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Interior Design student places in national carpet design competition

Tidewater Community College Interior Design student Colleen Garrettson recently placed in the top five in a student competition sponsored by Delos Custom Carpets and Rugs. Students from colleges including UCLA, Canada College and the Art Institute of Atlanta submitted designs that ranged from whimsical to structured.

Garrettson’s design, “Poolside,” is a multi-hued blue, gray and white swishy pattern that is reminiscent of cool afternoons near the water.

“Poolside” carpet design by Colleen Garrettson.

DelosCarpets are used by designers nationwide and are American made, robotically tufted and hand-finished for speed and consistency. 

Garrettson is a second-year student in TCC’s associate degree program, coming back to school after years as a stay-at-home mom and bookkeeper. Her daughter, Elizabeth, is studying Funeral Services at the Virginia Beach Campus.

“I was tickled to have such a contest to enter and to gain working experience while I’m still in school,” Garrettson said. “My time at TCC has been very productive, and I’ve learned from every single class and project.”

Contest judging was completed at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) leadership conference in Atlanta. Garrettson is a member of the student chapter of ASID and appreciates the learning opportunities provided by the group.

Garrettson will receive a produced copy of her carpet for her portfolio. Her design is with Delos for future use.

Garrettson in the Interior Design sample library and work room on the Chesapeake Campus.

 “I decided to finally follow my passion even though I was a little intimated to come back to school after so many years,” she said.  “My professors have pushed me every day to do my best work.”

Garrettson spends her free time visiting historical sites with her husband, John. She is interested in preservation and hopes to use her degree for future work in that area.

More than halfway through the program, Garrettson urges others to find competitive opportunities.

“I encourage everyone to enter contests like this one,” she said. “Put yourself out there and watch the doors open.”

After flipping careers, alumna living Happily Ever Now

Whitney Regan never thought she’d flip houses.

Nevertheless, the hair-stylist-turned-interior-designer is doing just that.

“I’m using my degree all the time,” Regan said. “Whether it’s in my own home doing seasonal decorating and baking or doing my work, I’ve truly become a designer of my own life.”

Regan is a design associate at Why Now, LLC. She is also a partner in Your Happily Ever Now, a home staging business.

For Regan, no day looks the same. One day she is working on a rental property remodel and the next she is staging a property so it will sell quickly.

The Kellam High graduate earned her Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design at Tidewater Community College’s Chesapeake Campus in 2014.

Regan chose TCC’s interior design program because it was the only one close to home and it was affordable.

“That very first semester I decided that I wanted to do home staging because I knew I’d love taking an empty house and turning it into a place you’d love to live,” she said. “The program taught me design and design principles as well as drafting and rendering.”

She also learned the intangibles – “the business sense we gain that enables us to have the confidence to go out and making a living doing what we love,” she said.

Regan was co-president of TCC’s student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers. The group planned special projects, including a “Pallet Challenge,” which gave students the opportunity to turn a plain pallet into a design element for the home.

While the interior design program is rigorous with multiple portfolio-building projects, Regan reminds current students to give it their best effort. “You get out of the program what you put into it. The time and effort you invest in class projects is how you’ll have a portfolio of quality work to show potential clients.”

She encourages students to build strong bonds with their classmates, as they will become important business contacts.

“I’m working with Shontel Feagins who I met in class. She loves drafting, and I don’t, so I hired her to help on a project,” she said.

Regan works with TCC professor Lana Sapozhnikov for her home staging business; the pair co-write a blog under the same name. “It started after I served as a juror for a TCC class. Students were asking for feedback on so many areas, that I started writing them down and needed a place to post them,” Regan added.

The self-proclaimed homebody hopes to one day build her dream home.

“I want to build a spacious ranch home with tall ceilings and tons of light. It will be very sleek and elegant, but also cozy and comfortable. I want a place where my daughter can put down roots,” she said.

Regan and husband James have a daughter, Emerson, 3.