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Student Spotlight: Ashley Dawkins, Professional Interior Design

Career Crossroads

Say hello to Professional Interior Designer and Decorator Ashley Luke Dawkins. Ashley decided to study at the National Design Academy in the Professional Interior Design course after coming to a crossroads in his career. He needed to add another service to his Painting & Decorating business to appeal to more customers. When he came across a few interior design books, he knew this was the right path for him.

Ashley Dawkins

What made you want to get into Interior Design?

I started to develop my interest in interior design in my mid-20s. During this time, I was in a crossroads in terms of my career path. I’d been a self-employed Painter & Decorator for about 8 years. When I initially started, my client base was so small, but I expected this being a newcomer to the decorating trade. Eight years into it, I wanted to add something to my business to make it more attractive for clients, and then I thought about interior design. I bought a couple books to seek more information and immediately I became attracted to the industry. I felt this service worked very well in cohesion with my decorating business, which would help future clients as well.

Who is your biggest design inspiration?

I don’t have one person that I follow for design inspiration. I like to look at the portfolios of different designers and see how they incorporate their own unique style into projects. A few designers that I particularly admire for their design style are Fran Hickman and Greg Natale.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?

If I had to use three words to describe my style, they would be “Scandi, Contemporary, and Natural.”

What was your favourite unit/module of the course?

My favourite module from the course was “Plans and Space Planning in a Professional Context.”

How did you find studying the course?

Initially, I felt the course was a bit daunting and I had some self-doubts in the opening unit. However, once the first unit was completed, and I read the feedback from my tutor, I found that my self-doubts went away. As I received feedback throughout the course, I took each one onboard and tried to better myself to deliver the best. I am happy with the improvement I made throughout. Online learning wasn’t something new to me; I enjoyed it and it was ideal for my needs of working during the day and studying in the evenings and on the weekends. The VLS was simple to navigate and easy to find anything you wanted.

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

My tutor was Bilquees Nestor. She was good at communicating with me and offering support whenever I need it. She helped me improve throughout the duration of the course.

Now that you have finished your course, what are you doing next?

Since finishing the course, I have slowly incorporated my new skillset into my decorating business. Whilst clients have been hard to come by, I haven’t given up. Having patience is key to achieve what you want! As a result, I now have a client that is ready for a new dining room design. I cannot wait to start this journey into an industry I’m very passionate about.

What would be your dream project?

I wouldn’t say I have a dream client; any client is important to me, and I’ll do my very best to deliver to their design brief specifications to make them happy with the services I provide. As for dream project, it would be an incredible privilege to undertake luxury hotel projects. Whether it’s bathrooms or reception areas, this would be an honour for me to be involved in.

Study Our Professional Interior Design Diploma Online, In-Studio or Via Zoom.

Ashley decided to expand his portfolio with the Professional Interior Design Diploma and studied on Zoom. We have flexible options of study, to suit everyone’s needs!

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