Ailsa Macgregor, Senior Interior Designer: Pathway into Interior Design

By April 28, 2017News

In the beginning:

I was always a more practical and creative student, only feeling passionate about PE and art. At sixth form we had to complete two weeks of work experience, which I split between two very different companies: a local bank and ITV. This was the time I had to decide if I wanted to take the safe route or the risky one! The creative subjects were never positioned to me as providing much opportunity, more like a narrow field where you could either paint a masterpiece or you couldn’t. My work experience really helped me figure out which direction I wanted to head. At ITV I worked with the set designers, costume design and filmography and I learnt that in the design sector there was no right or wrong answer, intriguing me to explore more.

Choosing the right path:

I decided to do a year’s art foundation at Kingston University, which allows students to explore all art and design areas. I really enjoyed the course but fell ill with mumps (a common university illness) resulting in missing the final term, which was funnily enough Interior Design! Before I knew it the dreaded ‘career path’ question came up again and I settled on Product Design. Over the summer holidays it dawned on me that this wasn’t for me and I changed to Interior Design

Starting young:

I’d always had a fond interest in property, interior décor and space planning. From a young age I had experimented with and taken pride in my bedroom. At this time the trending programs included Changing Rooms, DIY SOS and 60 Minutes. I was heavily inspired, so much so that when my Mum left me and a friend in the house for an hour one day we transformed the house in the style of a 60 minute makeover. I thought she would be extremely grateful, but she was not a fan of our nautical theme, which included the lovely timber doors being painted in turquoise and blue stripes. I was eight years old!


The degree was harder than I envisaged, working five days a week 9-5. It doesn’t sound hard at all now, but it definitely wasn’t the easy chilled uni lifestyle I expected. We explored all areas of design from the old pencil on paper drawing boards to CAD, 3D visuals, model making and mood boards. The main skill I learnt was how to create a strong concept and develop it into a final design package. Most importantly though, I made some great friends and we still support each other.

Rethink Interiors:

Today I work as a Senior Interior Designer. I still use the skills I was taught at university in my day-to-day job, yet over the years of I’ve honed these skills to complement the various clients and projects. I love that my role is versatile, which is one of the luxuries you gain from working for a small company – one moment I can be doing drawings, then FF+E or presenting to clients.

Stay inspired:

My advice would be to always strive to learn new skills and push the boundaries. Ensure you are always being inspired, whether that’s through exploring galleries, showrooms, iconic establishments or just meeting motivational people on your journey. The more you explore the more you are inspired, and the more you’re inspired the better the story your work will tell!

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