By: Tammy Roberts
Photography By: Christina Stuart
For some people, creativity comes naturally. For others, it is more of a learned process, encouraged through different ways of thinking and various methods of teaching. Both types of people are welcome in the Brevard Community College Interior Design Program.
Started in 2006, this popular program, which is exclusive to the college’s Melbourne Campus, takes students on a detailed path to the world of interior design, with many interesting stops along the way. There are more than 20 different courses listed under the interior design umbrella, such as Pictorial Drafting, Residential Design, Lighting, Kitchen and Bath, Drawing, Architectural Drafting, Textiles for Interiors and more.
“We’re fortunate in that we have a wide variety of topics in our program, which are tailored to directly prepare our students for careers in the real-world,” says Ann Roccon, an assistant professor and coordinator for the BCC Interior Design Program. With a Bachelor of Design degree from the University of Florida and a Master of Science in Visual Arts from Florida State University, Roccon, who is currently working on a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum Design from the University of Phoenix, is no stranger to the art of design.
“We have some truly amazing students here, who have their sights set on the future,” she says. Currently, there are more than 45 students enrolled in the college’s program, featuring both male and female students of various age groups and interests. Because of the wide variety of career opportunities for interior designers, the program, which is accredited with the National Kitchen & Bath Association, covers areas that some may not think of when they select this path.“Interior design reaches far beyond decorating,” Roccon says. The field itself includes custom residential, commercial and leisure environments and may require designers to work alongside outside architectural, construction and home- building firms. This is where courses such as Building and Barrier Free Codes and Interior Design Business Practice come into play, she says. Students can choose to earn an Interior Design Technology Associate in Science Degree at the college, a Kitchen and Bath Specialization College Credit Certification or simply take one or two classes of their choice – whether it’s just for fun or for a potential career change. One of the most interesting facets of the program, Roccon says, is that each course is extremely hands-on. Students are not just reading from a course book – many times they are designing real rooms for real clients and engaging in innovative projects that serve as models for future design jobs.
In one course, students are challenged to work in groups to create their own life-sized chairs, made exclusively from cardboard. They are not permitted to use any glue, staples or fasteners, and each chair must hold the weight of a 180-pound person in order to earn a passing grade. In the college’s Commercial Interior Design I course, students are required to design their own nightclub from the ground up, while incorporating their own furniture, textiles and lighting and remembering to integrate things such as space planning, handicapped accessible restrooms, building and fire codes and sustainable design tactics. Other course projects for students include designing a model version of a functional store kiosk, creating unique types of lamps and lighting and fashioning their own textiles.“It’s hard work, but we do have a lot of fun around here,” Roccon says. National recognition During the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Educators Conference in Chicago April 24-26, Brevard Community College was one of three out of 50 schools from throughout the U.S. and Canada to win a trophy for Excellence in Education in the area of Kitchen Projects. In order to remain accredited by the Association, the college is required to submit two samples of each student’s work, which is typically their final project. Brevard Community College earned more than 90 percent on its annual student sample submissions.
Join the club. Serving as a complement to the college’s Interior Design Program is the BCC Interior Design Club, whose 25 volunteer members participate in even more hands-on design projects throughout the school year. Each year, club members have been asked to participate in the Junior League of South Brevard’s Festival of Trees at the King Center for the Performing Arts. The club has placed four times in the fundraising competition and, in 2011, the club’s vintage-style tree was named “Best of Show.” Members have also gained recognition from throughout the community for their unique table scapes featured at the Brevard Art Museum.
Sadie Bethoney, the club’s current president, says the design club not only benefits the students involved, it also assists the local community. Members work alongside Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County to design future Habitat homes from start to finish, with several floor plans being selected and later built by volunteers for the organization, Sadie says. The club also provides donations for U.S. military troops overseas and hosts yard sales, with some students selling their card-board chairs, as a way to raise money for future projects. The club, which works closely with the National Kitchen & Bath Association and the American Society of Interior Designers, also hosts guest speakers from Brevard and beyond, who can provide unique insight into the world of interior design. This past year, the National Kitchen & Bath Association awarded the Interior Design Club a total of $500 after meeting certain requirements based on the projects they submitted. The members used this money to purchase materials for their Junior League tree project, as well as marketing efforts for future endeavors. “Our goal as a club is to gain more attention here in the local community to let organizations and businesses know that we are here, while learning from professionals in our industry along the way,” Bethany says.
Meet the students…
In addition to serving as president of the college’s Interior Design Club, Sadie has had the privilege of working alongside architects, construction companies and other design dirms in the county through internships and other opportunities.
“There is so much detail that goes into design; it’s more than I ever imagined.” She says. “This program is really great in that it stays up-to-date on the latest trends and allows students to really get involved in the community.”
Ever since she was a little girl, Victoria has had an eye for detail. Her design portfolio is packed with detailed blueprints and hand-drawn design layouts of spaces she has dreamed up and projects she has completed.
Vice President of the BCC Interior Design Club, Victoria is a Satellite Beach resident.
“What I enjoy most about the program is that fact that we’re encouraged to be creative and think outside the box.” Victoria says. “We are given assignments and problems that, as designers, we could run into on a daily basis.”
Scheduled to graduate in December, Jennifer is a Malabar resident and former Interior Design Club president, who says she has thoroughly enjoyed her time in the program and the man hands-on projects along the way. One of her favorite assignments was the creation of a new night club, which she said, really gave her an idea of the many components that need to be taken into consideration when designing a new space.
“Everything we’ve done has been related to real-world projects, which has better prepared us for careers in this field.” Jennifer says.