June 24, 2011
Professional interior designer Laura Olejniczak is one of those fortunate few who have managed to transform her life’s passion into a successful business.
“I was an accountant by trade and I’m still a controller for an aviation firm while I grow my business,” said Olenjniczak, owner of The Staging Pros in Warminster. “Interior design has been a lifelong passion, but I never felt I had found the right venue or had the right education or work experience to turn it into a career. I was interested in brushing up my skills when I found Temple’s program.”
Olejniczak said the Interior Design Certificate Program offered at Temple University Fort Washington, “fit me to a T.”
“The courses covered the depth and breadth of interior design in a program that I could complete in a relatively short amount of time at an affordable price. Between work and family I didn’t want to commit a lot of resources — time and money,” she said. “It was the perfect budget, the right timeframe, and a wonderful diversity of courses.”
Temple University Fort Washington offers the Interior Design Certificate Program certificate for homeowners who want to make the best design decisions for their interiors and for those individuals who are contemplating entry into the interior design industry. The Interior Design Certificate Program is a 30-hour program, which includes five courses on each of the most crucial areas in the design field.
This summer, Temple University Fort Washington is offering the certificate program as a 1-week intensive course, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, July 11 and ending Saturday, July 16. The intensive program will provide all five required certificate courses at a discounted price — Fundamentals of Design and Layout, The Effective Use of Color, Fabrics and Materials, Furniture, and Lighting and Accessories. The final day, July 16, will also include a field trip to ProSource, a wholesale flooring showroom, from 1 to 3 p.m.
“Several of the members of the Bucks County Stagers Association, which I belong to, had completed the program and raved about it in addition to raving about the instructor, Kristine Robinson,” Olejniczak said. “(Robinson) is extremely knowledgeable in the field and has a wonderful presence in class. As adult learners, we’re, of course, there to meet our personal goals, but we want the educational experience to be fun too. From layout and furniture, to construction, fabric, and lighting, she encompasses the whole design process — it provides you with a tremendous amount of education and knowledge in a short period of time.”
Interior Design program instructor Kristine Robinson’s enthusiasm and desire to mentor future designers has been clearly evident in all of her courses from the very beginning. Starting out teaching just a few classes in the Interior Design Certificate Program, she now teaches all of the necessary courses and several of the electives.
“The program has continued to grow year after year. The classes are a mixture of homeowners interested in doing some things around their houses and people interested in interior design as a career,” Robinson said. “About half of the people entering the program are exploring second careers. For some, the courses are a starting off point to continue their education while for others it’s the beginning of opening the own business — a course on starting your own business is the program.”
Olejniczak began her business, The Staging Pros, with a strong business background from 30 years in the accounting field and a solid foundation in interior design after completing the Temple certificate program.
“We specialize in staging homes and interior design,” she said. “For example, if someone has a home ready to sell, they will bring me in as a fresh set of eyes,” she said. “I set about de-cluttering, depersonalizing, and ensuring functionality to get the home looking its best — emphasizing the assets, not the imperfections.”
Olejniczak has also co-founded a non-profit organization called Deserving Décor. The charitable organization is comprised of decorators, home stagers and other volunteers who donate their time and resources to furnish transitional housing for homeless families in Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties. Donated furnishings and home decor items are used to provide creative, inviting living spaces for families in crisis.
“It was challenging,” she said. “We started with nothing and very limited resources but with a lot of creativity and a lot of patience, we’ve been able to build something special and give back to the community.”
Robinson said the interior design industry is constantly changing and offers plenty of opportunities to develop a truly unique approach to the field.
For more information on Laura Olejniczak and The Staging Pros, visit www.thestagingpros.com. For more information on Deserving Décor, visit www.deservingdecor.org. For more information on Kristine Robinson and Robinson’s business, Robinson Interiors at Sycamore Cottage, visit www.kristine.robinson.org
Temple University Ambler and Fort Washington offer hundreds of non-credit programs each semester. For more information, call the Office of Non-Credit and Special Programs at 267-468-8500 or visit www.ambler.temple.edu and click on Non-Credit Programs.
For questions about non-credit programs or to suggest new courses, call 267-468-8500.