Tag Archives: interior design

Student-designed furniture, home office to be displayed at 2016 MSP Home & Design Show

Dunwoody partnership sparks scholarship, real-world experience for five Interior Design students.

Interior Design Students Maggie Ellsworth, Alex Lord, Lise Hanley, Lydia Faison, and Megan Augustine have been quite busy this summer—building their skills, their portfolio, and their own furniture.

Photo of Home & Design Show Logo

The five senior students will present design ideas and several work samples at the very first MSP Home & Design Show, a new event where attendees can learn of the latest trends in interior design and home improvement.

The Dunwoody group will manage a feature booth during the show, where they will demonstrate how they would design a modern home office. Hand-crafted furniture and additional design work created by the students will also be on display and available for bidding/purchase.

Photo of Alex Lord presenting on a final project

Alex Lord presenting design solutions to faculty and industry professionals during Fall 2015 finals week

“The show is a wonderful opportunity for the future graduates because it gives them a great deal of exposure,” Interior Design Principal Instructor Sarraf-Knowles said. “It’s an opportunity to show off their talents and the skills that they’ve learned. It will also add a great component to their portfolio, which will really assist them when they go out and interview.” 

In addition to the professional exposure, the five participating students will also receive a scholarship from the MSP Home & Design Show.

“We wanted to partner with a reputable organization in the community that we feel could also offer something unique to the MSP Home & Design Show,” said Bruce Evans, Show Manager.

“We are committed to giving back…The scholarship is something we see being a staple within the show for years to come and hopefully [so will] the recipients,” he said.

Show promises networking, demonstrations, and celebrity guests

A first-time event for the students and the community, the show promises attendees a unique setting where they can:

  • Photo of Celebrity Guest Speaker John Gidding (photo courtesy of MSP Home & Design Show)

    Celebrity Guest Speaker John Gidding (photo courtesy of MSP Home & Design Show)

    Learn of upcoming interior design trends

  • Meet with design professionals
  • See guest celebrity John Gidding, HGTV Architect and Interior Designer
  • Become inspired by household décor items
  • Participate in interactive and educational demonstrations
  • Support Dunwoody’s Interior Design program and its future graduates

In addition to these fun events, the Dunwoody students will also be presenting on the evolution of a home office—a popular topic in the industry right now.

Student’s take on a home office might surprise guests

“We are doing research on the impacts of home offices nowadays. Currently, there are a lot of traditional companies that are eliminating the desks and telling their employees to actually work offsite at their home. This saves the company money on real estate, but also allows the employee a lot more flexibility.”

Photo of student-designed floor lamp

A student-designed floor lamp presented during Fall 2015 finals week

Because of these changes, Sarraf-Knowles said the feature home office will “look different than the standard or typical home office.” Instead, students will consider furniture flexibility (changing one piece of furniture into another); technology changes; and the various types of home office uses, workers, and needs.

The office will tentatively feature a student-built desk, light fixture, lounge chair, storage device, and coffee table. Students will also explore aesthetic pieces like backdrops and ceiling elements.

Learn more

The MSP Home & Design show takes place Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2016, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Learn more about Interior Design.

Two Interior Design students design show sets for Northwest Community Television

Photo of Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

L to R: Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

Late last year, Northwest Community Television (NWCT)—a non-profit organization that offers free production classes, equipment use, and channel time to those in the northwestern suburbs of the Twin Cities—realized they needed a change.

“Our current TV sets were outdated, falling apart, and overdue for an overhaul,” Studio Manager Nikki Jackett said.

And as the 2015 fiscal year was coming to a close, Jackett realized they had some dollars left in their budget. So, she chose to put that money towards set renovation.

A perfect match

“We only had six weeks to get ideas together and the money spent,” Jackett said.

Photo of existing NWCT set

NWCT set prior to remodel.

“Knowing design is not in my wheelhouse and having a limited budget, I asked my boss if I could reach out to students to work with. I’ve had good experiences working with students in the past. I love their energy and eagerness.”

When searching for the students, Jackett said she “never looked beyond Dunwoody.”

“I’ve always heard good things about the school, so it was the first and only one I emailed,” she said.

