A winning tradition
Students from George Brown's Interior Decorating program win big at the 2011 CDECA Awards
The 2011 Decorating and Design Awards were handed out by the Canadian Decorators' Association (CDECA) on April 18 and, once again, Continuing Education at George Brown College was well represented. Students, both past and present, from the Interior Decorating Certificate took home six awards at the gala reception, held in conjunction with CDECA's Annual General Meeting.
Members from across the country submitted projects to be evaluated by an independent panel of judges. The awards recognize excellence in eight categories and decorators trained through Continuing Education at George Brown College, including three previous winners, earned recognition in four categories.
Laura Stein (www.laurasteininteriors.com) took home top spot in the Interior Decoration Under $25K category for her family room project in Brampton. Despite the challenges the three-time CDECA award winner faced in revitalizing the central hub of the home (including the transformation of a brick fireplace and a switch in colours), the experience, and subsequent recognition, was definitely worth it.
"Personally, it's exciting and really fulfilling to be recognized by peers and others in the industry both locally and nationally. It's affirmation that I'm doing a good job," Stein says. "It also reassures clients that I'm doing a good job and gives the business a sense of credibility. They know they've hired somebody with success and industry recognition."
Anita Vizzini (www.anitavizzinidesign.com), another previous CDECA award winner who received her Interior Decorating Certificate from George Brown College, earned the silver award in the same category (Interior Decoration Under $25K). She views the award as validation that she made the right choice when switching careers (she originally worked as a nurse), but also sees it as praise for her project – a guest bedroom in a new home.
"The room was basic builder beige and very bare. The homeowners wanted to re-use the existing bed, which I liked because the biggest challenge was sticking to the budget," Vizzini says. "The room was transformed with fresh paint, crown moulding installation, an accent chair, window treatments, new furniture pieces, new lighting and accessories."
Sticking to the budget was not an issue for Chantale Gagnon (www.chantaleandco.com), a first-time winner who earned a bronze award in the Interior Decoration over $25K category. Instead, the former executive, who decided to follow her passion for decorating after her company's restructuring left her without a job, faced the unique challenges of a project with a $300,000 budget.
"Everything in the kitchen and family room was gutted, so we started from scratch, which is an ideal situation for a decorator because there is nothing there. We get to choose everything, but have to oversee everything at the same time," Gagnon says. "The award is a boost to me both personally and professionally. It recognizes the work I'm doing and shows me I can compete with other people in the industry."
For the second year in a row, MaryLynne Meschino (www.allegrointeriors.ca) earned a CDECA Award. This year it was a silver in the Challenging Budget category. And Ali Gibson, who is making the transition to a career in interior decorating after many years in fashion design, marked the completion of her Interior Decorating Certificate in style – taking home both gold and bronze in the Student Project category.
"I am thrilled to have recognition for my work from such a distinguished organization," Gibson says. "In entering the CDECA Awards, I wanted to showcase my skills learned at George Brown and prove to myself and others that I have what it takes to succeed in this exciting new vocation. Winning two awards has given me the inspiration and confidence to excel in this profession."
The two awards have also served as a nice springboard into the industry for Gibson, who is currently building her own decorating business. After entering both a master bedroom project and a contemporary loft project for the 2011 CDECA Awards, she's already at work on her 2012 CDECA entries in the professional category.
For more information and to register for the Interior Decorating Certificate offered through Continuing Education at George Brown College, please visit the program's main page.