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Lauren Baumbach, IIDA, RA, AIA, NCIDQ, IDEC

What is your current job title and what kind of work do you do?

Director, Interior Design & Interior Architecture
Associate Professor
College of Architecture & the Built Environment
Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)
I am also a practicing architect and interior designer.

Where did you go to school and what degree did you receive?

M.S. In Architecture, Jefferson University
Bachelor of Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design

What is your favorite moment of your career so far?

There is no one favorite moment. There are memorable professional milestones and there are also favorite kinds of career experiences: Memorable milestones include: My first job in the industry, obtaining professional licensure, starting and running my own practice, and becoming an educator and a director. Favorite kinds of career experiences include: In practice - The completion of construction on the projects that I have designed (large or small) and the resulting transformation to peoples lives that the newly built designs inspire. In education – Educating students and reshaping them into skilled and knowledgeable graduates who go on to successful careers in interior design.

Why are you a member of IIDA?

Membership in a professional organization that embraces the breadth and diversity of interior design practice and advocates for the incredible value that interior designers bring to people’s lives is of utmost importance. IIDA supports a culture of rigorous professionalism across our industry and celebrates the fact that good design has the power to improve and transform lives.

What do you enjoy most about being in the design industry?

I love solving peoples design dilemmas. Give me any design problem at any scale and I really enjoy tackling it. The more complex the more fun. There are many ways to solve a design problem, but there is often one solution that rises to the top, which is indisputable in the way it seamlessly addresses the multiple facets of a design problem. A good design makes the solution look obvious. It is like a well rehearsed stage performance. There is much trial and error behind the scenes, but in the end it looks completely natural, even instinctual, like a well performed acrobatic routine by Cirque du Soleil.

What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

I need balance – Meaning, that I need some physical activity, preferably outdoors (walking, biking, gardening, making things . . .), some time to read to stimulate my intellect, and some time with friends, preferably over good food and stimulating conversation.

Tell us about a favorite vacation you've taken.

The best vacations are not really vacations in the common sense. I am not typically a resort person. I enjoy travel where I can immerse myself in the local culture, preferably with extended stays of weeks to months or through repeat visits. I like to go local, get to know the culture, the people, the food, the history, the way of life and, of course, the architecture. I love it when I have a personal connection who can introduce me to the place and its experiences. I have traveled quite a bit internationally, in both western and eastern cultures. I am curious and pay close attention when I travel. I find it makes me sympathetic to the many conditions in which people live. I think about how I could have been born in any one of the these places and how different my life might be if I had.

What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

I fish with my husband and I am as good a fisherman/fisherwoman as any. The best part is not necessarily catching the fish, but drifting quietly for hours on the surface of the earth on a vast body of water under big and powerful skies.

Tell us the best piece of advice for young designers.

Don’t fret about getting the perfect first job, just get one. Get experience; all experience is good. Work at a small firm or a large firm, a residential or corporate/commercial practice. There are a wide array of practice types, all with their own culture and way of doing things. You will change jobs. The most important thing is to learn as much as you can at each job. Build your knowledge and skills. Learn to distinguish good practices from bad practices. Internalize the good practices. No one can take that away from you and it travels with you to your next job. Take on challenges, try something new, continue to grow. Every situation is different and be open to opportunity. Finally, work hard, work smart, be honest, be a team player, and always be ethical and you will build a good reputation and a career.

Anything else you'd like us to know about you or like to add:

Enjoy life, have empathy, be kind to others and contribute to making a better world for all.

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member spotlight

Jeremiah Belocura, Associate IIDA

What is your current job title and what types of projects do you work on?

A+D Specialist. Serving as a liaison between Kershner Office Furniture and the architecture and design community in the Greater Philadelphia Area, I collaborate with fellow designers on a variety of projects, with an emphasis on the workplace. I am fortunate that my position enables me to be so connected to the design community here in Philadelphia and motivates me to stay informed with design trends, product introductions, and market forecasts.

Where did you go to school and what degree did you receive?

For my undergraduate degree, I attended Ave Maria University and earned a BA in Music, while for graduate studies, I attended Drexel University and earned an MS in Interior Architecture + Design.

What is your favorite moment of your career so far?

It’s always difficult to pick just one, but as someone who loves building relationships and fostering new partnerships, organizing the Kershner Office Furniture film screening of Gary Hustwit’s documentary Workplace: The Connected Space co-hosted with IIDA PA/NJ/DE Philadelphia City Center and the AIA’s Philadelphia Emerging Architects was particularly rewarding in that it marked the two organizations’ first collaboration, with additional satisfaction from everyone raving about the event and movie.

