Naja Shabazz, a senior interior design student at O’More College of Design, assisted in the creation of the library in the O’More Designer Show House. Photo courtesy of Olivia Parven

By Cillea Houghton

NASHVILLE, TN — Students at O’More College of Design had the opportunity to learn the ropes of the design profession by working with contractors and designers on the O’More Designer Show House. One of these individuals is senior interior design student Naja Shabazz, who worked closely with builder Brady Fry and interior designer Kimberly Kelly, an alumnus of O’More College, on the project.

Shabazz assisted with a variety of crucial tasks in putting the home’s library together, including monitoring paint schedules, ensuring that light fixtures weren’t damaged and more. “When Naja was given a task, she was very confident in even keeping me accountable. She was very deliberate, persistence. Naja was very confident in reaching out,” Fry said. “That to me I think is a huge asset that maybe sometimes it’s hard for young people to develop. So that was a real nod to Naja’s ethic and character.”

Shabazz also had a hand in the home’s creation, selecting kitchen cabinet hardware, assisting with the installation in the library and coordinating O’More students to help with move-in, even working on weekends to ensure all her tasks were completed.

“That was another I think important thing for her to experience too is in the real world, sometimes you’re working on that Saturday or that Sunday,” Kelly said. “She was wonderful. She played quite a few different roles, but she got a very broad span of experience for sure.”

Shabazz has gotten as much out of the project as she’s put into it, saying that the experience taught her what it’s like to work as an interior designer, learning all aspects of the job. “It’s been exhilarating. There’s a lot to learn because there’s so many moving parts and pieces,” she said of the process of putting together the show house.  “As a student, you don’t get the chance really to see the nitty gritty of how installs come together or what pieces all need to come together and what details you need to collect. So it’s been great to learn that and actually getting to see the place.”

Shabazz said she enjoyed experiencing the different aspects of the building and designing process and felt a sense of accomplishment when she was able to see the house completed, knowing she played an important role in its creation. She plans to pursue a career in sustainable design, along with residential and commercial design, and hopes to incorporate her trilingual skillset.

She believes the Show House, a fundraiser for the college, not only benefits students, but showcases alumni’s artistic gifts. “It’s a great cause. I know that Mrs. O’More had a strong vision for the school,” Shabazz said, adding that it’s a an effective method to market the school and “show what talent can come out it. I think that says a lot about the school itself and our alumni and the talent that we all have.”

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