Student Success - Myra Pierce

By Sarah Van Arsdale on April 9 2004

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.

Student Success - Myra Pierce

Designers in big cities, where apartments are small but ideas are grand, know that sometimes thinking big means thinking small. One NYIAD graduate takes that to heart, and has a practice of working on a miniature scale in designing rooms.

Myra Pierce's fascination with all things minuscule began 15 years ago, when she first walked into a miniature shop and 'saw the incredible selection of furnishings and dollhouses.'

'So I bought my first house and, with much help from a 'handyman' close friend and the shop owner, was on my way to what has become a most rewarding hobby for the last 15 years,' she says.

Myra brought her love of miniature design to a larger scale in 2000, after retiring from her professional career as a systems analyst, where she had put to use her degree in engineering, designing and writing computer programs.

'After I retired, I decided to pursue what had become an overriding interest since the start of my miniature hobby ' that of interior design,' she says. 'So when I saw the NYIAD advertisement, I enrolled, and then completed both the Basic and Advanced NYIAD courses.'

Myra's work in miniatures is a perfect complement to her work in full-scale design.

Student Success - Myra Pierce

'Miniatures provide the opportunity to design, and implement that design, in both individual room settings and entire six- to ten-room dollhouses. I decide on a theme, style, and color scheme, then select appropriate wallpaper, flooring, lighting (12-volt), furniture, draperies, and accessories. After assembly, I have a room that, in a good photograph, looks just like the 'real thing'.'

Myra works in 1/12 scale, which is 1"=1'-0". 'There's less selection in the 1/2" and 1/4" scales, and they're also a lot harder to work with,' she says.

'Besides the design opportunity, I love the incredible detail in the furniture, lighting, and accessories. The pieces handcrafted by artisans are truly remarkable in this respect, while even the least expensive items have, for instance, cabinet doors and drawers that actually open. I also love decorating totally different types of settings, from an 18th-century music room to a traditional nursery to a nautical shop.'

Myra says that the principles of good design hold up even under the added pressure of a miniature scene.

Student Success - Myra Pierce
Student Success - Myra Pierce

'Though the rooms have only three walls ' one is always glass or open ' you still follow the NYIAD principles of function, mood, and harmony. This includes such activities as the selection of furnishings of the same approximate period and quality, the color-coordination of textiles and finishes, and a balanced furniture arrangement.'

Student Success - Myra Pierce

For Myra, the learning process never ends, and after completing the NYIAD Advanced Course last November, she started looking for an Auto-CAD course to create computerized floor plans. Instead, she happened upon a two-year interior design program at a local technical school. She's found that while she's happy to have the classroom experience, her NYIAD studies helped prepare her for the courses at the technical school.

'The Basic and Advanced NYIAD Courses have proved invaluable in my class work thus far at the technical school,' she says. 'In short, the NYIAD Interior Design Classes really gave me a head start and distinct advantage in the classroom, which I for sure appreciate.'

In particular, she was able to refer to the Basic Course texts on room sketching, floor plan drafting, furniture placement and period furniture selection. And she was able to use many of the Web site resources that she encountered in the Advanced Course, and she used many of the supplies NYIAD provided.

Student Success - Myra Pierce

'I just completed my first 12-hour quarter as a full-time student, and will continue as long as I'm learning something of value,' she reports.

Myra may have retired, but she certainly isn't sitting around with time on her hands, and nor does she plan to be. 'I would like to do design consulting close to home. Neighboring subdivisions are being built every month or so, and some of these new homeowners surely need design help. So as soon as I complete my studies, will try to tap this market,' she says.

And even though Myra is moving toward designing larger spaces now, she says that sometimes she wishes she could shrink herself and inhabit some of the fabulous Lilliputian rooms she's designed, at least the 'contemporary rooms with color schemes and furnishings I really like,' she says.