Get Your Interior Design On – The Kathryn M. Ireland Bootcamp Experience

Last month I attended Kathryn M. Ireland’s Interior Design Bootcamp in Los Angeles.

That would be Kathryn the internationally known designer, NOT Kathy the former SI cover model.  One Hollywood exec said to me, “I thought you were talking about the model the entire time.  Alas, now our conversation has become less interesting to me.”  Too funny.  Gotta love Hollywood.

It would be hard to describe a packed four day schedule in one short blog post.  Overall, it was fantastic experience.  I was very impressed by Kathryn and her team, Jen, Rebecca, and Francesca.  I learned a lot and enjoyed meeting my fellow bootcampers.

There were only seven of us.  Six were in different stages of our careers. One bootcamper had a new house.  For her it was a good opportunity to see how a designer works.  Some bootcampers had degrees in Interior Design and their own showrooms, while others were self taught and just starting out.  It was a great mix.

If you watch the show MILLION DOLLAR DECORATORS or have read anything about Kathryn you know that along with being a talented textiles and interior designer, she’s a fantastic host.  We met some heavy hitters in the business and it says something about Kathryn that everyone she introduced us to was warm, and down-to-earth.

The workshop was organized (binders, books, baked goods!)  We received excellent nuts and bolts information and advice about the business of design.   There were guest speakers who talked about the state of the industry, branding, product development, publicity, and social media.

We also visited several high profile showrooms with Kathryn, like Lucca, Nathan Turner, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Peter Dunham, Christopher Farr, Jasper, Pat McGann, etc.

Martyn’s was our last showroom stop. He had drinks and quips for us.

There was down time too (and plenty of wine with meals). We went on a hike in Will Rogers State Park with sick views of the Pacific.  It wasn’t mandatory but a nice way to kick off a long day.  That day we visited  Kathryn’s print shop.  She opened it in Los Angeles instead of outsourcing the work.  The time it takes to hand print fabric is no joke and that’s why it’s expensive.

We worked on our mood/presentation boards for our projects with input from Kathryn and her team.  I wanted to pull my hair out as I tried to draw my floor plans by hand. Luckily for me, one of my fellow bootcampers was a kitchen and bath designer.  She talked me down off the ledge.

I can’t really say which highlight (there were many) of the workshop was my favorite.  I can say I returned to Rome feeling excited about the future and inspired.

For more information about future Bootcamps, check out Kathryn’s WEBSITE.

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4 comments
  1. ochiegirl said:

    It’s interesting you mention that some had degrees and others not. In your experience, do you need a degree in design to be suggessful in this industry. Especially to the levels of the MDDs?

    Thanks for your input!

    • You will hear many different opinions about this. It’s why some people get very upset when people without degrees are called Interior Designers instead of Decorators. Then again, some designers with architecture degrees call themselves decorators!

      Mary McDonald went to one of the top design schools in the country, while Martyn Bullard Lawrence was a former actor.

      Sister Parish didn’t go to college. Albert Hadley studied design. Darryl Carter was a lawyer.

      As with all creative endeavors, a degree alone will not guarantee success. A degree cannot teach you to “have a good eye”. However, there are fundamental things successful designers/decorators know and they to make it their business to learn them.

      Even if you do get a degree, your first few clients will be friends and family (or friends of friends and family). No one going to hire some random person out of school that they don’t know to decorate their home or business.

      That said, in order to become a member of ASID you must have a degree from an accredited program.

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