What inspired you to become an interior designer?

My father inspired me to become a designer.  When I was younger my dad and his friends would do renovations together, build each other’s homes and do countless weekend projects.  He always seemed to be designing, building or re-finishing something.  When I was in middle school, my parents built theirdream home and I got to watch the process from design through the construction – much of which I was able to help with.  I took architectural classes in the 9th grade, and attended a career and technology school in both my junior and senior year of high school.  Even today my dad amazes me with the items he is able to create in his workshop, which is now larger then my parents house, but it keeps me wanting to design more as well.  I hope he and I can soon work on some of the projects I have been designing myself that we can eventually build together.

After college, I started working at the Rhosymedre Design Group doing high-end residential design from 2003-2007, mostly focusing on custom millwork design, custom drapery & upholstery.  I did much of the installation in-house, installing wall coverings, painting, staining, creating and installing drapery.  I also learned to upholster and measure fabric quantities while doing in-house take offs.  Since 2007, I have been a project manager at DBI, working on projects such as NASA Galleys, Reston Bible Church, BAE Systems, International Launch Services, and working with Corporate Office Properties Trust for the past two and half years.


What are you passionate about and why?

I love photography.  I feel like it’s one of the best ways to allow others to get a glimpse of how you see things.  With landscapes, you can truly show how a place can make you feel, what you enjoy of it and its pleasures.  I also enjoy underwater photography because many people don’t get to see what lays 100s of feet under the surface and every experience is different.  Even with underwater photography I’m not quite sure what I caught in the frame until I review on my computer.

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– Mandy Harshman, LEED AP, Project Manager at DBI’s Reston Office.