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We aren’t supposed to talk about the exam afterwards but I just have to tell you this!

Around 12 years ago it was my third time taking this eight hour long exam to obtain my interior design certification, and this time I was not going to drive into NYC to take it.

I noticed it was being given in the Red Bank, New Jersey area and that is where I was born so that was an easy choice. It was also where my dad started his church. I booked a night at the Hilton so I could wake up ten minutes from the exam location. I channeled both my parents as I packed up. I was thinking about dad and his church. And then I picked up some cookies for breakfast. The kind shaped in pretty flowers I used to bring to my mom. I meditated in the morning thinking about mom and dad asking for them to be with me and help me focus.

There were 15 of us in the classroom. The Proctor brought an exam package to each of us. A huge 24 x 36” zip lock containing large empty floor plans and the program document with instructionsexplaining what we are to design/draw on each of the six pages with time approximations we should allow for.

The proctor announced, “OK, you may begin” and started her stop watch. The first sentence I read explained the first assignment, it read, “You are to design the space for the Johannes Sebastian Bach Music School”…. JS Bach music School! JS BACH MUSIC SCHOOL? I couldn’t believe it, tears fell down my cheeks as I started the exam. My parents were there with me, I just knew it. You see, they met singing in a JS Bach chorus! They loved JS Bach’s music. They’d blast it on the record player every Sunday morning.

Yes, I passed the exam.

I had become NCIDQ certified that day.

Part of being a designer for me is to dream. I love the process of reimagining a new space. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, home office (see the before and after photo above), deck, porch, pool, hair salon, restaurant, office or church. It’s always the same, dream, design, make a mess…(demo) and begin.

Let me know when you’re ready. I am!


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Gretchen Reinheimer Design

Creating extraordinary spaces together


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