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School of Interior Design

Rio native finds design niche in the Upstate

Thayse Darzi hails from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After graduating from Anderson University, she returned to Brazil, where she worked in an Architecture and Design firm, then returned to the US and completed a graduate-level program in Miami, Florida. She then moved back to the South Carolina Upstate and currently works with an Architecture firm in Greenville.

How did you become interested in interior design?
I started studying architecture in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for one year and felt that it wasn't what I was looking for. I enjoy the exterior beauty of the architecture, but felt like it was missing something else that could interest me more.

My aunt is an architect and I was always fascinated by her projects. Talking to her, she mentioned to me about doing interior design. At first, I wasn't sure about it, because since I was young, if anyone asked me what I would like to be, I would say “an architect.” After a short period of time that I lived in London, England, I had enough time to visit architectural places and see the exterior and interiors, and the interiors always caught my attention.

I heard about the interior design program, which in Brazil was very new, and decided to give it a try. Surprisingly I fell in love with it. I noticed that I was much more fascinated by the interiors, the details, space planning, lighting, furniture placement, color palette, different designs for walls and ceilings, finishes, etc. It was the perfect career for me.

How did you discover Anderson University?
My cousin (son of my architect aunt) from Brazil, came to the United States one year before me, and was looking for a Christian University. After great research, he ended up at Anderson University. I used to look at his photos, and asked him how Anderson University was and he told me that it was a great Christian School, that everyone was very welcoming and helpful, especially with the language barrier. Since we come from another country, there are a lot of terms and words we are not familiar with.

He told me that Anderson had the Interior Design Program, and some other programs such as arts and graphic design that he thought I could be interested in. I went on the website and read about the program and decided to give it a try.

What are your favorite memories as an AU student?
Oh, I do have wonderful memories from Anderson University! People were so friendly there, that even on the mornings, which I won't lie, I can be a little grumpy. I learned how to compliment others with a nice “good morning” and a smile.

Another great memory was the people I studied interior design with. We were a class of 14 girls, and we became like a sisterhood. We spent days and nights at the studio helping each other with projects and encouraging each other to do our best on the projects. Ms. Martin also became our "Sista," that's how we call each other. We graduated and we still talk to each other, the girls and Anne Martin.

The opportunity Anderson University gave me to work at the library, I learned a lot with Mrs. Kay Maynard and Mr. Kent Millwood, not only about placing books on the shelves, but also working on the music databases, and helping other students on how they can use the library website to work on their research papers, it was a wonderful place to work at.

Last, my roommates were from the Tennis Team, and even though I didn't play sports, all the team adopted me and I always cheered for them as if I was from their team.

What are some ways your AU education has helped you in your profession?
After graduation, Ms. Martin guided me on pursuing my master’s degree. She told me that, being an international student, that could help me with my future career, even if I would like to be a professor.

Let me tell you something—It did help me. I went on to pursue my master’s degree in interior architecture, which gave me some extra detailed knowledge on interiors.

Once I graduated from Anderson, I got a job with cabinetry and millwork design. I worked with it for almost eight years, which I used a lot of knowledge I acquired from the interior design program at Anderson University, not only the AutoCAD design knowledge, but also, we had a class that taught us about the interior design forms, purchase, invoices, etc. I used that a lot. Once I placed the orders within the firm I used to work in, I had to check the proformas and the designs sent back to me.

At the end of the day, what gives you the biggest feeling of accomplishment?
Knowing that being persistent and working hard you can get anywhere you would like to be. I came to Anderson University with a dream of being an interior designer, I left Anderson University with a dream to apply my design here in the United States. Ms. Martin guided me with the advice of a master’s degree, which opened the doors for me to pursue my residency being my own sponsor. It was a long way, but the fulfillment of achievement is great. I always said that I would be back to South Carolina, and this year, 2022, I came back. I am working in an Architectural Firm called Studio 511, and working with exteriors and interiors. I still have a long path to go, but as I say, "being persistent and working hard you can get anywhere you would like to be".

What advice would you give someone who is interested in an interior design career?
I would say that interior design isn't an easy major; also, that it’s not decoration… interior design goes beyond that. It is a love for being creative and caring for your clients. It is long days and sometimes nights of work, deadlines to achieve, many changes until your client is satisfied, but once you see your job complete and the happiness of your client, it is the most incredible feeling you will ever receive.

Studying Interior Design can be tough, but the friendship and companionship you will make during those long nights doing projects will be worth it, and in Anderson University we have the most incredible guidance.

Darzi Thayse
Thayse Darzi
Graduated from Anderson University: 2012
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design
Title: Designer, Studio 511, Greenville, South Carolina