Why are you a member of IIDA?

I am a member of IIDA because it provides a concrete, effective, and gratifying connection with colleagues who share a passion for interior design, offering a venue and platform for topics and issues relevant to our profession as well as a community for support and camaraderie.

What do you enjoy most about being in the design industry?

What I enjoy most is being able to make a difference in people’s lives by helping to design safe, functional, and beautiful environments by exercising my creativity as well as my organizational and interpersonal skills.

What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

As someone who is constantly on the go interfacing with clients, colleagues, and peers, I oddly enough truly enjoy quiet Saturdays getting personal errands done during the day and then connecting with friends doing something low-key in the evening. These are increasingly rare, so I cherish them when I can get them!

Tell us about a favorite vacation you've taken.

Maybe because it was recent, but this past trip to France and the UK over Memorial Day this year was still one for the books. It involved discovering breathtaking Normandy (Mont St. Michel is a must even though it’s touristy!) with my family; reuniting with my beloved Paris and London while staying at quintessential lodgings in both, showing off Europe to my buddies, and rendezvousing with expatriated friends; and finally driving on the wrong side of the road in the wrong side of a car while refamiliarizing myself with driving stick shift.

What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

I don’t have universal confirmation, but I think people are generally surprised when I tell them that I’m pretty stingy when it comes to clothing. Dressing well thankfully does not have to mean spending a fortune….just some creativity and sleuthing!

What else should we know?!

Design school is what brought me to Philadelphia from Texas, and after 7+ years, I am still so grateful that it did. Philadelphia has been a place of tremendous personal, spiritual, and professional growth for me, so I consider it truly providential that interior design directed me to the community and career I cherish.

Going back to celebrating firsts, please join Kershner Office Furniture and Humanscale Philadelphia for our respective first DesignPhiladelphia event on Thursday, October 4th, 2018 from 6-9pm at the Humanscale Philadelphia Showroom at 2104 Market Street, covering the topic “Beyond Sustainability” with Humanscale Director of Workplace Strategies John Strassner!

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member spotlight

Sarah Keefer, Associate IIDA

What is your current job title and what types of projects do you work on?

I am the Territory Manager, A+D Development, for Global Furniture Group. I love my role in that I get to work on all types of projects; commercial, education, healthcare, big and small. The definite bonus to the job is the talented designers I get to meet and work with.

Where did you go to school and what degree did you receive?

I attended the University of Alabama and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.

What is your favorite moment of your career so far?

I don’t know that I have a particular favorite moment, but I do love walking in to a space that I

helped design thinking “I was a part of creating this”. It’s at that moment that you forget about the late nights, endless redlines, numerous addendums and never-ending progress meetings and remember why you became a designer.

Why are you a member of IIDA?

It is easy to sit back and be complacent about what you do and where you are in your career. I am a member of IIDA because I get the chance to meet great people at events and meetings, continuously educate myself through programs and the many inspiring voices, share ideas and brainstorm with so many talented individuals and be a part of some really fun and creative events. I have been in this industry for quite a while now and I never want to stop learning or challenging myself.

What do you enjoy most about being in the design industry?

The people. The creativity. The individuality. The Passion. The challenges.

What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

You can’t beat a day on the beach. I grew up at the Jersey Shore and get there as often as my schedule allows.

Tell us about a favorite vacation you've taken.

It is more of a moment on a vacation. I went to Maui on a work trip a few years back and had the chance to experience the Mt Haleakala Sunrise. At the Summit, 10,000 feet above sea level, it was the most peaceful, surreal experience, I would not trade anything for that moment.

What is your favorite IIDA event to date?

Can I be biased and say Flea Market Flip?

Tell us about Flea Market Flip and what makes it a great IIDA event.

The overall goal of the Flea Market Furniture Flip is to take an item from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and “flip” it by drastically improving its appearance or usability to auction off at a higher value. All proceeds from the sold items go back to Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia.

