Instructor Anne Farniok Winning Designer on Blueprint for Green

Interior Design Students Get Chance to Help Create Green Dream Home.

Anne Farniok

Anne Farniok

Anne Farniok, an interior design instructor at Dakota County Technical College, is creating a green-concept interior for the Green Fin House, a private residence under construction in Edina, Minn.

The environment-friendly and healthful home belongs to Brad and Kristin Geer, who chose Farniok from group of 30 competitors in a Green Design Contest on the home improvement program, Blueprint for Green,which airs Saturdays at noon on KARE 11.

Farniok, who runs her own interior design company, MODIFI Spatial Design Solutions, was the overwhelming winner in the program’s Viewer’s Choice Award. She was also the original favorite of the homeowners, who selected a competing designer because they were worried about Farniok’s busy teaching schedule.

“Big mistake,” said Kristin Geer, a former TV reporter who gave up her career to manage a nonprofit organization dedicated to cancer research. “After working with the other designer, we quickly realized that we could save a lot more time and money by working with a designer who was already accredited in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design , or LEED, and knew green design inside and out.”

Green Fin House

As a feature member of the couple’s design team, Farniok will appear regularly onBlueprint for Green as she aids in the development of one of the first LEED Platinum homes of its size in the United States.

“We are so excited to work with Anne,” Geer said. “She is incredibly talented, and we know she will help us make this green-concept house the home of our dreams.”

Designed by architect Jack K. Snow, AIA, at RKD Architects, Inc., a prestigious firm in Edwards, Colo., the home exemplifies sustainability and energy efficiency, and includes such building materials as triple-pane windows, recovered wood, solar panels and Durisol block, the latter a health-conscious concrete form made from mineralized wood chips and Portland cement.

Students in Farniok’s Residential Studio 1 course are also working on the project. Kristin Geer recently visited Farniok’s classroom and conversed with them.

“They are using the lower level floor plan as a class exercise,” said Geer, who was impressed by the keen interest the students expressed regarding the project. “Anne has obviously taught them well. They asked the right questions and seemed to really want to understand what we’re looking for in our home—which I think is the key to becoming a great designer. I can’t wait to see the design plans they come up with.”

Shannon Sargent

Shannon Sargent, a mother of three from Hudson, Wis., will graduate from the Interior Design program with an A.A.S. degree in the spring of 2009. Along with her fellow students, she traveled to the Edina building site to explore and study the Green Fin House as it undergoes construction.

“We’re all very excited about working on this project,” said Sargent, who goes to school full-time while operating her own one-shop designer business, S&S Designs. An expert mural painter, she relishes the chance to work on a home with so many green ideas.

“Kristin is very careful about the building products and materials used for her house,” Sargent added. “She won’t allow any particleboard made with formaldehyde. She also rejects PVC piping and paints with volatile organic compounds.”

Anne Farniok is pleased that her students are working on such a high-profile project. “This gives them the chance to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in a real-world setting,” she said. “They get to learn how to interact with real-live clients who have high expectations for quality and creativity.”

The Interior Design program prepares graduates to become professional interior designers. Students acquire the knowledge base and skill set needed to design interior environments that are both functional and beautiful. Versed in design theories, interior materials, building codes, and manual and computer aided drafting, students conceive and execute high-quality design solutions for residential and commercial projects.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for interior designers is projected to grow faster than average, increasing 19 percent between 2006 and 2016. The BLS also states that the median annual wage for interior designers in the U.S. reached $48,000 in mid-2006.

According to, the median wage is currently more than $22 per hour for interior designers in Minnesota. As of February 2008, put the median annual salary above $51,300 for top earners in the Twin Cities metro area.

Green Fin House main level