“We are designers not decorators,” Mary Caillouet, a junior majoring in interior design, said. “You of course have to be conscious of beautiful, but I’m not in school to pick out a couch, I’m in school to see how many people can fit into a space and see how they can work most functionally.”
Mary said that a lot of people mistake interior design majors for decorators but that’s far from the truth.
“I’m more concerned with wall placement than couch placement, if that makes any sense,” Mary said. “Some people that’s what makes them tick, but that’s not for me, but you don’t have to take a professional exam to be an interior decorator.”
Mary said she figured out in high school that she was going to major in interior design.
“I applied my senior year of high school, so I knew I was going to be doing interior design by the end of my senior year,” Mary said. “For interior design you apply to be in the program and then when you get into the program and it’s at that point that you have four and a half years. So my parents were really happy that I applied early.”
Mary says that there are some people in her major that are a lot older because they were in school for two or three years and then they figured out that they wanted to do interior design and they found out they have four and a half more years left.
She said that it’s hard to get into the program and that the college won’t take more than 36 interior design majors a year, and that of those 36 that got in her year they are down to 25.
Mary said she likes hands-on learning and that lecture classes, with only four tests a semester aren’t really her thing, which is a good thing for Mary because most of her classes take place in the studio.
“In the mornings we have a lecture class with all 25 of us, and it will be your standard Tuesday, Thursday lecture class that lasts for an hour and fifteen minutes. And that’s when we learn a bunch of different stuff about a lot of things like codes and stuff. And then we split off into two groups for studio classes,” Mary said. “It’s definitely different. Studio normally lasts from 3 to 6:15 for me on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that’s the typical length of the studio class.”
Mary said her major is different from other majors at Auburn and it allows her to become close to certain teachers. Lindsey Tan is one of Mary’s favorite teachers.
“I really like my residential class, which is really interesting because I really don’t think that residential is something that I want to do out of college. Like I like all of my professors, but I really mesh well with my residential professor Lindsay Tan,” Mary said. “I really like the way she runs her classes but I’ve also gotten to do some really cool things in that class that wasn’t thinking we could do.”
The one project from her residential class she liked was redoing an old building in Philadelphia.
“The first part of our project in residential, we were given this old building in Philadelphia and it was like tell us how you can use this building, and you figure the amount of apartments you can fit into the building, how they fit and what codes they met and all kinds of stuff. I like it because it opened my eyes to different projects you could do in residential work.”
While Mary finds the residential assignments exciting she ultimately wants to work in hospitality, working to design hotels, bars and restaurants.
She says working to design those types of spaces are more about the experiences that people share and she hopes to create that one day.