Georgia Southern University

Interior Design Student Wins National Award

CallieGeorgia Southern University’s Callie Harkness has been recognized by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) with an honorable mention in a student design competition for creating a living space for someone with mobility issues.

The senior interior design major from Richmond Hill, Ga., traveled to New Orleans in April for the NKBA’s spring convention to accept her award. “It was very exciting because when I entered the competition, I wasn’t expecting to win or place,” said Harkness. “Being picked was like the interior design judges saying ‘Hey, you are really good, and we like your work.’ This was a really good experience where I met a lot of professional designers and being able to talk with them was a rewarding opportunity.”

Harkness’ assignment started a year ago in her residential design studio class. Her task was to turn a man’s basement into a living space for his mother who has arthritis, uses a walker and might require a wheelchair.“In my design, I added many windows to bring in natural light and created lots of places where she could grab as she moved around like the back of a couch or countertop,” she explained. “This layout would help take some of the pressure off her knees. There is also space under the sink and stove for a stool or a wheelchair.”

Harkness, who graduates in December, said the process was very exciting because this was her first experience working for an actual client and not just a fictional person in a class assignment.  She credits the Interior Design program at Georgia Southern for developing the skills needed to win the NKBA award. “I think the way our professors begin by introducing the basics of residential design and build on those concepts before getting into the more complex and technical issues and codes of hospitality, corporate and health care designs is a good way to do it.”

“Callie is just a dream student who is dedicated, inquisitive, focused and creative,” said Patricia Walton, assistant professor of interior design. “Callie’s design work and critical thinking skills reflect her experience and maturity. She is meticulous in her detailing which the judges recognized, but her artistic abilities sold them on her design through skillful renderings. Callie combines the right and left brain which makes the best designer.”

kitchenThis summer, Harkness is an intern at Anne Hagerty Interiors in Savannah where she is learning more about residential design while preparing to start her career. “My dream job is to work high end residential,” explained Harkness. “I’d love to work in Savannah and create the designs to restore historic homes and furnish and decorate them.”

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 120 degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement.  Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit:

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