RLPS Interiors is excited to announce that Kelly recently passed the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Examination and earned her NCIDQ Certificate. The rigorous, three-part examination covers all aspects of the interior design professional practice and related topics such as codes, sustainability and universal design.
An RLPSer since May 2013, Kelly earned a Bachelor of Arts, Art History from Wake Forest University and a Masters of Science, Interior Architecture & Design from Drexel University. In celebration of this accomplishment, we asked her to share a few thoughts about her journey to earning this accreditation.
What was your inspiration to become a commercial interior designer?
My parents were the inspiration that led me to where I am today. We didn’t have a lot of material things when I was growing up, so anything we needed or wanted, my parents provided by using their hands and creativity. My dad could build anything. My mom could sew anything. They are an incredible team—hard working, practical, kind, and loving. I thank God every day that I’m their child!
In addition to that foundation, I like being purposeful in everything that I do so interior design seemed to be the perfect balance for me. I was happy to find a profession that encourages creativity, has practical applications, and serves others.
What was your motivation for obtaining this credential?
Becoming certified was something I wanted to prove to myself that I could do—that all my time spent in college and then working within the profession had prepared me for the ultimate test. I have always set goals and pushed myself in other aspects of my life, so pursuing this career goal was a natural step for me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I also knew it would strengthen me professionally, regardless of the outcome.
What were your study habits when preparing for the exam?
The entire study process was somewhat comical because I decided to start a family AND my journey to NCIDQ certification at the same time. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I was able to carve out time to study any day of the week. I did not realize how rare that would become. After baby one, two, and three in consecutive years, my study time became extremely limited – especially when my husband was working. He’d be gone 24 hours at a time, 15 days a month so I had to be disciplined and take advantage of study time whenever possible.
Eventually I fell into a rhythm that worked for our challenging schedules. As soon as the last baby was down for the night, I’d whip out my books and materials and study until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. I accepted the fact that as painful as it could be on some nights, it was temporary. Luckily, I wasn’t used to sleeping through the night anyway!
Having kids to take care of at all hours of the day and night set me up for success in the long run. One of the nicest parts about the journey was having them along for the ride. Each of them was in my belly at one point so whether they liked it or not – they were part of the process. Every time I took an exam, I could feel one of them kicking inside me. It was my very own little reminder that no matter how nervous I was on exam day, I wasn’t alone.
My husband Ty was a great help as well. When he was able to be home, it was awesome to steal away some time to study. His love and encouragement never wavered and there’s no way I could have done it without him. I’m just so happy it’s behind me!
What are you looking forward to doing now that you have a bit more free time?
I’m not quite sure I will have a lot of free time in the next 18 years, but I look forward to sleep whenever I can get it.
Wondering about the photos?
It’s an RLPS tradition that firm partners cut the scarf (or tie) of a newly credentialed interior designer or architect during our monthly staff meeting. Although the history of this practice is a little murky, the tradition continues mostly because it’s fun and certainly worth celebrating the achievements of our staff members.