room 82

December 5, 2011

When I was 22, three months after I graduated from college, I became a kitchen planner for IKEA. Over the last two years I have wanted nothing more than to graduate from the kitchens department, and become an interior designer for the store. On December 5th, my dream finally became reality when I was offered the position. Words simply can not express how grateful I am for this opportunity!

My experience as a kitchen seller (the title and responsibilities changed over time to accommodate volume selling) has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, as well as the most challenging. I've sold literally hundreds of kitchens, helped thousands of people, and somehow managed to stay sane the entire time. Working retail in and of itself is a hard job, but working retail at IKEA is a whole different ball game, one I played for 28 months. It did however have its wonderful moments. Selling kitchens gave me platform to help people change their lives, and frankly, what designer could ask for more? 

Though I've gone through more than I could ever explain, all of the craziness has been totally worth it. God has blessed me with the most amazing group of individuals (our kitchen's team is the best, and we know it) and I've grown so much spiritually and emotionally. Brandeis, Michelle, Tavis, Ronney, Aisha, Octavia, Charlotte, Nadine, Conan, Kim, Kareemah, Shay, Cammy -you guys are the reason I can call this experience the best one I've ever had. Thank you for accepting me, teaching me, laughing with me, and being the best people I have ever had the pleasure of working with! Now it's time for a new challenge: collaborate with a new group of people, and  create the solutions that inspire people to change their lives.

Below is the room revitalization plan that I put together for my second interview. Room 82 was a sad, but rather large room that featured one of our top-selling door styles, Adel White. It was totally in need of uplifting, so the interior design manager proposed the challenge of revitalizing the room to the last 3 potential candidates. I was told that my project plus my passion sealed the deal. :)

The first two pages shed light on my design intent

I then broke down each area of the room and recommended changes in products. Everything on the walls lacked balance, and over time this room had become a catch-all space for discontinued products and orphan pieces of furniture. "We can't put this anywhere else, how about Room 82?"

The buffet area looked so sad and the artwork felt totally disconnected from the piece below it. Also, the drawer unit was completely un-propped. Trust, customers will not spend $499 on a unit like this and leave it empty. It needed function.

The kids area was the worst of all. Again, I wanted to incorporate more balance and even a little bit of sophistication and flexibility. If children in this family are constantly creating artwork, then their masterpieces will accumulate rather quickly. I like the idea of being able to leisurely change them out. 

The office area was something completely new to the space. This area was indicated in the work brief, but never implemented in the kitchen's design. I did sales research on the black sideboard to justify moving it out of the room altogether. It's actually our #2 best seller, so it wasn't going to be detrimental to take it out and make room for an office space. I wanted to incorporate a little nook where the parents could slide a chair over from the table and start working. A desk didn't feel right for the space, so I specified a work shelf with drawers.

The hardest part of this project was sifting through the thousands of products that we sell and finding the best ones that fit within the assigned style group and color scheme. Primary colors with a cream door style is a challenge.This collage gives the overall impression for revitalization.

And here's a bigger rendering.

I start my new job in January, and could not be more excited! Best of all, Monday-Friday 7am-3pm, so you should be seeing a lot more of me. I can't wait to be more creative at work, and have more awesome things to blog about. Moral of the story: God is so good, and ALWAYS works things out in his own time! New year, new job! Holla!

1 comment

  1. OMG, I love this testimony and the best part is seeing how appreciative you have become because of this humbling experience.
    Ephesians 3:20
    New Living Translation (©2007)
    Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

    God is good and he takes care of his sheep...he knows all our needs and cares to give us what he sees fit for our lives. I love it that he wants us to have abundancy. Rae, I will be calling you soon.

    P.S. when I saw your email to me titled "Some news," I definitely thought you were having a baby! Lol


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