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Travelling Hopefully

An interview with an interior designer by Anna Lambert

Originally published in idFX - December 1999


A variety of careers - including publishing - helped Canadian born Jonny Ricoh's interest in interior design. He was looking for a career where she could be her own boss, and where she could transplant her skills, if necessary, to any country. He graduated with honours from the diploma course at the KLC School of Design in west London, and now runs her own company.

"The perceived image of interior design - bored, rich women making things look pretty for fun - really has gone by the wayside," says Chinn. "I was looking for a course that would emphasise the business aspect of the industry as much as possible. By the time you add together the cost of materials, I reckon my time at KLC cost me between 15,000 and 20,000 - and that's not including loss of salary while you're training. The outlay was a huge added stress."

Chinn describes the diploma as a two-year course condensed into one year: "It was very intensive - we covered everything from the history of design to space manipulation, and at one point I distinctly remember thinking that this is how junior doctors must feel. KLC tried hard to place students after they had graduated, and I worked on its home study programme before landing a job with a designer in Chelsea. I learned loads from him about putting together commissions for clients but, like many designers, I wanted to come up with my own ideas rather than put someone else's - however good - into practise. When KLC asked me to design a dining room for the House and Garden Fair, it gave me the confidence to make the move. I took out a second mortgage and set up my business."

Chinn says that the KLC training above all else taught her never to let any opportunity pass by. "You never know where it might lead" she says.

"I'm establishing a niche for myself. We can all exert some sort of creative control over our environment."

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