Padron, NKBA member and past first place winner of NKBA’s student design competition, talks about her career journey and how the association has helped along the way.
By Elisa Fernandez-Arias
Beatriz Hernandez Padron, current NKBA member, past NKBA student member and first place winner of NKBA’s 2021-2022 Student Design Competition, is making a splash in the K&B industry only months after graduating from Bow Valley College, where she completed the Kitchen and Bath Design program.
As first place winner of 2022’s competition, Padron has received much recognition in the industry. Shortly after graduation, Hygge Home Design, of Calgary, Alberta, an NKBA Member, was thrilled to hire her. Padron has also been celebrated locally, and is now the face of Bow Valley College, appearing in advertisements and billboards for the school throughout the area.
NKBA sat with Padron to learn more about her recent successes, her professional trajectory and how the association has made a difference in her education and career.
How has being an NKBA student member been beneficial to your educational pursuits?
At Bow Valley College, they taught me all of the NKBA’s guidelines, which made a huge difference in my education as a designer. These guidelines require even more knowledge and ability than the industry standard guidelines, so they provide you with a great foundation you can use both in your education and your career.
Being an NKBA student member also provided me with a great community — which was a resource in itself. There are so many industry professionals with varied backgrounds who work with so many different design styles. You can really get an insight into how the minds of these designers work. And they’re also a resource. You can learn from your community all about different design styles, and so much of what you can do when it comes to using technology or making spaces more sustainable. And you can learn about the trades, too.
I see that you studied architecture as an undergraduate, then migrated to design. What led you to focus more on design as opposed to architecture?
I really love architecture — that’s really my passion, it’s really my love. But when I was studying architecture, I found I was challenged by much of what interior designers did, like selecting furniture, for example. I wanted to learn more. So it made sense, after studying architecture, to move forward with my education so I could build up my interior design knowledge.
I started by taking an interior design course in the Dominican Republic, where I’m from. But I still wanted to do more. Learn more specific skills. And I wanted to study something that would combine the technical skills I already used in architecture — where you focus a lot on the electrical, HVAC, and construction — while also learning more about interior design. And K&B does just that, combining interior design with the technical, since you’re making decisions about appliances, finishes, space planning, plumbing and more. So it was the right fit for me.
What was your experience like, entering for — and winning — NKBA’s student design competition?
I had a lot of fun working on my design, I was playing a lot with the fashion aspect of it. So I wasn’t focusing on winning — I was focusing on having fun! When I entered the competition, I wasn’t expecting to win, so when I did, I couldn’t believe it!
Winning has been great for my career. I’ve gotten a lot of media attention because of it here in Canada. And at the interior design company where I work now, most of the clients know who I am from my interview I did with Bow Valley College. It all happened so fast, it’s been a whirlwind of success!
How has the NKBA helped your career?
The NKBA has taught me a lot of what I use now in my career. I learned how to make great kitchen and bath designs, using techniques such as space planning and following NKBA guidelines. I use all this foundational knowledge, put it into practice, in my current job. It’s part of me, I would say.
NKBA’s Student Memberships are open to students from any postsecondary school, and are free thanks to the generosity of Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove. NKBA’s Student Design Competition is sponsored by Fisher & Paykel. To learn more about NKBA’s Student Membership and NKBA’s Student Design Competition, which opens for 2023/2024 on July 10, visit here.