Interior design student on her way to the top

Tannis Kufner


Georgia Southern University student Callie Harkness received recognition from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) in a student design competition, according to a news release.

Harkness was awarded an honorable mention for creating a living space for someone with mobility issues.

The senior interior design major from Richmond Hill traveled to New Orleans in April to accept her award.

“It was very exciting because when I entered the competition, I wasn’t expecting to win or place,” Harkness said in the news release. “Being picked was like the interior design judges saying ‘Hey, you are really good, and we like your work.’ ”

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,” Harkness said in the news release.

“Callie’s design work and critical thinking skills reflect her experience and maturity,” Patricia Walton, assistant professor of interior design said. “She is meticulous in her detailing which the judges recognized, but her artistic abilities sold them on her design through skillful renderings.”

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, Harkness said in the news release.

“Callie is just a dream student who is dedicated, inquisitive, focused and creative,” Walton said in the news release. “Callie combines the right and left brain which makes the best designer.”

Harkness credits the Interior Design program at GSU 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 ideas before getting into the more complex and technical issues and codes of hospitality, corporate and healthcare designs is a good way to do it,” Harkness said.

This 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,” Harkness said. “I’d love to work in Savannah and create the designs to restore historic homes and furnish and decorate them.”