The Highs and Lows of an Interior Design Journey

I started studying Interior Design in 2011.  Although, I had started to think about studying this subject a good 6 years before that.  But certain commitments and conflicting priorities at that time prevented me from doing so.

All those years ago I remember browsing through countless websites and college prospectus’ on a regular basis.  I desperately wanted to study design and I couldn’t resist the temptation of leafing through the colourful, glossy pages of a world that seemed so far out of my reach.  Even though I had achieved moderate success, I was growing increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied with my career of choice (office based) and felt that as a ‘creative’ my true calling lay in Interior Design.

My home became symbolic of my growing interest in this field.  It felt completely natural for me to approach home improvements with a meticulous, design focused eye.  I researched, pondered and thoroughly investigated each renovation project and loved every minute of it.  Perhaps it was a convenient escape from the realities and challenges of life at that time but either way I fully embraced this creative outlet and it in turn, provided me with a great sense of accomplishment and fulfilment.

I even realised a personal goal of having my home featured in a Design magazine.  Before I knew it, a journalist and a photographer were sitting in my living room asking me questions about my personal style, sources of inspiration and useful tips that I could impart to the reader.  I stood awkwardly in the background as they unloaded a car with props and set about making my home more ‘reader friendly'; fresh flowers, a cheese board, fine china and countless other accessories were dotted around my kitchen, as I prepared myself for the obligatory ‘reader’s home’ photo.

I felt sheer and utter excitement, satisfaction and perhaps a little smug at having a Design magazine validate my ability where interior design was concerned.  At that time in my design endeavours this was a huge milestone, even though in reality, I knew so little about interior design.  Yes, looking back, I can definitely see that I knew very little about design!  *Cringes*

My life has changed a lot from that article was published (5 years ago), that house and the life I lived at that time is firmly in the past.

But seriously, what a beautiful fireplace.

I’ve also shed quite a few pounds since then.  Those hips don’t lie!

Your Home Article - Anita Brown Design Studio 1

Your Home Article - Anita Brown Design Studio 2

I grabbed this new chapter of my life with gusto.  I left a life in the country and took up residence in a city centre pad.  For the first time in quite a few years I was hopeful and optimistic about the future.  In my new found zest for life, I even abseiled down my apartment building (it’s 279 ft in height) and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Well, I didn’t enjoy the part where I slammed into the side of the building as I went over the edge but you know, on the whole it was an uplifting experience!  Those bruises on my knees took ages to disappear.


For a few added giggles (and for your viewing pleasure), I’ve also included a video that was taken (unbeknown to me) prior to this momentous occasion.  The voices belong to my Mum, Dad and Sister.  And yes, for some strange reason my Mother mentioned my posterior….still not entirely sure why.  Check out that awesome Belfast accent, don’t you just love it (*sarcasm)?!

And then I did it.  I enrolled on an Interior Design course.  I had a renewed sense of purpose.  I was going to finally quench my thirst for more knowledge when it came to applying the principles of interior design.

I was beyond giddy.

I attained my Diploma in 2012 and now I’m studying a Foundation Degree in Interior Design.  I’ve demonstrated a range of skill sets that I never knew I had.  I’ve taught myself some of the most challenging software applications on the design market today and I’m always being told that I’m ‘inspiring'; that I’m talented and have a great future in design.

So why am I suddenly wavering?  At what stage do you lose sight of your original goals and become disillusioned, restless or demotivated?  And how do you get yourself back on track?  Admittedly, the daily pressures and challenges of life will always have an impact on your ability to remain focused and driven.  And that’s where I find myself at the minute.  The challenges and pressures are overshadowing my desire to succeed and the only thing that’s keeping me from throwing in the proverbial towel, is the fact that I would be doing myself a terrible disservice by not honouring the natural ability and talent for interior design that I seem to have.

Setting personal goals is easy, demonstrating the commitment and determination  to achieve them is the difficult part.

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14 responses to “The Highs and Lows of an Interior Design Journey

  • Melissa

    Commitment and determination…… oh those words Anita, they have been in my head for hours, days, months. It is so easy to think ‘yes I think I will do a Foundation Degree’ BUT the reality is so hard. Like you say, the hours spent learning new skills, the research, the effort of the academic wording, avoiding plagiarism, finding inspiration in order to come up with the designs we have to create, sitting for hours in front of a lap top, I could go on! Well, I must get back onto my Sustainability Module, here we go again ……..

