Student Success - Mary King

By Sarah Van Arsdale on August 4 2006

NYIAD students are out there in droves decorating clients' homes, serving as consultants in department stores, and re-designing everything from metropolitan penthouses to lakeshore cottages. If you've started your own business, if you've been hired by a decorating firm, or if you've achieved success in some other way in the field of interior design, we want to hear from you! Click here to let us know about the waves you're making!

If you missed earlier installments of this series, here's your chance to read more about the accomplishments of NYIAD School of Interior Design students. Just visit our NYIAD Student Success page.

Mary King Century 21 office design

For all the complaining that people do nowadays about the Internet, it's often the fastest way of finding what you want. And that's the way that many students at the NYIAD School of Interior Design have found us — and changed their lives by taking the NYIAD Complete Course in Interior Design.

We have tens of thousands of students and graduates, from over 100 countries. Many of them signed up for the NYIAD Complete Course after an Web search, studying with us from the comfort of their own homes. As many of our students will tell you, there's nothing like the excitement of waiting for the return of your design project with your instructor's comments!

For NYIAD student Mary King, an Internet search just how she found out about the NYIAD Course.

"I was searching the Web for an on-line or correspondence interior design school," she says. "As I already have two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree in other fields, I was delighted to find a course that concentrated only on interior design."

interior design by Mary King

Taking the NYIAD Complete Course in Interior Design has worked out very nicely for Mary; she's now working in both residential and commercial interior design.

"I've decorated five individual offices and the main office at the Century 21 office in Alto, NM; three homes in Ruidoso, NM; a condo in Cozumel, Mexico; and I'm beginning to work with a local country club."

Mary found that the NYIAD Course gave her what she needed to get started, including boosting her self-confidence about her design abilities.

"NYIAD has taught me the very necessary tools I've needed for this field, from the how-to's to setting a fee for my services," she says. "It has been indispensable for my career."

After taking the Course, Mary landed her first design job the way many NYIAD students do, by working for a friend for free.

"I offered my services to a friend, decorating her office for cost of materials only, no labor fee," she says. "She in turn told everyone how much she loves her office and it just took off from there!"

NYIAD Student Mary King office design

We've seen this happen before with our graduates; often, if your work is good, if you maintain good relationships with all your clients and sub-contractors, and if you keep in touch with your clients after the job, you don't even need to advertise, because word-of-mouth will recommend your work.

Of course, making your clients happy takes ingenuity and perseverance, as Mary discovered.

"Pleasing my clients is the most challenging, as well. I have to really listen to their wants and needs, likes and dislikes," she says.

She once had a client who had lots of expensive pink silk flower arrangements throughout her house, so Mary assumed she liked pink. It turned out she did not like pink at all, but hadn't bothered to do anything about the arrangements, and never mentioned her dislike of pink to Mary.

Mary chose a rug for her client's garden room with pink flowers woven into it, to complement the silk flowers — that's how she found out the client didn't even like the color.

"When I found out about her not liking pink, I replaced the rug and we plucked all the pink flowers out of the flower arrangements (the client's idea). It turned out great!"

office interior design Mary King

Once the client was happy, Mary was happy.

"Pleasing my clients is the most satisfying part of my job. I love when they say, 'I love it'. When they are happy, I'm happy!"

Even though Mary has loads of good advice to give her clients, she finds that it all works best if the interior designer remembers who is the homeowner, and who is the designer.

"Remember that the space is the client's, not yours. You are to be a 'helper.' So many people really do need help in arranging furniture, selecting wall color, window treatments, accessories, etc. Work within their budget and they will love you!"

Mary's now a busy interior designer, working for herself, and looking forward to more interior decorating jobs to come.

"The next two months are already booked with jobs; more rooms in two of the homes I've worked on and another office," she says. And she adds: "It's sooooo exciting!"