The New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) recently held its annual Design Excellence Awards (DEA) celebration. Seventeen interior designers won 40 awards among them in 17 categories. Three students were also awarded. Caitlyn Dolan of Brookdale Community College won in the Residential Space category, Mary Castellano of Kean University in the Commercial Space category, and Kerri Neumann of Berkeley College in the Public Space category.
Participants submitted projects in the residential and commercial/non-residential sectors. The winners covered categories ranging from unique residential space and design for people with specific or special needs to hospitality space, hotel, restaurant and club.
The judges were made up of award-winning former ASID members from across the country and followed strict criteria in their judging. The criteria, which varied from one category to another, had one constant. Entrants in all categories were judged on “A positive impact on human life and experience.”
Dolan from Brookdale submitted a project completed in the introductory interior design course taught by Professor Celeste Chirichello. The mission was to design a residence for a disabled person. Dolan chose to design her space for someone with Parkinson’s disease, a disease close to her heart, having had a grandfather who was affected by it.
“We were given the ‘shell’ of a building and asked to develop a concept that would inspire our floor plan, finishes and furniture selections,” Dolan said. “I decided to use birch as inspiration and locate the residency in Finland.”
Considered sacred by many, birch trees are referred to as ‘the lady of the woods’, symbolizing regeneration, protection, resilience and healing. This was the heart of the design inspiration for his residence.
Parkinson’s disease is a disease that slows down the body, causing stiffness, instability and pain, Dolan decided it was vital to use inspiration that embodies the goals of that person’s healing process.
“Relying on the symbolic meaning of birch trees serves as a counterbalance to the setbacks of the disease,” she said.
Dolan’s design was created so that as one walks through the house, she names The Korhonen Residence, they will have the impression of being transported to a birch forest and will embody this atmosphere of retirement. “The house will feel strong and stable yet soft and quiet,” she said.
“The winning projects demonstrated their purpose, integrity, creativity, and how great design affects the people who use these spaces,” said Virginia Liberated, Allied ASID, New Jersey Chapter President. “The NJ Design Excellence Awards reinforce ASID’s commitment to demonstrating how design impacts life.”
For Dolan, interior design is a second career for her. She returned to school after working in a hospital for six years. “I decided to take a few design classes at Brookdale, as a creative outlet, and quickly knew I wanted to make a career out of it,” she said. Dolan loves being able to design spaces that will improve people’s quality of life.
After graduating, Dolan plans to continue working in residential design and focus her work on sustainable, health-focused home renovations.
the Dolan website, Smell the Roses can be found here.
The Korhonen Residencean award-winning design by Caitlyn Dolan
About the Interior Design Program at Brookdale Community College
The Interior design program at Brookdale Community College encompasses the definition of professional interior designer as adopted by CIDA, NCIDQ, and ASID. The program is designed to develop creative professionals who can synthesize information and analyze problems from many different angles. The program strives to balance theoretical concepts with the provision of specialist and relevant content for practical application in response to the ever-changing needs of the design profession.
Check out the Design Viewbook to learn more about the various design programs offered at Brookdale, or attend the upcoming Ice Cream Information Social on August 17, 5:00-7:00 p.m., on the Lincroft campus.