Student Success - Linda Senn

By Sarah Van Arsdale on November 1 2009

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 students. Just visit our NYIAD Student Success page.

Some people don’t discover the joys of interior design until later in life, after a career in a totally unrelated field and a lifetime of living with bad lighting, mis-matched furnishings, and plain walls.

But for Linda Senn, making her space beautiful has always been a preoccupation.

“My life as a designer started at a very young age,” she says. “In fact, I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't re-arranging my furniture, painting murals on my walls, or making stuff out of my mother's fabric scraps.”

This interest continued into her adulthood, and has always been what she calls “normal behavior” for her. “So it makes perfect sense that my design path would lead me to a career in product development and graphic design,” she says.

And now that she’s launching her own interior design business, Linda couldn’t be happier.

“What I love most about Interior Design is that it allows you to help people using your creative gifts. To me life doesn't get much better than that. Interior design also offers a working experience in which you can never get bored. Each new job offers a whole new set of creative parameters that challenge you to find innovative solutions.”

Student Success - Linda Senn
Student Success - Linda Senn

For Linda, her interest in interior design and her career dovetailed nicely. Everything was fine until she had what she calls “that life-changing moment”—a colleague introduced her to HGTV.

“I watched one episode, and never changed the channel,” she says.

Once she was hooked, there was no stopping Linda’s hunger for more; pretty soon, she realized she wanted to take a course and really pursue her path in interior design.

“I was driven to learn anything and everything I could about interior design, so I went to my computer and started searching for an interior design course that would allow me to continue to work full time and still be available to my last child at home.” She found that the NYIAD Complete Course in Interior Design allowed her to do just that.

Student Success - Linda Senn
Student Success - Linda Senn

Linda’s made remarkable progress on that path since buying the Course for herself for a Christmas present not quite a year ago.

“Since then I have completed the entire Course, completely remodeled my own home and patio, helped one friend completely transform her entire home, and I am in the process of helping another friend with her home.”

And if that isn’t enough, Linda just completed her first real, paying, professional job, which she landed the way many NYIAD students and grads get their first work: through word of mouth. In Linda’s case, a co-worker of her father mentioned the need for an interior designer, and her father referred the person to Linda. “It was a small job, but I jumped right in and learned as I went,” Linda says—even before completing the Course.

“The NYIAD Course gave me the confidence I needed to take my design skills to the interior design world,” she says.

Student Success - Linda Senn
Student Success - Linda Senn

The concept of the NYIAD Three Guidelines to Interior Design helped illuminate for Linda the “mystery of how and why interiors work,” she says. “It gave me the power and knowledge I needed to become a professional designer. The course also gave me everything I needed to start my own business,” she says.

As she completes the Course, Linda is busy starting her own business, which she’s named “Decorate Smart.” She knows how to take on a project, and she knows the value of self-promotion.

“I’m following the steps outlined in the NYIAD Course. I can't wait to get my diploma and notify my local paper that I am a new graduate—I found out today that I received an A-plus on my final lesson, and a merit award, and I'm sure I'll mention that in the article as well!”

Student Success - Linda Senn
Student Success - Linda Senn

There’s a lot to do, as any NYIAD grad knows: “I am in the process of building my website, I have a business name, business cards, my business forms, and I am ready to start advertising,” she says. “I couldn't be happier.” Her advice to students or prospective students is to finish the Course, and to remember that “everything seems impossible until it's done, and you do not want to miss the feeling of being done, and being free to start your own business!”