Interior Design

Grettel Garcia headshot
Grettel Garcia
Emphasis Area
Spatial Organization & Design Thinking

Grettel Garcia confirmed her passion for interior design while expanding skills in communication, project management, and gaining confidence along the way.

How did you get your internship?

I got my internship through word of mouth. From the start of my Applied Humanities journey, we have been taught that making connections was super important and would be beneficial to me and my career at some point. All the jobs I’ve had up until now have been through networking and this internship was no different. A family friend knows my current boss and put me in contact with her. You would be surprised to find out how reaching out to those around you can lead to your next internship or job.

Why did you choose this internship?

Prior to this internship, I was working with an event planner as a floral designer. Since I was a child, I have loved anything that had to do with creativity and design. I also knew since I was in middle school that I wanted to do interior design. One day, I realized that although I loved doing floral design and event planning, I wasn’t getting close to my career goal of working in the interior design field. I knew that if I stayed in that job, I wasn’t going to move forward in my career in the direction that I wanted to. When this internship opportunity presented itself, I knew that I had to part ways with a job that I enjoyed and felt comfortable doing to extend myself out of my comfort zone and go for it. Almost a year later, I can say that it has been one of the best decisions I have made for my present and future self.

What kind of work did you do throughout your internship experience? 

I get to work one-on-one with clients and help deliver their wants and needs in their spaces. We have an initial consultation where they tell us what they want, then we create mood boards with material and furniture selections and we may also offer them a 3D rendering of their space. It is key for our clients to be able to visualize what we have pictured for their home. Through this process, we may work with local vendors, tradespeople, and companies. The most rewarding part of my internship is getting to see our client’s reactions at the end once they see their design come to life!
One example of this work is when I designed a custom bar space for one of our clients. Typically, we design traditional home spaces like kitchens, living rooms, baths, and bedrooms, so I was very excited when we got this unique job. This was also my first project ever at the internship so I was eager to see the whole process and final result. I had to research and find local custom cabinet makers and get a quote for what the client wanted. Once I found the person we wanted to contract with, I took them to our client’s house to see the space and take measurements. We worked alongside her and our client through the whole process from picking out cabinet colors and finishes to finding the perfect hardware and countertops. I then scheduled time for the install and once it was finally installed it was time for the furniture placement and decor. My boss and I went to a local furniture store and picked out pieces for our clients and had them delivered to their house. We then placed the furniture in the space and added the final decor touches to finalize the whole project. Our clients loved it and to this day it has been one of my favorite projects I have worked on.

What new skills did you develop in this internship?

The main transferable skill I gained from this internship has been confidence, which is probably one that people don’t often consider. Prior to this, I had never worked with tradespeople or worked one-on-one with clients, so being responsible for projects had me doubting myself at the beginning. After my first project I realized I was more than capable of doing the work and my confidence built from that point forward. Another skill that I gained was team leadership skills. Whenever I had to take charge of a project, I had to be an effective communicator to delegate project tasks with my coworker clearly and concisely.

How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?

At the beginning of this internship, I wasn't sure if I was going to actually love working in interior design since I had never done it before. Now that I have experience with the whole process, I am confident that middle school me was right when she first mentioned that she wanted to become an interior designer when she grew up. This internship solidified my love for all things home and design. There hasn't been a day where I don’t want to go to the office and work because I have how much I enjoyed it. However, working in a small interior design firm has influenced a plan I thought I wanted for my future: having my own design firm. Seeing all the blood, sweat, and tears of entrepreneurship that accompany the design work has me questioning if I want to have my own firm in the future or just work for a designer. Only time will tell!

What advice do you have for other students as they search for their internship?

If I could give any advice to future students that are searching for an internship it would be to be open-minded on your job search and how you find it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people that are working at the place you would like to intern at or people that are within the field. Another piece of advice would be to fix your resume and get it up-to-date. Reach out to your advisor and ask them what distinguishes a more competitive candidate. Don’t forget to tailor your resume to the internship or job you’re applying for; this will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Lastly, make a list with all the goals you want to attain from the internship and a list for your future goals. This will help you figure out which opportunities will help move you forward towards those goals.