, flooded by light and with huge chandeliers, locally inspired murals, and stained-glass windows designed by Louis J. Millet . Our second location was the last hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Sullivan’s one-time protégé . Located in Mason City, Iowa, the Historic Park Inn Hotel has been completely restored as a boutique hotel after years of hard times and neglect. The lobby area illustrates Wright’s signature use of “compression and expansion” to create a sense of both intimacy and drama through the use of different ceiling heights.  You can read more about the hotel at Both locations showed the students examples of famous, historic buildings integrating architecture and interior design in a way that is still noteworthy after over 100 years.

FLW Hotel- Mason City


Patricia Undlin, a 1982 graduate of the Interior Design program and a longstanding advisory board member, has led an extensive career in the interior design industry. Recently she worked with a client to commission a large-scale triptych painting for a home in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Read more about her great art adventure here:

Celebrating the life of Elaine Meisch



The Star Tribune published a wonderful obituary for Elaine Meisch, our program’s founder. May she rest in peace. Our faculty and students are working hard to continue the vision that she started for our program in 1970.

Icon of American History Preserved

010-drayton hall

A recent visit to Charleston, South Carolina provided deeper insight into architecture and interior space built during the 17th and 18th century in America.  Founded in 1738, Drayton Hall is the oldest preserved plantation house in America that’s still open to the public and a masterpiece of Georgian-Palladian architecture. It is operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The NTHP opted to preserve rather than restore the historic home which was obtained in 1974 from the family estate.  The original interior spaces of Drayton’s palace were finished with the finest examples of European and Charleston-made material goods, furniture, a wealth of imported ceramics, and fashionable artwork. Today we are left with amazing architectural millwork and ceiling details.  Notice the broken pediment above the fireplace with egg and dart molding.   I am constantly in awe at these historic structures and the craftsmanship that went into their creation.  I would definitely recommend a visit to learn firsthand about this classic structure.  Read more about Drayton Hall.   08-Drayton Hall  09 Drayton Hall  07- Drayton Hall

Design Inspiration in Costa Rica

Costa Rican Rain Forest

Nothing inspires design like travel and experiencing new visual stimulation.  I am continually encouraging my interior design students to see the world.  Recently I journeyed with my family to the country of Costa Rica. The experience gave new meaning to the term chromotherapy.  The color of the waterfall is affected by the mineral quartz, a bit of a contrast to the iron ore waterfalls we see in northern Minnesota.

Quartz Blue         Textural Differences

beach texture  beach splashing



Restoration of a Neo-Classic Townhome


Nathaniel_Russell_House_(Stair)  Dining Room, Nathaniel Russell House

A trip to Charleston, SC offers one a plethora of historic architecture.  One of the structures I recently explored is the Nathaniel Russell House.  The home is widely recognized as one of America’s most important neoclassical dwellings and has been restored to it’s 1808 grandeur.

Next week you can read about a historic mansion outside of Charleston and compare and contrast the styles that were built within a 50 year span. Note the progression in furnishings from the elaborate rococo ornamentation (Chippendale styled chair from Drayton Hall) to the refinement seen in the Sheraton dining chair used in this home. Attenuated legs, contrasting woods, and complex inlays embody the neoclassic style.

Compare these with the Charleston collection by Baker Furniture.  The Baker furniture piece is aptly named the Russell Chair.  The 3rd chair below in the white is Barbara Barry’s bracelet chair for Henredon.  Do you see a correlation of design inspiration?

017- Chippendale Nathaniel Russell  016- Sheraton Nathaniel Russell


chippendale        russell-dining-chairs  bracelet chair

Scholarship Support from NEWH


Kailee Helget, a 2nd year student recently received a scholarship from the local chapter of the Network of Hospitality professionals.  Kailee has been a star student since she arrived following in her aunt, Betty Ravnik’s footsteps.  Kailee has been interning this spring in Mankato and was offered a full-time job prior to her graduation attesting to her skill.  Betty is an alum from the program and current Interior Design Instructor at Alexandria Technical College.

CONGRATULATIONS Kailee! You can read more about NEWH and Kailee’s award here.

Commercial Studio Projects

CommI Office3 CommI Office CommI Office2 CommI Office4

Check out these great projects from our Commercial Studio students!
The project was to design a corporate office for a PR firm in Minneapolis. The students created floorplans and reflected ceiling plans in AutoCAD, modeled the reception area including a custom reception desk in SketchUp, and put together material boards with furniture and finishes.

Industry Advisor at DCTC named to top 100 Interior Design Giants

LinkedIn Office

The interior design program at DCTC has been in existence for over 40 years.  In that time we’ve touched the lives of many.  Kathy Huus, industry advisor and  former instructor, worked with our students for over 10 years.  Kathy recently had an opportunity to return to her home state and is now working for AP + I, a commercial interior design firm in Silicon Valley.

One of Kathy’s first projects on her return to the design industry was for LinkedIn. The project was published in the February issue of Interior Design magazine.  As an interior design firm, AP+I will also be featured as one of  the 100 interior design giants.  We’d like to congratulate Kathy and her team on their continued excellence in the Interior Design profession.

View the image gallery on office snapshots.

Explore the Interior Design program at DCTC.