Allie is an enthusiastic, talented interior designer at Shepley Bulfinch who specializes in healthcare design. Allie’s passion for design was sparked at a young age and can be seen through each of the spaces she creates. As a designer, Allie values providing solutions that maximize efficiency within a space and creating responsible, sustainable designs.
Read more about Allie’s inspiration behind design and the benefits even the most outgoing designer has found to navigate a hybrid-forward work environment.
Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this career path?
Growing up, I visited lots of places that were different from where I lived and realized quickly that clever spatial arrangement could impact others. Movement and functionality can be impacted by strategic placement. I expressed my early interest in design by playing around with paint colors and rearranging the furniture in the room that I shared with my sister. My first true design exposure was through my aunt, who was a high-end residential interior designer in New Orleans. I was lucky enough to shadow her on a few of her projects, which is when I gained an appreciation for the care and new life designers can breathe into buildings.
In high school, I had the chance to take drafting and art history classes which affirmed my interest in design but left me confused on whether to pursue a path towards becoming an architect or interior designer. I attended the University of Tennessee, which luckily provided foundational courses that explored both options and helped me ultimately make my decision to pursue a career in interiors. What attracted me to interior design was the human scale and the ability designers have to impact daily interactions within the internal environment. After graduating, I moved to Boston as I’ve always had an appreciation for the old, historic buildings which are juxtaposed by new urban design, ultimately leading me to Shepley.
What projects are you currently working on? How do you think that will help people?
I’ve been primarily working on a landmark Neuroscience Center & Bed Tower at Yale New Haven Hospital. The project will accommodate new and developed services that meet elevated healthcare standards. The center’s design reflects a balance between warm and cool colors, the incorporation of nature and natural light, and creative solutions to maximize efficiency within the space. Like most healthcare facilities, the challenge in designing the neuroscience center is creating a beautiful, dynamic space that also meets code and user requirements.
Can you describe a challenge you’ve faced, and how you overcame it?
A challenge I’ve faced in my career is learning how to adapt to a hybrid-forward work environment. When the pandemic began, we had to quickly learn how to collaborate virtually. As an extroverted person, I struggled with the perceived disconnect of a virtual work environment and with defining a work-life balance. I have overcome these challenges by utilizing virtual team platforms to communicate, understanding and being empathetic to people’s comfort level with technology and establishing a routine that gets me away from my desk for a healthy work-life balance.
What do you envision for the future? What do you hope to see – for yourself and for the industry?
A personal goal I have is to pursue a LEED AP ID+C credential. As a proponent of continuing education and responsible design, I’d like to put my words into action and earn this accreditation. For the industry, I hope to see a greater focus on universal and inclusive design in the future. How people experience space and how space impacts our world are connected and there is a balance between meeting both current and future needs. The industry has set sustainability goals for 2030, which inspires and motivates me, and other designers, to incorporate materials that are healthier for people and the planet into our work.
What do you do for fun in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy reading all different genres of books, going for runs in Boston’s Seaport, and baking. I am a year-round pumpkin person, so I am looking forward to making many loaves of pumpkin bread and other seasonal treats. Another interest of mine is history – specifically I love observing the integration of the new and old. Boston is great because it has lots of lovely old doors and ghost signs left over from long ago.