Design professional who is transitioning from fashion to a career in Interior Design.

So that's the opening sentence and reality of my world! I have been a Children's Wear Designer, in NYC, for the past 23 years. I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and received a BFA in Fashion Design. It has been rewarding and considering I have worked 4 days a week much of my career, and make a good living, I shouldn't complain. BUT personally it feels like Groundhog Day! I should warn you now I will proof read this but English/ Spelling (thank goodness for spell check) and grammar have never been one of my strong points. 

Going back to my childhood, my mother for the first 12 years of my life was a stay at home super creative mom. She wallpapered, painted, sewed and could make whatever she wanted. My father had an aluminum siding and roofing business. Both my parents came from large families. My mom was the oldest of six children, while my dad was third youngest out of eight. Most of my uncles were in construction from small jobs, to full house remodels and rental properties. As a child I was up on the roof and always around some sort of remodel/ construction job site. If my families houses were being improved my uncles did the work themselves. I loved seeing the mess turn into beautiful spaces.

In High School, I was in the Fashion Design program and we had an annual fashion show, where I made several garments from scratch. I didn't know that Interior Design existed as a career option back then so my creative outlet was fashion. I took classes at F.I.T. on Saturdays and then during the summer for High School students. When I graduated (a year early), I ONLY applied to F.I.T. so THANK GOODNESS I was accepted!! I was married and had a baby from the age of 16 so I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't been accepted. Luckily "it all worked out" and I graduated F.I.T. in 1996. I was only 5 years into my career when I realized  I wasn't going to want to do this the rest of my life. I owed a house by then and loved decorating and remodeling. I also pretty much only watched HGTV which is when I realized, I wanted to be an Interior Designer when I grow up!!

I attended night classes in Interior Design and in 2004 I received my degree. Around the same time we took on a huge remodeling project of our home. We added an entire second floor and extended the house out 10 feet. With the help of my step father and brother-in-law, I designed the entire remodel, which was given to the architect to draw up for the permits. My uncle was the contractor that did the remodel so I had hands on experience though out the entire process. Every morning at 7am we went over the plan for the day. The house went from a 1975 sq ft ranch to a 3800 sq ft 2 story home (including the basement). With my degree out of the way and the distractions of the house, I faux finished, applied venetian plaster, painted and designed my house. I LOVED every minute of it. Life happened, my son attended college and a career change was just not an option. So I continued on as the not so glamorous "Fashion Designer".

Fast forward to today.... Finally after dabbling here and there over the years in Interior Design projects, I am in a position to make a career change! I am super excited for what the future will bring. I hope you will follow me in my journey as I transition from Fashion Designer to Interior Designer : ))) I hope to aspire everyone to follow their dreams because I truly believe that if you put your mind to something and work hard ANYTHING is possible!!!


Nicole de la Cruz

(my alter ego since my husband spells it Dela Cruz but I told him de la Cruz is more glamorous lol a la Oscar de la Renta ; ))

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Blog Content

Many Interior Design blogs I have read are about trends, DIY, and/or great interior spaces. They contain beautiful images by talented designers I admire. This blog may eventually be similar but for now it's about the journey of a career change, what I am realizing I didn't learn in school and how important it is to get real world experience. On the job, in the field, is where the real education begins.

In college I learned the foundation, principles and overview of Interior Design but now I'm trying to learn everything else! We learned hand rendering and presentation boards. I took the required AutoCad class, which I got an A in, but like any program the more you use it the better you are at it. I can pick up new programs quickly so I'm not concerned with learning to use a new program. What I am trying to figure out is what's the best affordable program? Is it AutoCad, Revit, AutoDesk, Sketchup, Roomstyler, Photoshop, 20/20, ProKitchen ect. I'll share what I have discovered so far in this post and will continue to update as I go along.


About a month ago, I downloaded a free trial of ProKitchen to design a kitchen I'm working on. During the two week trial I was able to learn the program and found it very user friendly. I received a GoToMeeting tutorial from Bob who was awesome and very knowledgeable. He spent an hour going over the tools and features. He then checked back a week later and at the end of the trial to see my progress and answer any questions. The program will create elevations and 3D images for you once you get your cabinets in your floor plan. The 3D view is fully rotational and there is a high definition feature which I loved! The ProKitchen software has a complete list of cabinet manufacturers to choose from. It will generate an up to date pricing list and pdf of exactly what needs to be ordered based off your design. The program is online and I was quoted a price of $1795 a year for a single cabinet manufacturer and $2595 for multiple (over 300). The software updates are automatic since it's online. They offer support and answer questions within 4 hours. If I was heavily designing kitchens this program would be great and love that the client can visualize the design from the 3D rendering feature.

See images below that were created using ProKitchen. For youtube tutorial videos you can check out this link


Most recently I've watched youtube videos on creating 3D room renderings in perspective in Photoshop. As a fashion Designer, I have worked 90 percent in Adobe Illustrator and only about 10 percent in Photoshop. I have always had a love hate relationship with Photoshop and I didn't know why the print services we bought from used it. After the past week of working in it, I get it now!  It's extremely easy to manipulate images and quickly create a 3D perspective room. Again youtube is a free educational tool that you can learn anything through! I have googled and discovered Brian Lee of The Design Cure Academy. He has free tutorial videos that walk you through Photoshop for Interior Design specifically and the tools needed. Instead of showing you everything the program is capable of he focuses on exactly what tools you need to get the job done. There are packages you can buy with short cuts and templates but since I already had a base knowledge I was able to learn just through the video lessons. They are short and to the point which I love! I also feel it's important to know how to build a room in perspective from scratch on my own. I was able to pull images off the internet of doors, textures, furniture ect specific to my design and didn't want to use generic images. The below image is the first room I created using Photoshop which is not bad. I do need to work on the skew feature some more on the chairs but overall I'm happy with the end result. 

Check out this link for Brian's lessons

Photoshop Room Rendering

My plan is to learn Sketchup and 20/20 next so I'll let you know how that goes after.

I'm not sure I'm doing this whole blog thing right?! If nothing else I'm documenting my journey in the hope that maybe I can help and/or inspire someone else along the way. : ))