And when senior Interior Design students Alyx Paschke and Angelica Sedano learned of the project, they knew they had to be involved.

“Set design is something that has always interested me,” Paschke said. “I’m going to grad school for themed entertainment design so this project was very closely aligned with what I am hoping to do.”

The design process

Due to the wide variety of shows offered by NWCT—which includes talk shows, sports shows, children shows, cooking lessons and craft demonstrations—Paschke said, “versatility was a major aspect in the design concept.”

Photo of existing NWCT sets and photo of what they would like after the remodel.

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody— to generate ideas for the new sets.

“We decided it would give us the most for our budget to repurpose and reuse many of the existing sets and set elements,” she said.

And while the students did have complete design freedom, there were some limitations.

“The sets had to be mobile, lightweight, and easily assembled and deconstructed for transportation to and from the set storage warehouse,” Paschke said. “We also had an extremely small budget for all of the sets, construction supplies, finishes, furniture and décor, which allowed us to get creative.”

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody—to design the sets. Here they finalized the set colors, furniture pieces and design budget. Then, they set out to purchase the supplies.

“It felt a little bit like an HGTV show,” Paschke laughed as she described their overflowing carts at Ikea.

In an effort to keep the costs down, the students also approached several industry partners for help—and were successful in doing so.

Example of what a set would look like after the remodelSherwin-Williams agreed to donate the paint for the sets, and representatives from Shakopee Lowes Home Improvement provided budget guidance. Prime General Contractors also helped with transportation.

Thanks to their generosity, the two students were able to stay under-budget and upgrade six existing sets and the station’s kitchen.

The final product

Photo of one of the final sets

One of the final sets designed by Paschke and Sedano.

For Paschke and Sedano, however, the best part of the process was actually seeing the project come to life.

Paschke explained: “As students, a lot of the time we design and we do the 3D renderings—but that’s as far as we get. So it was really fun to see our work actually constructed.”

“It was our first real project like this so it was a little intimidating,” Sedano said. “But we worked together with everyone really well. It was nice to have our first project be with great people.”

Photo of Paschke and Sedano

Paschke and Sedano at the NWCT Open House.

Jackett agreed: “Throughout the entire process, Alyx and Angelica demonstrated an unbelievable passion for design and a keen understanding of what it means to meet the expectations laid forth while also looking outside of the box in exuding their own creativity. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to work with them and recommend them to others.”

According to NWCT’s latest newsletter, this is the Station’s first remodel since the media center opened in 1998. NWCT displayed the newly renovated sets at an Open House event late last month.

Paschke and Sedano will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Interior Design program.

Dunwoody & Mortenson Construction Win “Best Meal Award” at 2015 CANstruction

Team Donates 6,000 + Canned Goods to Second Harvest Heartland

IMG_2033-smallDunwoody’s Construction Sciences & Building Technology Department teamed up with Mortenson Construction for the 2015 Minneapolis CANstruction fundraiser—an annual event where participating teams build colossal structres made entirely out of cans of food.

The CANstruction team earned the “Best Meal” Award at the event, which was held at the Mall of America last month. The award is given annually to the team that uses the most nourishing, protein-packed food items.

Proceeds from the Minneapolis event were given to Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization.

There are over 150 CANstruction events held throughout the world each year.

Minnesota History Inspires 2015 CANstruction Sculpture Theme

IMG_8751-smallThe 2015 sculpture—designed and built by Interior Design and Construction Management students–was themed “Feast Like a Viking.” Cans of beans, tomatoes, vegetables and coconut milk made up the ship—complete with oars, a mast, sail and dragon head—while cans of tuna were used to represent ocean waves.

The CANstruction team chose the Viking theme because it represents the rich history of Minnesota. The voyage of Leif Erikson—who is often considered to be the first European to discover America—was recreated in 1927, with a final landed in Duluth, Minnesota. Journal entries from that expedition were kept and often detailed the crew’s difficulty in finding fresh fish and ripe vegetables.

This inspired the CANstruction team’s motto, which is “no-one’s ‘voyage through life’ should be limited by hunger”…especially today.

