What an Interior Design Internship is Really Like

Judith Ibanez, Elizabeth Ouyang, Interior Design intern, Jonathan Rachman

Enterprise is pleased to share this essay written by high school senior Elizabeth Ouyang for a college application. The prompt given to her was, “Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.”

As a “Fixer-Upper” and “Mr. Kate” enthusiast, I fell in awe with the thrilling experience of transforming a home. Inspired by the artistic and creative aspects of interior design, I decided to intern at Jonathan Rachman Design.

Walking into my first day of work with high-heels, I envisioned myself working leisurely and elegantly. Instead, my first assignment was to measure all the rooms of a 5,000 square foot house and to sketch the layout. As my feet became sore after walking around the whole day, I realized that interior design was not the picture-perfect depiction that I saw on television.

With every project I worked on and every customer I interacted with, my new outlook on interior design deepened. When I was tasked to flip through stacks of books to find bench designs, I learned that finding inspiration required weeks of research and planning. When I was tasked to carry antiques around a client’s home and experiment with decor, I learned that it took repetitive comparisons and considerations to fine-tune every detail in a room. When I was tasked to help translate for foreign clients and understand their aesthetics, I learned that a designer must be versatile and balance professional opinions and clients’ desires. Every day I came with curiosity and passion and left with interests and enjoyment.

Through my internship, I realized building a good design took lots of behind-the-scenes efforts. I also learned how to think creatively, communicate effectively, and view little details and big pictures simultaneously.

Elizabeth Ouyang
Jonathan Rachman Design intern