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Student Spotlight: Amy Thorne, BA (Hons) Heritage Interior Design

Lifelong Learner

Meet Amy Thorne, an Interior Design student, currently enrolled in our BA (Hons) Heritage Interior Design course. If you know Amy, then you know that she is a lifelong learner with a passion for mastering new skills. Since enrolling in her BA (Hons) course, she has also studied our Garden Design Diploma and Software short course. When we asked Amy about her plans after she completes her Bachelor’s Degree, she replied, “launching my business” and “I am also considering doing a master’s course in Interior Architecture and Design”. We have no doubt she’ll succeed in whatever she sets her mind to next.

What made you want to get into Interior Design?

I’ve always had a passion for interior design, but it was more of a personal interest than a business interest. After doing a very basic online diploma in 2011 (with another school), I pushed it aside and set up my own wedding planning business in 2012 instead. However, during lockdown in June 2020, I decided that I wanted to slowly transition into interior design. So, I started to retrain. I was nearly 46. During this time, I realised that Heritage Interior Design was something I really wanted to specialise in, and I started my BA (Hons) Heritage Interior Design in June 2022. Between this period, I also completed the software course and Diploma in Garden Design (Fast Track) with the NDA. This year, I will be 50, and think I am potentially a lifelong learner as I love to study and better myself!

Who is your biggest design inspiration?

I don’t have one person that I aspire to, but I love the work of Joyce Wang, Etons of Bath, Natalia Miyar and Louise Holt. I also love designers like Abigail Ahern, for her botanicals, and Sophie Robinson, for her passion for colour. They both have great personalities as well! I find inspiration from people such as Gaudi and Tiffany as well. 

How would you describe your style in 3 words?

My style described in three words would be authentic, timeless, and elegant.

What was your favourite module of the course?

My favourite module so far was Module 05 – Design and Technology – Listed Buildings. I think this was due to the building that I chose, which was the Corn Exchange in Lincoln. It is currently a Cosy Club. I decided to add a Mezzanine floor, which was to be a Private Members Club/Wine Bar. Creating the model for this was not easy, but I was so pleased with the result! I will definitely be adding it to my portfolio.

How did you find studying with the NDA?

Studying online is always a challenge, but it is certainly the right fit for me, as I am already a business owner and a mum to a 10-year-old daughter. I can fit my studies around my work and life schedule, and whilst it isn’t easy, it is manageable. I also do a ‘plan of action’ at the start of each module to try and keep me on track. Due to personal circumstances, I had to request an extension on my current module. But the support from Fran and my tutor with regards to this was second to none.

Who was your tutor and how did you find the communication and support?

Since Module 06 of my degree, I’ve had Odette, and she is an absolute star. Her feedback is so helpful, and if I have any queries, she answers them constructively. She also pushes me to get the best out of me.

When you finish your course, what are you doing next?

When I finish my course next year, I would definitely like to be involved with Listed/Period properties – preferably in the commercial sector. I’m launching my business in the Autumn to try and gain more experience in this sector. At the moment, I am undecided whether I would like to carry on working just for myself, or whether I would like to freelance and/or collaborate with other people. I am also considering doing a master’s course in Interior Architecture and Design in September 2025.

What would be your dream project?

My dream project would be a boutique hotel, small restaurant, or wine bar within a listed building in a historic town such as Chester, York, or Bath. I would also like to work in the commercial sector, or with a brand. Whilst I love all things heritage, I do like to use an eclectic mix of furnishings to compliment this and I’m not afraid to use colour and rich fabrics.

What projects are you most proud of?

Cozy Club Project - Module 05

For this project, I decided to add a mezzanine floor in the current Corn Exchange in Lincoln. The space currently houses the Cosy Club, and with the vast height of the building, a mezzanine floor was a must. Creating the 3D model and visuals for this really pushed me to my limits, but I was so pleased with the results. I also really enjoyed researching the history of the building.

Hair Salon Project - Work Experience

For this project, my hairdresser asked me to assist with the space planning and visuals for his new salon in a Victorian Pumping House in Lincoln. A great space to work with, which had stunning detailed brickwork and an extension was being added, which included a balcony and view of the Cathedral. Such a great opportunity to work on a commercial project within a heritage building.

Major Design Project - Module 08

My current module, which is due in towards the end of the month involves renovating an old schoolhouse in Scotland into a holiday let. Glenmalloch Lodge was certainly a challenge, but I am so pleased with how the visuals have turned out for this. When I started the module, it took me a while to like the building as it was so different to what I was used to.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’m so pleased I took the plunge to start my BA (Hons) with NDA/DMU. It is a massive commitment but something I don’t regret.

Whilst using CAD is great for projects, it is also really important to learn hand sketching/rendering as well. I find that sometimes doing things by hand is better. Such a skill to have, even if you just use it for concepts/initial ideas, it’s useful. You don’t have to be amazing at it, but it just gets your point across.

Study Our Interior Design Bachelor Degrees Online.

Amy decided to pursue her passion with a Bachelor’s degree in Heritage Interior Design. We offer flexible study options to suit everyone’s needs!

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