Inspired by Time Magazine’s 10 Questions, today is the first installment of 5 Questions for HOKers….and what better way to start than to introduce our newest blogger, Ms. Katie Dufresne, superstar interior designer extraordinaire and aspiring comedienne (and proud owner of HOK WDC’s Dr. Phil collection ).
A Virginia Tech grad, Katie joined the WDC office as an intern after graduation. That was two and a half years ago, and since then she’s been sucked in to the wonderful world of HOK.
Q: What do the letters HOK stand for?
Q: What was the first space that you noticed?
A: My mother’s living room. I really appreciate spaces that feel comfortable, are well thought out, and are done with care. Architecture gets all the fame because you can ‘see it from the Beltway’ – but interiors creates spaces where people spend 8 plus hours per day. I like being able to create those.
Q: What was your first experience at HOK?
A: When I started as an intern, I was put on a project as the only interior designer, with direction from our Director of Design. It put me in the position of “sink or swim,” which was horrifying, but a great opportunity. It wasn’t a particularly sexy project (government contractor in Laurel, MD), but it gave me the chance to work on a project from start to finish, which is somewhat unusual for a junior designer. The project architect on the job, Rosa Cheney, was a great teacher, and I got pink carpet in the building (I think the clients must have been color blind to allow anything other than beige in a government contractor building)!
Q: What is your dream project?
A: I feel like I’ve already had my dream project. We recently finished a project for RTCRM, a marketing company – they were an amazing client because they treated us the way they want their clients to treat them. They recognized that we are designers with expertise and let us be creative. The result is an amazing office full of interesting spaces and high tech goodies that truly demonstrates who they are as a company. It feels like I may have had this experience too soon to fully appreciate the opportunity for design freedom.
Q: What do you think you’ll be doing in five years?
A: I truly hope to be making headway with my improv (Comedy Central, here I come). In terms of work, I hope that our work in the DC office branches out to include more hospitality and restaurants. Much of our work is corporate, and since people have to live with their designs all day, every day, there is less room for risk taking and design freedom. In spaces like boutique hotels and restaurants, the interior design contributes significantly to the experience – and people are spending far less time experiencing these spaces so there is greater opportunity to go wild.
Thanks to Katie for serving as a guinea pig, and welcome to Life@HOK. Keep your eyes peeled for our next installment.