Studying in France, interning in London
When Ludmilla Riou realised that she couldn’t deny her passion for interiors any longer she took a leap of faith to change careers and study with IDO. Ludmilla is an inspiring example of a student doing what it takes to break into the interiors industry. She’s been working on freelance interiors projects while she studies for her Diploma of Interior Design and has recently had an enriching internship in London.
What inspired you to study interiors?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be an Interior Designer, but I decided to study graphic design. After graduating I worked in advertising agencies before freelancing and specialising in branding.
Even while working as a Graphic Designer I always had interior design on my mind but I never thought I could change my career. Then my husband and I bought an apartment which was built in 1951 and had remained unchanged since. I led and managed the entire refurbishment, interior design and decoration and had it completed within two months. It was pretty intense but I’d never felt so fulfilled. From the first day my love of interiors kicked in and I realised I’d made a mistake in my studies and career. I set out to look for the best course that would prepare me for my dream job.
“I did some research and found that IDO seemed to have the most comprehensive courses. I contacted several past IDO students on Linkedin and Instagram and their opinions and feedback were overwhelmingly positive. So my decision to study with IDO was an easy one to make.”
What are you enjoying about being an IDO student?
The units of study allow us to explore a wide variety of subjects and to cover them comprehensively. I like the way we’re trained to work on projects and to develop our creativity.
The availability of the Educators is incredible – I almost don’t feel like I’m doing distance learning!
When I recently did my internship, I became even more aware of the quality and relevance of my education at IDO. I realised how well I’d been shaped to work in the industry – all the subjects I would need at work had been covered!
How did your internship in London come about?
In France it’s impossible to get an internship if you’re not enrolled in a course here. I was keen to put the knowledge I’d gained so far into practice, so I knew that I needed to consider doing that abroad. London was my first choice because I love it there and there are design studios that I aspire to work at that I’d been following for a long time. With the help of Sheridan, the IDO Careers Coach, I worked out a plan to score an internship and I made contact with my top 8 favourite studios.
KAI Interiors was the very first studio I start following – even before I decided to enrol in IDO. I particularly love their commercial projects, so I was very excited when they offered me an internship. It felt quite symbolic to me.
What did you learn and what did you enjoy most during your time at KAI Interiors?
I learned so much thanks to the great team there including creative thinking, working on real projects, design process and presentation skills. Actually, I had already learned a lot of that as an IDO student, but my internship allowed me to put my knowledge into practice to see how things work in an interiors studio.
I loved working with such great people. They were always willing to help me and to take time to explain how to do things the right way.
Michaela Reysenn of KAI is an inspiring woman and it was so interesting to see how she succeeded in creating her business and achieving her goals. The most important thing I observed was how to run an interior design studio.
I also absolutely loved being in London – it’s such an inspiring city! I hope to be able to work there one day.
You’re working on your own interiors projects while studying, tell us about them.
Having enjoyed running my own business when I freelanced as an Art Director I knew when I started IDO that I would probably end up working for myself. I decided to anticipate that by choosing a business name – Romance Intérieurs – and creating the branding, a website and an Instagram account @romance_interieurs. I knew it was important to establish an online presence from the beginning.
While I was in London I completed two interior decoration projects. They were only small jobs, but it was a good start! Since returning to France I’ve been approached by a few more potential clients. I’m currently working on a colour consultation and an interior decoration project.
What aspect of interior design and decoration do you enjoy the most?
I love the beginning of a new project when I start gathering colours and finishes. Big ideas are forming and the project is beginning to take shape in my mind. I also love the fact that I need to organise a number of different things concurrently and bring everything together to create a beautiful result. In France, we like to say we are the ‘Conductor’, which I think is an appropriate image.
What inspires you ?
I often listen to podcasts featuring successful people and inspiring designers to stay motivated and inspired. It’s fascinating to learn how they work and think, how they stay creative and how they’ve achieved success.
Do you have any tips for other students or people wanting to get into interiors?
I have to be honest, it’s challenging changing careers, but it’s so worth it! I’ve had periods of doubt and self-questioning… “What if I don’t find any clients? What if I’m not good enough?” But I’m so happy.
Studying with IDO with a view to changing careers is the best decision I’ve made. Even though some aspects can be hard it’s very much worth it because I feel so fulfilled when I study and practice interior design. I’m currently reading a very good book called ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ which has been very helpful!
It’s not easy to change your career and start from scratch, but if it’s your passion you’ll find a way to do it. Don’t wait for things to come to you – be proactive and take the lead.
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