Interior Design Program, Students Featured in 2007 Showcase House

Three former Dakota County Technical College students got the chance of a lifetime to work in the premier event for Minnesota interior designers this past spring.

Each year, the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers selects one interior design program to design a room for their annual fundraiser, the Showcase House. This year, DCTC’s program was selected, and students Laura Paulson, Brian Bruce and Ann Ludwig were chosen to design and renovate a bathroom for the 2007 ASID Showcase House.

The three of them worked with DCTC adjunct instructor and local designer Letitia Little on the project. Little designed the adjoining bedroom.The project was for a historic house on St. Paul’s Summit Ave. and was a challenge throughout. The size and specifications of the room kept changing – forcing numerous redesigns. The three of them adapted well, Little said, and because of the skills they obtained at DCTC the three were able to finish the room on time.

Despite the numerous changes, Little said the three did a fantastic job and represented DCTC very well.

“The bathroom was hard because things kept changing throughout the process,” Little said. “The students did a great job, though, because it turned out beautiful.”

For Paulson, the opportunity to work on the Showcase House was something she relished.

“It was the first time I saw my work go from design to life,” Paulson said. “We had our challenges, but it turned out for us. The biggest lesson I learned was that you can’t fall in love with your first design.”

While at DCTC, Paulson said she learned many skills, including the software program AutoCad, which came in handy at the Showcase House and in their current jobs.

“My AutoCad skills, which I learned at DCTC, were essential to completing this project, as well at my current job,” Paulson said. “Many interior designers who have been in business for more than 10 years don’t have this skill, and look to newer designers to do this work for them. Also, my Kitchen and Bath class and the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) guidelines and codes we learned at DCTC saved me a few times during the redesign process.”

Because of her design and work for the Showcase House, Paulson is making a name for herself in the interior design world.

Paulson has started her own design business, L. Paulson Interior Designs, and also works part-time with Little and another well-known designer she met while working on the Showcase House.

“My internship with the ASID Showcase House with Letitia Little and DCTC has opened all the doors for me,” Paulson said. “My experience with that project has helped me to be more familiar with the industry showrooms and vendors in Minnesota, and gave me the confidence to start my own business. It also exposed me to designers who have now asked me to work for them.”

The interior design program is accredited by CIDA (Council for Interior Design Accreditation) at the professional level. CIDA is an accreditation body within the interior design profession to assess, develop and define standards for academic programs and to assure excellence in educational programs in order to reflect the needs of the profession and the consumer.

The program is also endorsed by NKBA. The NKBA establishes requirements to assure quality education for students who desire to become kitchen/bathroom design professionals. (Students that complete an NKBA Endorsed Program and a monitored internship/work experience in the Kitchen/Bath industry will qualify to submit an NKBA Graduation Verification Form to receive recognition of achievement from the NKBA.