Owner, Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc.
“I’m from a small town near Las Cruces, New Mexico, and I actually moved to Dallas to enroll in El Centro’s Interior Design program. I had asked three people where they would study interior design, and two of the three said El Centro. I worked as a waitress while I went through the three-year program, and when I graduated, I worked at Sanger Harris in the interior design department at Valley View then at Gabberts as a design consultant. From there, I worked for Cole Smith FAIA Architects for 15 years. I purchased the interior design division from Cole Smith and went out on my own in 1992.
“The program at El Centro was excellent! They brought in skilled interior designers to teach us about everything from rendering to space planning to reading plans and art history. We learned about creating color boards and selecting furniture and the basic skills of running a business — even down to the bookkeeping.
“The best part of my experience was that it was all practical — everything I would need to know and do as an interior designer, not just theory. The instructors all worked in the field and gave us practical input. We really learned the nitty-gritty of being a professional interior designer, and after graduating I felt very ready to go out and practice the profession. I don’t think I could have done justice to my clients without going through this program. It prepared me to work with many styles from simple contemporary to period rooms because I had the knowledge to understand the different elements and how to mix them.
“My advice to students starting out? It’s not an easy program — you’ll have to work hard at it and put it as a priority in your life. Always design for the client, not yourself; it’s all about satisfying the client.
“What I love about my work is that every day is different than the day before. It’s creative and interesting, and there are always new products and things to learn about. The business is always changing. I love interacting with clients and figuring out what they want and how to create something beautiful and functional for them to live with. Every job is a new puzzle to put together.
“I’m very impressed by the education I got from El Centro.”
Margaret Chambers went through El Centro’s three-year Interior Design program, graduating with an associate degree and advanced technical certificate in Interior Design. Owner of Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. since 1992, she has more than 60,000 hours of interior design career experience to her credit.
Her work has been published in more than 20 industry magazines, including Traditional Home, Texas Home & Living and Dallas Modern Luxury. Her firm has won state and national awards from the American Society of Interior Designers, and she has been named a Best Designer in Dallas by D Home magazine for nine years running. “It's all about helping our clients express themselves in their surroundings,” she says.