The MAC Renovations design showroom is the ideal space for design professionals to bring what they learn in school to the real world. Lauren Jarvis (nee Bathie) and Alicia Koch, two junior designers with MAC, share their perspectives about life at the Ranch and MAC’s role in the launch of their design careers.
Learning to Grow
“I recently graduated from BCIT with a Diploma of Interior Design,” shared Lauren. “I moved back to Victoria and saw that MAC was hiring. I applied online, and here I am. I’ve learned quite a bit, including industry standards, building code, and technical specifications of what design actually means — the not-so-pretty-but-essential-building blocks. Every day, I’m learning more. It’s a continuing education when you have the opportunity to explore new situations regularly.”
“I’m currently in school at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University in Ottawa,” said Alicia. “I’m on a co-op term right now and at home due to COVID. Like Lauren, I saw that MAC was hiring, so I applied online to complete a 16-month term to learn about design and to help me with my architectural studies.”
“Being that my education is in architecture,” continued Alicia, “it was a bit of a learning curve for me to get into more of the interior design aspects, but it’s been great because much of my drafting experience from school, using AutoCAD, Rhino, and 3D-software, has helped me learn the Chief Architect software used at MAC. Learning about interior design will help me when I go back for my final year of school.”
Planning for Success
One of the critical skills of the design team is being able to plan for the future, looking at the trends of today to see how they’ll hold up in the years to come.
“During my 16-months at MAC,” shared Alicia, “I hope to learn more about interior design and to support and learn from the senior designers as much as I can. That will help me when I go back to school. Once I’ve graduated, if there’s an opportunity at MAC, I would love to return.”
“I see myself here at MAC for quite a while,” said Lauren. “I work with a really great team — not just the design team, but the MAC culture in general. Everyone is supportive and positive. I’d love to advance to a more senior position and maybe show some future interns what the design life can be like.”
“We’re on a lot of projects all the time; some large, some small,” said Lauren. “There are lots of changes that we get to incorporate, from a quick lighting plan change or switching up some cabinetry, to a brand-new free structure home build. It’s really interesting to see the difference in the scale of what’s required.”
A Typical Day as a Junior Designer
Lauren and Alicia have pretty similar days and typically start around 8am, checking emails, catching up on phone calls, ensuring everything on the to-do list is current and in progress, and planning for meetings on the job site or client meetings in the showroom.
- Drafting is a big part of our day, whether that’s preparing a proposed plan or doing revisions. from things we discover as the project advances or from the client’s changing needs.
- Quite often, we might pick up or deliver samples.
- Often, we’ll reach out to our vendors and subcontractors for materials or quotes.
- Working on the smaller projects we’ve been assigned gives us the chance to do design interviews with the clients, making sure every detail of what they’re looking for — and what they’re expecting — is noted. This also means a lot of design presentations.
- At the end of the day, we’re here to support the senior designers. If there’s anything they need assistance with, that generally takes priority to keep the design-train rolling.
“We like when puppies come to work! MAC is a very dog-friendly building, and there are always dogs here and that just warms everyone’s hearts.”
Life at MAC Renovations
“MAC is a very busy family business,” said Alicia. “There’s that friendly vibe all around, and you get to know everyone. It’s not a big place where you don’t know your superiors. Here, people in the hallway say ‘Hi,’ and even as junior designers, we know the project managers, salespeople, and many of the people throughout the team.”
“Alicia and I recently had the opportunity to use our knowledge of AutoCAD to lead a drafting class for our 4th-year carpentry apprentices. We did a few weeks of classes, and they were quick learners. MAC is looking at more learning opportunities for other carpenters who would like to advance their drafting skills, which will make their jobs — and lives — easier on-site.”
Read about a day in the life of our senior designers (in a pre-COVID world).
If you’re interested in a career at MAC, the designers would prefer you have a dog, but it’s not mandatory. If this sounds like the type of team you could see yourself learning and growing with, check out our current postings on Indeed, then reach out to us to introduce yourself.