InfoGeorge Brown College home page

Award-winning Interiors

George Brown students receive CDECA recognition

CDECA Award-winning Interior by Laura Stein

The Interior Decorating Certificate offered through Continuing Education at George Brown College has added another chapter to its success story. Two of its graduates walked away with prizes at the 2010 Canadian Decorators’ Association (CDECA) awards, which were announced this past April.

That brings the total number of George Brown graduates who have won CDECA awards since 2008 to five. Behind that success is a certificate that takes advantage of both its location and its staff to deliver a one-of-a-kind educational experience.

The close proximity of George Brown’s Casa Loma campus to Designers’ Walk allows students to familiarize themselves with the latest trends and develop important contacts in the industry. But it’s the people involved that truly make the difference.

“Our teachers are all practicing design professionals who are more than willing to share their years of experience with students,” says Randy Christensen, a George Brown instructor who has been teaching and working in the field for more than 20 years. “Our class projects are based on real-life situations and focus on producing design documentation that proposes real solutions to the built environment.”

He isn’t surprised by the success of George Brown’s Interior Decorating graduates and attributes it to a potent combination of factors.

“Student success is our goal at George Brown,” Christensen says. “Because our students come from a variety of backgrounds, seeking a second profession they truly love, they’re hard-working and well-organized. When that is coupled with the fact that they are trained by teachers who still work in the field, it leads to success.”

Congratulations to all of our award-winning graduates!

MaryLynne Meschino

MaryLynne Meschino

2010 CDECA first-place award winner
(“Decorator’s Dilemma” category)

After more than 20 years in book publishing, MaryLynne Meschino chose to change careers entirely. In the process, she earned the Interior Decorating Certificate through Continuing Education at George Brown College and launched her own business, Allegro Interiors Inc. In 2010, she took home the top spot in the “Decorator’s Dilemma” category at the CDECA Awards.

“Being over 40 and returning to school can be a daunting task. But the classes at George Brown were comfortable and productive from the very beginning. Because there were so many others in the class with work experience, my re-entry to life as a student was easy and the learning experience was heightened.”

Read more of MaryLynne’s story.

Laura Stein

Laura Stein

2010 CDECA second-place award winner
(“Design Excluding Kitchen” and
“Decorating under $25,000” categories)

In 2010, the former art director and graphic designer (amongst other design-related endeavours) entered three projects into the CDECA competition. She was named the runner-up in both the “Design Excluding Kitchen” and “Decorating under $25,000” categories. The 37-year-old had both design and industry knowledge (having worked as an assistant stylist for HGTV), but she turned to George Brown for the practical skills she needed when she decided to open her own business, Laura M. Stein Interiors.

“The foundation classes serve as a great overview of what the industry is about and what goes into putting a room together. Television offers an idealized version of what we do; the classes at George Brown looked at how to design, how to execute and how to get it into your client’s home.”

Chantale Gagnon

2009 CDECA first-place award winner
(“Student Design” category)

Chantale’s win meant she received a free one-year CDECA professional membership.

Harvey Winks

Harvey Winks

2008 CDECA first-place award winner
(“New Construction” category)

The winner in “New Construction” in 2008 spent more than a decade as a sales manager before arriving at George Brown’s Casa Loma campus. His decision to complete the Interior Decorating Certificate was spurred on by his desire to move from decorating his own space strictly out of interest to decorating others’ spaces as a career. Harvey’s company, Home Vision, offers both interior decorating and home staging services, and he is also a consultant for Benjamin Moore.

“George Brown’s downtown location is a godsend and the opportunity to be so close to the industry, and Designers’ Walk, was almost too good to be true.”

Read more of Harvey’s story.

Anita Vizzini

Anita Vizzini

2008 CDECA first-place winner
(“Interior Decoration” category)

George Brown’s other winner in 2008 – in the “Interior Decoration” category – started her working life as a nurse, having received her training in the full-time George Brown nursing program. When she chose to change careers, she turned to Continuing Education at George Brown. She was so enthusiastic, the 36-year-old launched her business, Anita Vizzini Design, while she was still finishing her Interior Decorating Certificate and still working as a nurse.

“It was a different experience than the first time around. Part of that has to do with a certain level of maturity, but I also attribute it to the fact that I was studying something I love. There was so much energy and enthusiasm in the room that it didn’t feel like school. I didn’t ever miss a class – I didn’t want to.”

Read more of Anita's Story.


Find out more about the Interior Decorating Certificate.