Interior Designer

Internships

As I’ve mentioned in a few of my previous blog posts on interior design, I feel like it’s time to augment my studies with internships. Not only will this give me a better look at the day-to-day and realities of the various paths in the field, it will also help me build up my resume and portfolio by the time I complete the program.

What am I looking for in an internship?

When weighing my internship options, there are a lot of nice-to-haves:

  • Paid over unpaid
  • Close to home
  • Well-known firm, designer, etc.

However, I feel like I could compromise on these for the right opportunity. Because here’s the absolute must-have: It must be an internship where I get a full view of the work, learning the ins and outs of the job coupled with hands on experience, rather than just doing administrative work.

What area do I focus on?

Right now, I’d like to start with residential design, working with either an interior designer/design firm or a home staging company.

Home staging is particularly interesting to me, especially for my first internship, for a few reasons:

  • It’s currently spring going into summer, which is a popular time for real estate, meaning it’s also a busy time for home staging.
  • Home staging projects are often faster than full interior design projects, meaning I would have a lot more experience under my belt (and in my portfolio).

So, what’s out there?

As program director, my teacher gets emailed a lot of internship listings. There are a couple of home staging companies and one interior designer that have caught my eye. It’s not clear if any of them are paid.

Pink Door Home Staging and Interior Design

In their internship description, they note: “Interns will learn how to run a staging and interior design business, including how to stage and de-stage a property, give consultations to clients, create proposals, contracts, invoicing, etc.”

They go on to list the specific things that interns will learn how to do.

Pros:

  • Clearly committed to educating interns and letting them be involved in the full lifecycle of a home staging project.
  • Flexible hours.
  • Don’t need any prior experience.

Cons:

  • They are located all the way down in Santa Clara, which is pretty far for me, especially considering traffic.
  • They ask for a six month minimum commitment, which can be a long time, if it’s something I don’t end up enjoying.

Halcyon Home Staging + Design

There was not a formal description for this opportunity; rather the owner of the company wrote a short email, saying she’s in search of a design assistant.

Pros:

  • Top-rated company that works on high-end real estate listings.
  • Located in San Francisco, right off of the Embarcadero BART station, so it would be a quick commute for me.

Cons:

  • No job/internship description, so it’s unclear how much I would learn through the opportunity.
  • Owner indicated she was looking for a design assistant, not an intern, so it may be that they are looking for someone long-term and full-time, which wouldn’t work with my school schedule.

Leslie Karas Design

This is an interior designer rather than a home stager. This opportunity also lacked a formal description but the owner did mention interns would learn both in the field and in the office. She is also a former Cañada student, so she understands what an intern would be looking to gain through the experience.

Pros:

  • Former student, so she would know to make the internship a meaningful learning opportunity.
  • Looks like she works on both residential and commercial projects, so it would be interesting to see the differences.
  • She is open with timing/schedule and level of experience.

Cons:

  • Located in Redwood City, which could be a difficult commute with the traffic.

Next steps

I’m going to reach out to all three to find out more about what they are looking for and what I’ll learn. In addition, I going to look at Oakland and other East Bay-based firms. If I find one I like, I’ll reach out to see if they are interested in taking on an intern.

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