The world of interior design is continuously evolving, but one trend stays constant for this mom and daughter – the value of a Lakeland College education.
Courtney Corbiere is eager to accept her interior design technology
(IDT) diploma at convocation on June 7. Equally excited is her mom Shelly, who walked across the same stage 23 years prior as an IDT graduate.
Shelly, Class of 1996, is the lead designer of Shelly’s Window Coverings Ltd
and works in partnership with Nick Toma of Toma Fine Floors
in Vermilion, Alta. Before teaming up five years ago, Shelly’s path included working in retail and starting a window covering business from home. This course of action allowed her to stay up-to-date with her career while raising her family.
“Even when we traveled or moved to a new community, I could take my career with me. We decided to settle down in Vermilion about 13 years ago, and I continued working from home until the opportunity came to work with Nick at Toma.”
Working with her clients, Shelly transforms their homes to
reflect their lifestyle and does it so well that the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce awarded her with the President’s Choice Award in 2016.
“It was a huge surprise to be recognized for my work. I don’t do my work for the accolades but to be recognized solidifies that I’m doing something right. It also motivated and inspired me to keep doing more and to give my clients my best work,” Shelly says. Remaining true to her word, Shelly and Toma opened a new location in February to better serve Vermilion and the surrounding area.
Last year, Shelly also returned to Lakeland to fulfill another dream of hers; to teach in the classrooms she once learned in. Shelly says the prominent change since she was last in the classroom is the evolution of technology in the industry, adding her projects were handcrafted and took place over some time. Now, projects are rendered at the click of a mouse. She taught second-year IDT students how to use the 2020 Kitchen and Bathroom Design Planner, modern software that helps interior design professionals capture ideas and streamline processes.
“To be standing in front of them had a different spin on it. I had grown to know the students previously, so it made the experience a relaxing one. I also received good feedback so there might be other opportunities for me to do this again.
Being able to do something you love makes going to work a dream every day. ” says Shelly.
Courtney couldn’t hide her smile when she says her mom was a welcome addition to the IDT program.
“It was fun to see my mom at the front of the class. When she asked me if it was okay if she taught my class, I thought it was great. My classmates were also more than welcoming,” she explains.
Having been raised by an interior designer, Courtney’s desire to pursue a career in design was seeded early on.
“Growing up I always liked making little models, designing and watching my mom work on her projects. I also worked with her at Toma while I was in high school. There, I was exposed to more interior design,” Courtney explained. She’s breaking into industry through her practicum placement at PF Design Studio in Lethbridge, Alta.
From there, the world is her oyster.
Courtney says her Lakeland experience was a positive one thanks to dedicated instructors and a supportive work environment.
“When I've had a tough assignment or struggled with a task, I was always able to go see an instructor and talk to them. This program can be tough at times because of the late nights in the lab and deadlines, but our instructors and my classmates are very encouraging – we build each other up.”
Shelly and Courtney agree that the intimate class sizes are also a highlight of their Lakeland experience because of the amount of one-on-one time each student gets with the instructor.
Photos (Top-Bottom): Shelly and Courtney Corbiere at Shelly’s Window Coverings Ltd and Toma Fine Floors new location in Vermilion, Alta. Shelly's passion lies with window coverings and has been in the industry for over 20 years. Courtney at her desk in one of Lakeland's interior design learning spaces.