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    Student Design Competition 2018 a roaring success!

    Kristi Hickey talks about her Consign to Design shop and their program to mentor college studentsMichael Patrick/News Sentinel



    Some 42 interior design students scrambled around a local furniture store carrying sofas, shifting tables and hanging pictures and mirrors to create a room for imaginary clients.

    The second annual Consign to Design student competition was so successful that key organizer Judy Gooch submitted photos of the event to the Interior Design Society (IDS), and its East Tennessee chapter was awarded "Excellence in Programs and Educational Activities” for the unique mentorship program.

    Gooch, a member of the east chapter of IDS, and Chapter President Susan Larmoyeux attended the IDS annual conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 20 to receive the award for the fall competition.

    It was the second year in a row Consign to Design has partnered with IDS to host the event.

    Consign to Design is a locally-owned 28,000-square-foot upscale furniture and home décor consignment store. It offers a wide selection of gently-used upscale furniture, artwork and home décor at up to 50-70 percent below regular retail prices.

    Consign to Design opened in November 2010, quickly outgrew a spot in the Lovell Heights Shopping Center and tripled the store's space after moving to 9329 Kingston Pike in a former Hobby Lobby location.

    “One of the big things about consignment is that you’re recycling furniture,” said Kristi Hickey, who co-owns the store along with husband David. “You’re not throwing it away and we get a lot of high-end furniture – no particle board, just good wood – we don’t take junk. People spend a lot of money on their furniture and don’t want to just give it away. They want to get something for it, so we get really good quality items at fairly inexpensive prices.”

    Creating design vignettes

    Consign to Design and IDS invited students from Pellissippi State Community College and Carson Newman University Interior Design Schools to create a cohesive vignette, using only the merchandise available in the store.

    “They had to create a client scenario and come up with an impromptu presentation,” said Kristi Hickey. “We just enjoy the students so much and love being involved in our community. We want to be a source of inspiration and provide an atmosphere where these young people can get hands-on, practical experience while having a great time too.”

    Consign to Design staff cleared a section of the shop floor, taped off 12x12-square-foot spaces for teams of four to five to work within. Contestants were given 45 minutes to browse the store for inspiration and an hour and a half to shift furniture and accessories into a winning design.

    Hickey had been attending local IDS meetings when she suggested hosting a challenge for students to come into the store to decorate and get hands-on experience.

    HGTV-inspired challenge

    “I love HGTV, that’s how I got the idea of a design challenge,” she said. “It’s like going into someone’s home and redecorating. We said 'ready, set, go' and they got the items, took them to their site and came up with the different vignettes, which were judged by local designers.”

    Designer members of the chapter were on hand to act as gophers as the students selected and moved furniture into position. They could not offer the students any design advice.

    Vouchers for Consign to Design and Jerry’s Artarama, to purchase art supplies, were awarded to the top three designs and for the best “client” presentation.

    The student-designed vignettes were left on display and customers were able to purchase the items after the competition was judged.

    “It’s a whirlwind,’ added Gooch. “They develop a lot of camaraderie. Rather than an individual process, they learn to be collaborative.”

    Since many of the students had participated in the competition in 2015, Gooch said there was a lot of excitement prior to the September 2016 event.

    “We didn’t do the activity to win the award,” said Gooch. “But afterwards, we realized we had a really good chance and submitted our entry. We were competing with programs from all over the United States, including New York City.

    “We were extremely proud to receive an award that recognized how our chapter is making an effort to mentor the students in our area. We have the opportunity to support them as they begin their careers.”

    Gooch said they emphasize that as students graduate and go out on their own, they can call on other chapter members.

    “Nobody knows everything and we’ll be happy to tell them where there is a great resource they can use,” she said. “In unfamiliar territory, it helps to have a network of experienced designers.”

    In store for the future

    The future of any organization is getting new members involved, according to Gooch.

    “We are just so glad we have been able to continue strong relationships and establish a mentoring program.”

    Gooch said students regularly show up at the chapter’s meetings.

    “It’s unheard of,” she said. “After we got the award other people couldn’t believe we could get the students to turn up voluntarily.”

    The Eastern Tennessee Chapter of IDS was chartered in 1985, and its membership consists of regional residential interior designers and industry partners whose businesses provide products and services for those designers.

    In addition to the annual student design competition, Consign to Design also hosts interior design, painting and home staging classes from time to time.

    Planning is already underway to hold the third annual event at Consign to Design, after the fall semester starts on Sept.19. Hickey said that the theme for the upcoming competition will be tablescapes for the Holidays.

    All items for sale in Consign to Design are also available to view on the store’s website at An online application offers rewards for shoppers, such as a $10 coupon for every $200 purchase. Sellers can log into private online accounts to track consignment sales of their items at any time of the day.

    For more information:  Youtube Knox News 


    IDS Members help at Local Habitat for Humanity Home

    We are so proud of Regina, Esther, Susan, Whitney, and Marni for contributing sweat and triumph as volunteers for the Habitat for Humainty Women Build in 2017!  Here is a little more about the project.

    "Across our community, women and children are the most impacted by substandard living conditions.  The Knoxville Habitat Women Build is your opportunity to join hundreds of other women in spotlighting the housing challenges local women face and at the same time help to build a safe, permanent home for a special mother and her family.  You are invited to devote one day (or more!) to help a local family build their home.  Join us, and invite your friends!  We'll kick off on Saturday, May 6th, and for six consecutive Saturdatys women will unite for a common purpse, overcome challenges, and raise awareness to the barriers that women face in securing affordable homes.  In 2016, over 200 women worked together to raise more than $25,000 toward building a home for Irina and her family.  Priceless volunteer hours were contributed, and permanent friendships were made.  With your support of the 2017 Women Build,m we can continue empowering women to help families build strength, stability, and self-reliance in the community we share."


    Award Winning Student Design Competition

    The third annual Consign To Design Student Competition will be held Tuesday, September 12th at Consign to Design, 9329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922 from 5:30-8:00pm. Over 50 students from Pellissippi State Community College and Carson Newman University are expected to compete on 10 teams

    Gift cards will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams, and for the best presentation.


    Trade Affiliate Spotlight – Exact Tile Inc

    We are honored to have each of our trade affiliate members and their support for us and our community.  Exact Tile has been a support for a number of years, and we are so thankful for their team’s influence and participation in our chapter.

    Their dedication to give customers superb service from their expert tile designers gives Knoxville beautifully design, and expertly tiled spaces.  Their services include home consultations and AutoCad / SketchUp drawings. They are committed to staying up to date with the latest trends, products and designs in tile and pride themselves with attention to detail and high quality installation.  Their beautiful showroom is full of handmade, one of a kind tiles and products that you cannot find just anywhere. Brands such as Walker Zanger, Encore Ceramics, Marble Systems, Bella Vista Tile, Tabarka, Mercury Mosaics, Red Rocks, Metal Coat Tile & Signs and Ticsa America, as well as natural stone fireplaces, range hoods, sinks and heated floors.

    Here are some examples of their range of solutions, and beautiful installations.