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Interior Design students compete in first pallet challenge

Tidewater Community College’s interior design students embraced the Pallet Challenge by creating some stunning pieces from discarded shipping pallets.

Sponsored by TCC’s student chapter of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the brainchild of co-presidents Matt Keane and Whitney Regan, the Pallet Challenge was held on March 28.

Six contenders — Lisa Bambury, Ruby Hutton, Matt Keane, Samantha Piney, Whitney Regan and Lindsay Willards — entered, bringing their individual styles to play in their pieces.

The students were required to use 90 percent of the pallet in the creation of the entry or retrofit the pallet to make something new. Entries were presented by students to a group of interior design supporters, friends and family.

Melissa Moseley, an associate with KSA Interiors in Richmond and chair of the ASID National Student Advisory Council, served as guest judge. “I wish all student chapters were like the one here at TCC,” she said. “This innovative event is a great way to build portfolios and skills.”

Ruby Hutton, Lisa Bambury
Pallet Challenge winners
Ruby Hutton and Lisa Bambury.

Entries included several lamps, a Zen garden, a love sign for the outdoors and a portable office. Cost for supplies for each entry ranged from zero to $50. “This challenge gave us the opportunity to repurpose items we found or had at home,” Keane said. “It’s amazing to see the creative efforts come to play in so many interesting ways.”

“All I can say is wow!” Moseley added. “I have my judging criteria to work with here, but it’s going to be tough to choose our winners.”

Two contenders took home the top awards. Bambury, an electrician by trade and owner of an interior design/lighting business, took first place for using 90 percent of the pallet in her wavy lamp creation.

Hutton, a 20-year Navy veteran retraining for a new career, took first place for retrofitting the pallet to make a portable office. Three of her six children were present to see her take home the gold.

“We’re family here,” Regan said. “Even when we compete, it’s a friendly competition, and our goal is always to help each other improve and gain skills.”

Each contestant was recognized for participating in the challenge. TCC’s ASID leaders are hoping to make the Pallet Challenge an annual event.

Pallet Challenge winners are Ruby Hutton and Lisa Bambury.