    • anitadesignstudio

      Thanks for contributing to this more sobering discussion, Melissa. You’re so right about the endless hours of sitting in front of a screen. You do wonder if it will ever end!! And our search to constantly find sources of inspiration? Don’t get me started! Although, I do find A LOT of inspiration at the bottom of my wine glass ;) Good luck with your next module, chick x

  • Melissa

    You must carry on though, don’t waste your talent ! ;-)

  • Amanda

    Way to go Anita, Couldn’t have said it better myself…..actually, I couldn’t!! Keep a tight grip on the goal girl xx

    • anitadesignstudio

      Thanks, Amanda. My grip isn’t as tight as it used to be, it’s the equivalent of a flimsy handshake. You’ve experienced those handshakes, right? Gawd, I hate those types of handshakes, especially when it’s a dude! xx

  • Amanda

    Just had to think long and hard about my coping mechanism!! Its not easy battling so many demons. As you know, I too have had bad, bad times for the last 4 years. Throughout the Heritage degree, I have become more and more disillusioned, especially more recently. The other day, I just took a gentle stroll around my nearest town, (the scene of many of my heritage projects) and took in the 82 beautiful grade listed buildings and thought “this is why I m doing Heritage Design, I want to help preserve and save these beautiful buildings”. It made me smile and restored a little of my former enthusiasm. I will get there, but it takes time to drag yourself up from the bottom, but I will xx

    • anitadesignstudio

      That’s a great point, Amanda. Retracing your steps to rediscover your love and passion for something should be a good starting point in trying to restore your faith! I’m taking that on board, as I type :) x

  • Birgit Wahlhaeuser

    I could not agree more Anita – I also have this feeling of being lost in all this without any purpose of the why I am doing it at the moment …but on the other hand – what would I do instead ?? I still have an Elle Decoration here from November, which I didn’t even look at shockingly… I agree with Amanda – I think I also need some time to get away, have some time off and regroup :)

  • anitadesignstudio

    Birgit, thank you for stopping by. I’m so relieved that all of you feel the same! It’s such an isolating feeling though, isn’t it? And what doesn’t help is the Distance Learning element – it really affects my levels of motivation. It’s funny that you mentioned Elle Decoration – I love that magazine. Last year I bought it religiously every month. This year? I haven’t even purchased ONE! Regrouping is such a good way to describe it. I was going to take some time out in February but I’ve brought it forward. I’m taking a break from my studies asap!! I hope you do consider taking a break and maybe you should have a chat with your tutor – I chatted with mine today and it really helped ;)

  • Louise Sutherland

    Dont worry – think we all feel like you do sometimes – I too am reading Elle Decoration less, although I love it! I am not sure I will ever, really, get to do anything really creative in the Interior World. I have designed a couple of pubs, which sounds good but was basically cash led so not very insprired. I too had my house in a mag – The Scotsman (which was very exciting) and prob the best I will ever achieve – so I do know how you feel. Just enjoy what you are doing (and you are very good) but just maybe you wont be the next Kelly Hoppen – but do you really want to??? Keep entertaining us and relax!! X

    • anitadesignstudio

      Louise, apologies for only getting round to replying to you now! I was having a major low period regarding the purpose of this whole thing; it looks as though we all suffer from low periods at one time or another. It’s just so flippin difficult to stay motivated! Grrrrrrr. Thanks for the vote of confidence, though. I appreciate the gesture ;) How awesome that your home was featured too! It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? Kelly Hoppen??!! Nah, I’m much more glam than her!! x

  • Sarah

    Hi Anita – I’m just sitting here having finished Unit 2 of the Diploma and not quite ready to leave my comfy sofa and brave the cold………….and a come across your blog. You’ve completely inspired me so stop with your waverings woman……………I reckon I’m about 20 years older than you so go for it and carry on being brilliant! That’s what I’m trying to do x

    • anitadesignstudio

      Hi Sarah! Thank you for stopping by and taking a peek at my little blog :) I appreciate your very kind words, thank you so much! It’s difficult trying to be consistently brilliant, right?!! Well done for getting module 2 submitted – time flies with that Diploma, you’ll be done before you know it!! x

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