CANstruction Provides Students with Beneficial, Real World Experience

The entire project lasted about five weeks. During that time, Mortenson Construction and Dunwoody students not only designed the sculpture but also collected more than 6,000 cans of food.

Interior Design Principal Instructor and CANstruction Coordinator Cindy Martimo said that although the students were working with canned goods, the project did require students to use skills and best practices they would also perform on a real job.

“It required two very different departments to work together—especially on build day,” said Martimo. “Only five people could build at a time. So those who weren’t building had to provide various levels of support to the builders by unpacking boxes, passing cans, etc. The team had to practice time management, communicate with one another, follow a set of plans, and ultimately create the structure they designed.”

Click below to view a timelapse video of the CANstruction team assembling the sculpture at the event.

This is the fourth year the Construction Sciences & Building Technology Department has participated in a CANstruction event, and, according to Martimo, the students support and dollars raised grow each time.

“The event has really become a great opportunity for our students,” she said. “They get to be creative, design something and raise money for charity. In addition, their creations are judged by the very people who might someday offer them a job. The other teams out on the floor are all architecture and engineering firms. These are people that the students will be working with –or be hired by–one day. To have that kind of industry presence and to be able to add the CANstruction event to their resumes is very beneficial.”

Get Involved in CANstruction 2016

The Construction Sciences & Building Technology Department plans to continue the event next year. The project is open to all students in the Department. 

To get involved in CANstruction 2016, contact Cindy Martimo at cmartimo@dunwoody.edu.


A big thank you to this year’s sponsors: Mortenson Construction, Parsons Electric, Custom Drywall, and Ames Construction

Dunwoody-Built Fish House To Be Raffled at Rebuilding Together Twin Cities Fundraiser

Exterior photo of Dunwoody College student-built fish house.Over the last seven months, Dunwoody students and faculty have been building a one-of-a-kind, luxury fish house. The house is part of a fundraising project for Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, which makes critical home repairs for Twin Cities’ homeowners in need.

The 128 square-foot house was designed and built by Dunwoody students and faculty from Construction Management, Interior Design, Welding, and HVAC Installation & Residential Service programs.

The fish house will be raffled at Rebuilding Together Twin Cities’ Flannel Fling event on Friday, Oct. 30, at Nicollet Island Pavilion. The fundraiser begins at 6 p.m. and will also include a live and silent auction; local craft beer; dinner; live entertainment; games and much more.

Raffle tickets for the fish house are $20 each with proceeds benefiting Rebuilding Together Twin Cities and Dunwoody College of Technology.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, contact Heather Gay at hgay@dunwoody.edu.

Two Dunwoody 2015 Graduates are Finalists in Sherwin-Williams STIR Student Design Challenge

Two 2015 Interior Design graduates—Andrea Mbali and Jessica Curtis—are among the ten finalists in the Sherwin-Williams STIR Student Design Challenge.

Mbali and Curtis standing by their designs The challenge—open to all students in the United States, the District of Columbia and Canada—provides applicants with an opportunity to create and submit a color rendering of an interior space for a residential and/or a commercial design. The submission requires the use of at least three Sherwin-Williams paint colors in addition to a project statement describing the project and explaining how color was essential in creating the design.

Each submission undergoes two rounds of judging and is scored on originality (30%); overall design aesthetics (30%); best use of color palette (30%); and the overall project statement (10%).

“We always let students know about all competitions that are open to them,” Interior Design Principal Instructor Colleen Schmaltz said, “and we particularly encourage them to enter since we know that our students consistently show strong work. The students also know that winning a national competition is a significant addition to their professional resume and portfolio, and in some cases a great source of prize cash and scholarships. This is the first year two of our students have chosen to enter this particular competition—and now both are national finalists!”

Both Andrea and Jessica used part of their mini-capstone project—created in the Fall semester of their senior year at Dunwoody—in their submission. The capstone project requires students to learn and become fluent in design programs such as REVIT and the Adobe Creative Suite including InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator—programs widely used in the Interior Design profession.

