Restoration Hardware's IAD Contingent
(L–R) Jeana Peters, Brenna Mitchell and Alexandra Chausse. Photo by Mark Miller.
Over this last year, Restoration Hardware, a luxury residential design brand, has taken a few of the top School of Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) students at Academy of Art University and given them an opportunity of a lifetime.
Brenna Mitchell, Jeana Peters and Alexandra Chausse have been working as interns at RH’s corporate office in Corte Madera, north of San Francisco.
Mitchell opened the door for additional interns by being proactive, sending her resume and contacting the human resources department. She has done such an outstanding job, RH subsequently called the School of Interior Architecture & Design and asked for additional interns “like Brenna."
Both Mitchell and Peters are part of the Gallery Development team. They assist with projects, like the development of Merchandise Maps (how a store is laid out), help present millwork and work with the staff architect to change everything from roof angles and skylights to where walls are located in a given space.
Chausse is thrilled to be a part of the design team. Here she works on renderings for both interior and exterior gallery spaces. She helps to create renderings of various stages of design development, from the earliest stages of the process to more formal presentation-ready images.
Peters shared in a recent interview that things are always changing in this type of environment, and it’s a challenge to keep up with everything.
When asked what was the most important thing that they learned from their classes all three agreed that the software that is taught is invaluable. The Adobe suite and Revit are key. Chausse added: “In addition to the software skills, being able to hand draw in perspective, understanding color theory and all the work we do in concept development has been very important.”
Mitchell stated “Before I started working with the company, I felt insecure about my skill set. I wondered if I was ready and had the ability to do this job. After working now for a while, I feel like the education I have received in the IAD department has prepared me perfectly for success in the industry. I have so much more self-confidence.”
“The classes we have taken are so thorough, everything from construction documents to our studio classes prepare us for careers on multiple levels,” said Mitchell.
Chausse stated, “With all that we have learned technically, it seems like an important part of our experience here in preparing ourselves for the working world are the relationships that we have made. Teachers that have supported me by pushing me further, to not stick with the conventional, have helped shaped the way I think about design.”
Mitchell expressed with enthusiasm, “Yes! Teachers that notice details and help us pay attention to those details are great.”
When asked what their work environment is like, looking at each other smiling, Peters said simply “School is a luxury. It’s a lot of pressure but it’s a healthy pressure.”
Mitchell added, “I am a student athlete and have been on teams but this is probably the best team I have ever been on. Everyone is supportive and open, yes, very demanding and high pressure but everyone in the office thrives.”
Chausse observed that the company leadership regularly comes around, observes your work and gives you critiques for improvement much like teachers here at school do.
When asked what they thought was a single key to success they all agreed that asking questions was vital. Asking questions of your teachers and of your supervisors is a really helpful tool.
They all expressed gratitude for their education at the Academy and the opportunities that have come their way as a result of their time here.
We’d like to say: “Way to go! We’re proud of you.”