Congratulations are in order for Design Institute of San Diego graduate Ann "Marie" Wikoff of Wikoff Design Studio in Reno, NV. She recently passed the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (AAHID) Exam and has earned the AAHID Certificate. She is only the second Registered Interior Designer (RID) in Nevada to obtain this credential.Marie Wikoff of Wikoff Design Studio
Marie graduated from DISD and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design degree, in 1998. A job opportunity in 2003 with HMC Architects brought her to the Reno area. When the housing market crashed in 2009, she decided to take the bull by the horns and opened her own design firm. “It was an opportunity to reinvent myself,” she says. Starting with a small budget, which she used to build a website and acquire professional photos of her work, her firm has now completed over one hundred medical-related interior design projects.
Wikoff Design Studio is well known in Reno for their outstanding work in the healthcare sector, including a local children’s hospital, Renown. Most recently, Marie teamed up with architect Jeff Frame and contractor Shaheen Beauchamp to build a 20,000-square-foot office for Carson Medical Group. Marie’s firm has also completed international projects, including the 90,000-square-foot children’s cancer center Hospital de Cancer de Barretos in Sao Paulo, Brazil.Hospital de Cancer de Barretos, Children's Hospital
Passing the challenging AAHID exam and earning their credential means that Marie has met the standards for education, experience and examination and is a board-certified healthcare interior designer. However, obtaining it was not necessarily an easy task. To be eligible to take the exam, professionals must already have a minimum of five years of healthcare interior design experience, a portfolio review and professional references. The AAHID exam itself is a meticulous evaluation which requires interior designers to exhibit competence in a variety of factors that affect the healthcare interior environment. The test covers the following areas: acute care, ambulatory care/outpatient, long term care/senior living, medical facilities/other, retail/hospitality, support services, allied professions, codes and guidelines, environmental, evidence based design and professional business practice.Renown’s Healing Garden
AAHID certification is the standard to identify those interior designers who are uniquely qualified to meet the needs and challenges of the healthcare interior design industry,” explains former AAHID President Jocelyn Stroupe of Cannon Design in Chicago. “The AAHID Certificate is the highest appellation available for a healthcare interior design professional, and this credential is what every healthcare facility should look for when choosing an interior designer.”Reno’s Shelter, a non-medical project Marie's design firmed recently completed
Marie says being a graduate of DISD certainly helped propel her career to where it is today. “DISD has so successfully helped my career by being CIDA (then FIDER) accredited,” she states. “I run into so many young designers who have been misled about the accreditation by non-accredited schools that are struggling to get NCIDQ certified. They are having to work longer and harder to qualify to take their exams. DISD was a great school for me and really helped me to prepare to step into the commercial interior design industry and move forward with my experience that qualified me to take me my exams so much more quickly.”
She also credits the DISD staff for understanding her needs while she was a student. “The staff was amazing in understanding that a lot of us have to work also while going to school and they had our backs when times were tough when balancing between the two. I know it wouldn’t have been so easy balancing both at a major university where you would be just a number.” We can’t wait to see the next amazing project this successful graduate adds to her portfolio.