Interior Design Instructor Krista Paine Helps Determine the Future of Interior Design Education

Krista Paine
Krista Paine

Words: Deborah Lampitt-McConnachie

Nothing is better than having a say about the things that impact us. That is why, here at the Centre for Arts & Technology, we are so happy to have Krista Paine as part of our interior design team. Krista has been in consultations with CIDQ (The Council for Interior Design Qualification) about their newly launched computerized Practicum Exam.

Krista is a registered interior designer with over ten years of experience in project management and interior design. She specializes in kitchen and bathroom design as well as high-end woodwork. She has designed numerous award-winning projects, has been honored in many magazines, and asked to be a judge for multiple building awards.

“I was invited to Alexandria, Virginia as a SMES (Subject Matter Expert) to determine what the passing point should be for the new exam,” explains Krista. “They chose designers to represent diverse backgrounds and experiences in the field of design. Out of eleven Interior Designers, I was one of two from Canada (the other from Toronto) and one of two Residential Designers. The majority were Commercial, a few Hospitality Specialists, and a few teachers.”

“It was thrilling meeting this group of amazing designers. Quite a few of them had met before through past CIDQ involvement, but I still felt as though I fit right in. Although the days were long and very involved, it was fantastic having open discussions about the experience, tasks, direction, expertise, etc.”

“Our task was to reach a consensus on the definition of the minimally qualified candidate, and determine not only “who” they are but what they will score. We had a fantastic group from Prometric (the US test administration company) who guided us along the process. We also were required to take the new PRAC exam and predict the proportion of minimally competent candidates who would answer each item correctly.”

Krista works at Paine Construction Ltd., a full-service Interior Design firm and member
of the Interior Designers Institute of BC, and teaches on a variety of courses on CAT’s Advanced Interior Design Technology Program, including Drafting, Studio Build and Portfolio Development.

Her advice for current Centre for Arts & Technology students is as follows: “Take advantage of the program and make every effort to learn every aspect of design (even if you’ve chosen a “Specialty”). Treat every project as if it were for a real client. Get a job (even part-time) in design in ANY capacity (stacking shelves at a flooring store, ordering tile, etc.). Use it as a stepping stone and work your way up. There is ALOT of education provided working in the field. And lastly – love what you do!”

As for the most important lessons that she learned while at design school? “Oh my goodness. Very hard question. Firstly, the lessons above about getting a job. Secondly, Design is very opinionated. I worked hard to ‘learn’ the lessons of Interior Design, but if I received a poor score because I chose to paint a wall red and the teacher didn’t like it, I didn’t let it bother me. I quickly learned to love every design I came up with, but didn’t get too attached (very hard lesson) – but in my opinion, it’s key.”