“All of the studio classes and building technology courses have taught me how to design creatively and utilize real practices,” says finalist Jessica Curtis, “and [Principal Instructor] Nada Sarraff-Knoweles really challenged me to create a unique design.”

Andrea Mbali also paid tribute to her instructors saying, “Colleen Schmaltz really inspired me to enter my project. Without her encouragement, I probably would have ben consumed with day-to-day projects and schoolwork and not have applied. Nada Sarraff-Knoweles also helped me during the design process. Nada pushed me to push myself creatively and was able to tell me when things were or were not working.”

Practice made perfect for Andrea when it came to designing. “Throughout class projects, my rendering skills in REVIT have developed tremendously,” she said, ”and I now typically build all of my own furniture, lighting and other necessary structures instead of using online prebuilt models. I feel this gives me an edge because I am not limited to what the internet provides.”

Andrea—who hopes to specialize in Hospitality design—took the idea of a traditional spa in a whole new direction in her STIR competition submission titled “Felicity Day Spa.”

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa

“My inspiration was drawn from my own experiences of going to spas and not feeling like they were cool enough for younger generations. Not everyone always wants zen,” Andrea said, “I was also inspired by my travels and seeing what the world has to offer outside of the Midwest. Everything here is so safe, and I love the unexpected and daring in design and fashion.”

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa Locker Room

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa Locker Room

Jessica’s submission—titled Flex Art Gallery and Studios—takes a more commercial design approach, inspired by real Minneapolis structures and landmarks.

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery and Studios Entry

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery and Studios Entry

“My project is a flexible art gallery and studio space,” says Jessica, “It started with being an adaptive reuse space utilizing the Bauhaus (Tap room) in Northeast Minneapolis. It incorporated different spaces where local artists could come and work and for the public to take classes. An expansion was then ‘built’ onto that to create an art gallery. The Art Gallery is an all-encompassing glass box façade offering a spectacular view of the Mississippi River and the Minneapolis skyline.”

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Studio

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Studio

Both projects are currently being reviewed and judged by Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing Jackie Jordan as well as two celebrity judges.

A first place prize in both the residential design category and the commercial design category will be announced in early June. Winners will have their work featured in the 2015 edition of STIR magazine and receive $2,500 in cash.

Multiple programs benefit from new fabrication lab

Architecture student Roman Zastavskiy and President Rich Wagner assemble a chair model created using a laser cutter.

Architecture student Roman Zastavskiy and President Rich Wagner assemble a chair model created using a laser cutter.

Students in Architecture, Interior Design, Construction Management and Graphic Design now have access to a new, state-of-the-art fabrication lab located in Red 67.

Rocky Phandanouvong and Tyler Barres.

Rocky Phandanouvong and Tyler Barres.

The “fab lab”—also referred to as “digital fabrication lab” (dLab)—is a hands-on laboratory that provides students with the necessary resources for material testing, prototyping, product design and development, visualization, and digital fabrication at all scales.

“The fab lab fulfills Dunwoody’s mission to provide a hands-on education that serves the industries in need,” said Architecture Program Manager John Dwyer. “Architecture is expanding its role into computational design and digital fabrication to create buildings with greater performance.  This gives students the capacity to gain the skills for these emerging professional tracks.”

Josh Kulus

Josh Kulus

Among the fab lab’s tools relevant to the architecture industry are: model making and prototyping tools (laser cutter/engraver, small sander, small table saw and dremel); full-scale fabrication tools (CNC router); and product design and development tools (3D printer). Future fab lab tools will include a large format laser cutter, vinyl cutter, mini mill and portable 3D printers.

Interior Design students will use the fab lab for prototyping and testing product concepts for improvements and innovations. “The actual making helps to reinforce a true hands-on educational experience unique to our college—and so important to our students learning,” said Interior Design Principal Instructor Colleen Schmaltz.

Construction Management students will focus on collaboration with other disciplines in the fab lab. Program Manager Heather Gay said: “We plan on working with Architecture, Interior Design, and Graphic Design on multidisciplinary projects such as model building, cost and buildability analyses, and full-scale construction.”

The Graphic Design department will use the fab lab to cut larger retail display components than their new Kongsberg V20 table can handle and also to possibly create 3D-printed prototypes to stand in as product samples and enrich the package design process.

