“I didn’t really know interior designing existed until my teens as I wanted to be an architect when I was younger, but I decided to go down that avenue and I haven’t looked back since.”
Going through college, subjects like art, textile fashion and graphic design had always appealed to Nikki, and so finding a career that catered to her creative ambitions was a big bonus for her.
As an interior designer, Nikki loves that the job is always varied.
“No two days are the same and all the projects that we get are very diverse and different. So you could go from something very small, such as colour suggestions for a single bedroom, through to commercial work for bars and restaurants, or even full house designs where people give you an unlimited budget and you just get free reign on designing top to bottom. So there’s a lot of variation and I love that.”
The satisfaction of seeing the end result of a project after all the hard work is what Nikki really values about her job.
The interior design market in New Zealand is quite small and clients’ budgets are often very limited, says Nikki, which can often lead to “people with champagne tastes but beer budgets”. Working through that can present a challenge, but one that Nikki says comes with the territory and makes the job more interesting.
Nikki graduated from WelTec with a Bachelor of Interior Design in 2006. As well as working for Wellington-based interior design company esdesign both part-time and full-time for eight years, she also spent two years working for renowned high-end home designer Yael Kurlansky in Perth, Western Australia.
“In an industry like this, overseas experience is really important because it’s a whole new world over there. I had access to a lot more products and was working on multi-million dollar houses regularly, which was a fantastic experience.”
Nikki highly recommends studying for a Bachelor of Design as there are so many related avenues you can take once you’ve got the qualification – whether it’s working for an architect, which is predominantly computer-based, or, as in Nikki’s case, working for a purely interior design company, which focuses more on furnishings, colours and specification work.
“It’s quite good because you don’t have to know exactly what you’re going to do when you start the qualification. As you go through the process you start to identify those papers you enjoy more than others. Then you can start to branch out and focus on what you enjoy, which is the important part of any job really – just doing what you love to do.”