Devon is a proud member of the Girl Meets Party team, and she’s sharing what she’s learned about design with all of you about interior design! She’s immersed herself in architecture and design ultimately spearheading the launch of her own business. She’s the epitome of a hard-working woman who rides the waves of entrepreneurship. Last week she taught us how to become an interior designer. This week, learn about the twists and turns she navigated to launch her career in interior design.
A note from Devon
If you don’t know me, I’m Devon from Devon Grace Interiors. I have been immersed in the architecture and design industry since high-school and just formed my own Interior Design company in 2016. Today, I’m going to fill you in on how I got to where I am today and share some advice on how you too can break into the Interior Design Industry.
Like most designers, I grew up immersed in creative outlets. Some of my earliest memories are of spending Saturday mornings at our local Art Barn practicing oil painting, or taking figure drawing classes with my mom. In high school, I was a part of AHLISA, a program that essentially blended history, literature and the arts. Growing up in New Jersey, I was fortunate enough to explore incredible exhibits throughout NYC on a regular basis. Every aspect of my life was infused with creativity and an appreciation for the arts. This naturally transitioned to my career path during my junior year of high school, when someone suggested I study architecture in college and I just knew that was it, everything made sense.
Jumping into Architechture
I worked for a family friend’s architecture firm in high school. I spent the summer learning how to use Autocad to draft floorplans, reflected ceiling plans, elevations, etc. My senior year of high school, I worked there every day after school, absorbing as much as I could before leaving for Boston to study architecture at Northeastern University. For those of you who aren’t familiar with NEU, their program combines immersive studies with their classes in the form of 6-month co-ops.
After my sophomore year at NEU, I accepted my first co-op in New York with Kohn Pedersen Fox. Working at KPF really opened my eyes to the hugeness of the industry. I was incredibly fortunate to work under with some legendary architects on iconic international towers. I learned how devoted people in this industry are to their work, and how it is so much more than just a job – it really is a passion.
A Pivot to Interior Design
I began my second co-op at Ann Beha Architects in Boston. This is where my career pivoted a bit. Ann Beha was really inspiring to me. Architecture, like most industries, is still heavily male-dominated, and it is rare to see a female-led practice. While working for Ann, I saw that it was possible to shatter the glass ceiling and work for what you believe in. It was also while working at ABA, that I learned that my true passion was Interior Design.
After graduation, I enrolled in graduate school for Interior Design instead of Architecture [which had originally been my plan]. I was fortunate to learn during my co-ops the subtle difference between an architect’s role and a designer’s. More on that in last week’s post. After earning my masters degree, I worked for KlingStubbins in Boston before moving to Chicago in 2015 to work at Perkins+Will. About a year and a half into my career at P+W, I decided the timing was right to step off on my own and start my own design company. I had recently passed my exams and earned my NCIDQ license so I knew it was time. Making that switch was huge. I’ve had to learn about marketing, business development, and how to run a business in general. I have really enjoyed the experience and am thrilled with how much my company, Devon Grace Interiors, has grown in such a short time.
Devon began her career in design while working at an architecture firm during high school. She went on to each a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Northeastern University, followed by a Masters of Art in Interior Design from Suffolk University. With a background in both architecture and interior design, Devon looks at spaces holistically and creates designs that are cohesive to tell a clear story about their users.