“The other programs will be using Graphic Design’s new CAD table as well for their furniture design and model making when they can,” said Graphic Design Principal Instructor Pete Rivard. “Our table has expandable tooling options that extend it beyond paper and corrugated and allow materials such as plastic, vinyl, wood and aluminum to be cut so there are options available to Architecture and Interior Design to share the cost of tools while making the Kongsberg table available to more Dunwoody students.”

Rivard added that the programs all sharing materials will make the procurement of materials more cost effective for the College.

Laser-Cutter-and-ComputerThe fab lab was funded largely by private donations through the Dunwoody community of donors as well as a matching grant from First Technologies.

“We are applying for an annual grant to continue expanding the lab and are hoping to eventually integrate the fab lab with the materials lab, currently on the Green Level, and house all of them on the Red Level,” Dwyer said.


Pre-Media Technologies students design mural for Interior Design hallway

Pre-Media Technologies students designed and printed a new mural now on display outside the Interior Design classrooms.

Before the start of spring 2014 semester Interior Design Program Manager Colleen Schmaltz approached Pre-Media Technologies Instructor Shelly Fitterer about creating a mural to display her students’ interior design work.

Fitterer said Schmaltz’s request came at the perfect time as her nine-week Wide Format Production class was about to start. She said the mural project was a great addition to the curriculum because it gave her students real world experience seeing a job go from concept to finished product.

Schmaltz presented the Interior Design team’s mural idea to the Pre-Media students and provided images of interior design student work.

“The Pre-Media students then each came up with their own designs based on the client’s needs,” Fitterer said. “They presented their designs to Colleen who shared the designs with her team and chose the final design.”

The winning design, created by Ellie Persian features 24 virtual Revit design drawings created by Dunwoody Interior Design students and the phrase “Design Changes Everything.”

The 90-inch tall and 119-inch wide mural was designed using Adobe Photoshop CS6. Students printed the mural on a Cannon ipf8100 wide format printer, cold laminated it and installed it on the wall.

Through the process Fitterer says her students learned about teamwork, file preparation, deadlines, machine operation, measuring, troubleshooting, wall mural layout and working with a client.

Persian said the project was a fun way to learn about new technology and gain experience collaborating with a client.

For more information about the Pre-Media Technologies program, visit http://www.dunwoody.edu/graphics/pre-media-technologies/.

For more information about the Interior Design program, visit http://www.dunwoody.edu/construction/interior-design/ .

MDES and Interior Design classes collaborate on furniture project

Dunwoody’s Engineering Drafting & Design (MDES) and Interior Design students worked together to create eight unique pieces of furniture that will be on display in the Hub on campus this week.

The idea for collaborative project came when MDES faculty member Andrew LeRoy and Interior Design faculty member Nada Sarraf-Knowles were discussing how they both wanted to incorporate use of the College’s 3D printer into their curriculums.

“We decided to work together since product design and furniture design have many areas of overlap,” LeRoy said. “Others from the College got involved as well. This year the welding instructors and students were a big help to one of the projects. Tim Flugum has been helpful with suggestions for the students in the new woodshop. Design & Graphics Technology helped with a corrugated chair.”

Students were put into teams of three or four and asked to create an original chair using a minimum of two materials, with at least four points of contact with the ground, be fully functional, and hold 200 pounds. Each team was given a $100 budget, supplied by the College, to spend on materials. They were also required to determine costs for a manufacturing run of 500 chairs.

Students learned a lot about communication and collaboration through the project.

“Since the students come from different programs they have expertise in different areas and need to rely on one another’s skills in their areas of knowledge. It also teaches them about negotiation,” LeRoy said.

Students said the project was fun and challenging.

MDES student Chris Brenner said it was interesting getting input from someone in another profession, “who thinks differently from the way we think in manufacturing.”

MDES student Nicole Rodriguez said the larger scale project was more challenging than just printing out 3D prints.

“We learned about process and prototyping in general.”

Last spring LeRoy and Sarraf-Knowles won an academic innovation award from the College for the collaborative project.