Student Spotlight: Deb Bayless
Major: Interior Design
Deb Bayless earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Government, but her life-long love was for interior design.
“From the time I was little, I have been rearranging rooms, displaying art and creating vignettes,” she said. “For me, living in serene and orderly surroundings provides comfort. It’s a natural extension, then, that creating a lovely home leads to a better life.”
Through her sister, Bayless discovered College of DuPage.
“She raved about the level of instruction while sharpening her math and accounting skills,” she said. “So, once my kids were busy with school all day, I started getting my feet wet. I found COD offered a program in Interior Design which was affordable and convenient.”
Bayless started by pursuing a broad range of courses in the Interior Design program, beginning with drafting and other fundamentals on up through major design projects in residential and universal design. Ultimately, she completed three certificates: Computer Applications, Lighting, and Kitchen and Bath Design.
“Kitchens and baths and, in particular, cabinetry are very specialized. As a student in kitchen and bath classes, I came to understand that this is a whole different animal within interior design,” she said. “Elements of design like scale, proportion and symmetry still matter, but the logistics of cabinet openings and appliances complicate things.
“Also, the way in which we prepare meals and live in our spaces, including the kitchen, has changed dramatically over the last couple of generations. Many homes still reflect the thinking and architecture of past generations – not that this is all bad - but are in need of updating.
“Being drawn to lovely interiors did not necessarily mean kitchens and baths in my design foray. However, I have always felt it important to surround ourselves with what brings us joy. It is not about the price tag or status symbol, but about feeling calmer and relating to one another better.”
Bayless has received full certification as a kitchen designer through the National Kitchen and Bath Association and earned her CBD as a certified bath designer. She initially worked as a designer with the Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn before starting her own studio, Design for Keeps, in Glen Ellyn. She has now moved to California, registered with the Northern California Chapter of the NKBA and is building up her business.
Bayless is thankful to College of DuPage for helping her achieve her goals.
“To have instructors with experience in the world of design made all the difference,” she said. “For anyone making a career decision, it is especially meaningful to participate in assignments that are reflective of projects encountered every day.
“I consider myself fortunate to be able to say I find my work not only challenging but enjoyable. It is very gratifying to bring a vision to life for a client. My goal is to continue to bring the same satisfaction to others as they make their homes a place for family and friends.
“Dragging my teenage son up and down side streets on a trip to Berlin in search of the Hackesche Höfe and its Art Nouveau tilework, I found myself defending the need for design. ‘Design is important,’ I adamantly explained, ‘because it leads to better use and a better state of mind.’ Well-thought design – as I like to say, ‘percolated’ design – is not only good, it’s important.”
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