The idea came about at a fall planning meeting; we wanted to come up with an annual/signature event that combined design and giving back. It took a while to get a committee together and turn the idea in to reality but once we got the team assembled (Heather Robinson, Liz Munich & Greg Bradley from Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia), it was full steam ahead. We had some stumbling blocks and learning curves, but the event turned out to be a huge success. We were able to give back $1400.00 to Habitat through the silent auction and through our 50/50 raffle we gave $404 to the #HabitatHammersBack fund which last year supported disaster relief in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Not to mention all the positive feedback we got from the design community and an amazing letter of gratitude from the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, Corinne O’Connell.

We are deep in the planning phases for Flea Market Flip 2018 and our goal is to double last year’s numbers! So please mark your calendars on September 27th and join us for an evening of fun, creativity and giving back.

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Nicole Cocolin, IIDA, NCIDQ

What is your current job title and what types of projects do you work on?

I am the owner and managing principal of DCC Design group (, an interior design firm focused primarily in the Healthcare and Corporate Office industries. At DCC we take a comprehensive approach to design, engaging ourselves in each of the moving parts that must come together for a project to be completed successfully.

Where did you go to school and what degree did you receive?

After high school, I went to college for business and received my Associates Degree. Years later, I decided to follow my heart and attended Philadelphia University where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design.

What is your favorite moment of your career so far?

Honestly, the moment I hired my first designer. Funny enough, the conversation took place at a folding table that I bought from Home Depot in a bare office space. I was just starting out as a business owner, so knowing that my passion for design inspired someone else to join me on this journey gave me the boost of confidence I needed to quickly grow our firm.

Why are you a member of IIDA?

Because I believe in what we do as designers, and I’ve seen firsthand the impact that professionals in our industry can have in our communities, in our country and around the world. But to do what we do successfully, we need community support, continuing education, and the opportunity to share our knowledge and problem-solving skills with others to advance our profession and cultivate the generations of designers to come.

What do you enjoy most about being in the design industry?

As designers we are responsible not only for the built environment, but also for the ways in which we and others experience space. I love the challenge this presents. Designers must understand their clients, users, consumers, and the general population on a social, political and economic level to produce stimulating environments for all.

What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

Wake up late, grab a hot cup of coffee from Starbucks, and spend the afternoon wandering around different antique shops. Either that, or you can find me at the beach.

Tell us about a favorite vacation you've taken.

Hands down, Italy was the trip of a lifetime. The food is fantastic, the culture is intoxicating, and the history is truly inspiring.

Membership Benefits

Download the IIDA Membership Benefits Guide to take advantage of everything that IIDA has to offer:

Membership Levels

by the numbers - 663 members (dec. 2017)

IIDA membership provides you a support network that connects you to peers, clients, and educators while offering you the opportunity to advance your career through continuing education, industry recognition, and relevant research. We work for you to advocate for design excellence, legislation, leadership, accreditation, and community outreach to increase the value and understanding of Interior Design as a profession that enhances business value and positively impacts the health and well-being of people’s lives every day.

Whether you are a design professional, educator, or student, IIDA has a membership level to fit your experience.

Professional Interior Designer

  • Professionals are actively engaged in the profession and are NCIDQ certified OR are actively engaged in the profession and meet additional requirements.

Professional Architect

  • Professionals are actively engaged in the profession and have completed the ARE exam OR are actively engaged in the profession and meet additional requirements.


  • Associates are designers who are actively engaged in the profession and meet the educational requirement of completing two to four years of coursework in an interior design or architecture program.


  • IIDA Student Membership provides students enrolled in an interior design program the resources they need for educational and professional development, that are not available on campus.


  • If you are a full-time instructor, department chair, or adjunct professor in a post-secondary program of interior design at any university or accredited school of interior design, we invite you to join IIDA as an Educator Professional or Educator Associate member at reduced membership rates.


  • If you an active Interior Designer located outside of an area covered by an IIDA chapter, you can apply as an International Member. International Members can join at the Professional, Associate, or Affiliate level.


  • If you work for a manufacturer or dealer/distributor of interior design products, IIDA Industry Membership is right for you!


  • If you are actively engaged in a field other than interior design such as landscape architecture, lighting design, or architectural photography, you can join IIDA as an Affiliate member.



IIDA Members in good standing are encouraged to use the IIDA appellation after your name. Using your IIDA designation shows your clients, employers, and peers that you are deeply committed to your profession. It also demonstrates to prospective employers and clients that you have the qualifications that give you an edge.


  • Capitalize IIDA; do not separate with periods or other punctuation

  • List IIDA first when you include multiple appellations; alphabetize other appellations (ex: John Smith, IIDA, AIA)