How to Prepare: Turning Creative Passion to Sustainable Interior Design Career & Business With Tracy Dyck

Have you ever sketched a plan for your dream home? Do you give home styling advice to your friends? Perhaps you simply enjoy designing beautiful spaces. Whatever your creative passion is, you can turn it into a sustainable career and business in interior design.

The journey of our special guest, Tracy Dyck of S3 Interior Design, proves this. Her first kick at interior design started at about seven years old – from designing her first bedroom to creating spaces for her Barbies. Years later, she made her home sustainable using straw bales for the exterior walls.

Though her journey is full of twists and turns, it eventually led her back to interior design and building her business. It shows how we all developed and changed over time. It shows how it is possible to start thinking and going in one direction, but as you grow and learn, you can pivot and go in another that is still authentic.

If you are considering or have decided to follow your passion into a career as an interior designer, listen to this episode and learn Tracy’s best practices and processes.

Why you’ve got to check out today’s episode
  • Discover Tracy’s 3-step process to prepare for a career in interior design

  • Find out what made her decide against interior design right out of high school and what made her change her mind

  • Learn the two prerequisites you should learn as an interior designer

    About the Guest:

    Tracy Dyck is a Professional Interior Designer and Director of Business Development at S3 Interior Design. She took the traditional path into interior design, doing both residential and some commercial, with a niche towards sustainable design. She also built her own sustainable house using straw bale.

    Her love for solving puzzles about how people’s spaces interact led her to a career in interior design. She received a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and is NCIDQ-certified.

    She founded S3 Interior Design in 2003 to build a company that would not only make a positive impact on the industry but also on the community and the environment.

    After working on all aspects of building the business and leading design projects, Tracy has since directed her focus on business development and leadership support. Her mission is to continually improve the client and team experience.

    Beyond work, she loves spending summers at the lake, traveling, and spending time with her husband, Kevin, and their two amazing daughters.

    Connect with Tracy Dyck:
    IG: @s3interiordesign

      Check out these episode highlights

      2.34 – How Tracy started S3 Interior Design in 2003

      S3 stood initially for Spaces, Surfaces, and Swatches (what an interior designer works with) but it changed and grew over the years and now stands for Smart, Sustainable Spaces because they have a passion for sustainability direction with what they do

      4.17 – Her first kick at interior design started at about seven years old – from designing her first bedroom to creating spaces for her Barbies

      6.35 – Why she chose Social Work over Interior Design for college

      7.00 – How she ended up switching to Interior Design

      7.56 – What made her decide against interior design right out of high school and what made her change her mind

      9.35 – The importance of interior design in the world of sustainability

      10.35 – The challenges of sustainable design and the different ways to carry it out

      11.48 – How she made her own home sustainable 15-16 years ago using straw bale as exterior walls

      14.56 – Her transition from design school to working in the career

      16:43 – How she switched from working for a local designer to doing it on her own

      19.01 – Her commercial design experience

      20.43 – Residential vs. Commercial

      • If you like an intimate personal relationship with your clients, then residential is a great stream
      • If you like things that are a little bit more programmatic then commercials can be a really good realm

      22.08 – Her design team’s expertise

      22.37 – Her team of five

      • A senior designer
      • An intermediate designer
      • A junior designer
      • An office administrator
      • And then herself

      22.48 – Why she stepped away from the design role into business development

      24.05 – The most challenging part of interior design

      26.40 – Two prerequisites you should learn as an interior designer

      1. Mediation
      2. Negotiation

      27.33 – Why she wishes she had known or had been given a little bit more of a better outline of what a good set of drawings are

      29.07 – Tracy’s 3-step process to prepare for a career in interior design

      1. Find someone in the building industry that will let you work for them
      2. Get an on-site job in construction
      3. Build something for a few months/years

      Why this approach? This will help you understand how a space goes together. You will be better at designing something that works if you can see how they work

      30.44 – Her weakest link when she was starting out

      31.28 – The benefits of having hands-on experience in construction

      • You will learn to speak a mutual language
      • You will feel more confident about what you’re talking about
      • You will be respected a lot more highly on the job site

      32.41 – The different educational streams in interior design

      • Cosmetics (surface treatments, finishes, fixtures, and furniture)
      • Architectural (space planning, puzzle, and structure)
      • Technology (building systems)

      33.15 – Questions to ask to determine the kind of education you want to get in college

      • What do you enjoy about design?
      • Do you enjoy dealing with fabrics, finishes, and colors?
      • Do you like space planning, puzzle, and structure?

      Figure out what sort of lights you up and then pick your education path that way

      34.51 – How it’s possible to get into the interior design without formal education

      35.49 – The interior design path where formal education is necessary

      36.45 – Whether formal education is necessary or not?

      • Codes-based environment? YES
      • Decor, decorating, more surfaces? NOT REALLY

      37.06 – The discussion of how much is a college degree worth to do the career