A new intern started working during the end of my second week. I was really nervous at first, because I was worried we weren’t going to get along or it would be awkward. I started talking to her on our long car ride to the PDC (yet another trip there) and we actually have a lot in common! She plays volleyball at Brown, so we had a lot to talk about. She also gave me a bunch of tips for college, which was incredibly helpful. She made my job a lot better because I was able to finish boring work while chatting with her. She is also better than me at seeing what fabrics go together and what certain clients will like, so she gave me a few pointers on that as well. As we continued over to the third week, we split up different tasks and worked together on sketching out furniture and fireplace plans, searching for concept pictures, and researching materials for clients. Overall, I found my last week to be the best because I felt comfortable at that point and more confident with what I was doing.
Over the course of my senior project, I found that my mentor Valerie makes her job so much easier by building relationships with people she works with, whether that be clients, workers, and even interns like me. Building people’s trust is key, so that way people are more willing to do favors for you or are more efficient because they want to maintain a good relationship with you. I also built relationships with people on the job site I was working on, and I earned the trust of a hard to please client, which helped a lot when it came to presenting ideas to them. On top of that, she has a wonderful personality that benefits her work because people enjoy working with her. On the job site, the construction workers strike up conversations with her, and offer to help her with things she needs. It’s much easier to work when you get along with the people rather than butting heads with them all of the time.
On Wednesday, after finishing up with calling fabric companies to price fabrics by the yard, I took another visit to the Pacific Design Center. I was given a few samples that the clients liked or didn’t like, and then had to pick out more samples at PDC to present to the clients. It was stressful for me, because I didn’t have my mentor to ask for help, so I was worried I would pick the wrong fabrics or wallpapers, and then I would have to take yet another visit to PDC. I spent about three hours walking around the Blue building grabbing traditional wallpapers for a dining room for a client, and then another two picking out fabrics for barstools. It was quite exhausting, but its also hard not to stop at art stores to look at interesting paintings or furniture for fun. It was ultimately a 10 hour day on Wednesday, and I didn’t know how tired I was until I got home. I’m loving my senior project so far, and I’m so excited to continue it next week!
Wow, this week has been crazy! I gathered up all of my hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and took the day off Friday. On Tuesday, I had another meeting with the client I worked with last week, and we talked about certain art pieces that we could put in her house. We met on the job site, and walked around the entire house picking possible options for chandeliers and wall art. I found the most difficult thing to be that we have completely different tastes. It’s hard to go with what you envision when the client doesn’t envision the same thing at all. My mentor talked me through how compromising with a client is always key, and sometimes also presenting them with options they might not have even thought of but ultimately will enjoy is another way to show them more of what you envision.
On Friday, my mentor let me work from home and it was wonderful! I was pretty tired from my Thursday test, and I got to work on calling a few companies about artwork from home. I also researched a chandelier online to find the maker of one that was found in a magazine, which took a while, but I’m so appreciative I didn’t have to go into work and I got to do everything on my own time at home. The first week overall was very fun but also very busy. I’ve already started mentally preparing myself for the job of organizing my mentor’s entire office next week.
Wow, these first couple of days have been such a surprise for me. I was expecting to listen to my mentor, Valerie Sartini, discuss design with clients. I did not expect to have a hands on type of involvement like the one I’ve had the last few days, and its wonderful! The first day I picked out fabric samples and set them out for an entire house, and presented them to the client the next day. Yesterday, we met with that one client for six hours! I did the stereotypical intern task – get food for everyone – but I also got to call companies to price fabrics, search for art to match the interior style and feel of the house, and drive up to Agoura Hills to talk to another client about redoing their entire back of the house.
Although the first two days were fun, today was my favorite day. Today, I went out on my own to pick out fabric and wallpaper samples from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. The PDC is one of the coolest buildings in LA in my opinion – its a set of multiple buildings, each a different color on the outside, filled with a crazy amount of interior design showrooms – but it’s also the most confusing building in LA. I walked in and searched for an hour looking for a specific store before finally breaking down and asking for help. I picked out about a million fabric samples (one of the many walls of fabric samples I encountered today is pictured above). I then head up to the sixth floor (a big feat for me because of my ridiculous fear of heights) to pick up vinyl wallpaper samples. I spent a couple hours afterwards exploring West Hollywood and went home after.
I’ve found that the hardest thing for me is interacting with people over the phone and in person when I’m looking for something in particular. Most of these people have years of experience under their belts, and I have about two and a half days worth. A majority of the time, people are incredibly willing to help me when it seems like I’m confused or don’t know something, but I feel very out of my comfort zone and out of place wherever I go. Sadly, tomorrow I won’t be working in the office because I get to take my AP Calculus make-up, but I’m excited to get back at it Friday!