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How this Iowa designer is turning a family farm into a forward-thinking development – Business of Home

The 50 States Project is a series of candid conversations with interior designers across the country about how they’ve built their businesses. This week, Ames, Iowa–based designer Casee Burgason tells us why she convinced h…….

The 50 States Project is a series of candid conversations with interior designers across the country about how they’ve built their businesses. This week, Ames, Iowa–based designer Casee Burgason tells us why she convinced her family to become developers, how she’s building a community that combats urban sprawl, and how she’s getting strategic about pricing on sustainable materials.

What was your path into the design industry?
Growing up, my parents always built their own homes—and their own businesses, too—and getting that exposure early on triggered my love of design. I went to college at Colorado State University, which was one of the only accredited programs in the country at the time that also had an interior architecture program and an emphasis on construction management. It was great, because we would go from art history class to hand-drafting to learning about HVAC systems, then we would be building various truss types in the construction lab.

Were you always interested in the construction side?
My aunt lived in the Bay Area, so she offered to let me move out there in the summers. I ended up doing a couple of internships there with these older-school designers, and it was a great opportunity for a farm girl from Iowa to see all of the glitz and glamour on the West Coast. They were the kinds of firms that built whatever they wanted—if they couldn’t find it or source it, they would find an artisan to create it. They were also very heavy-handed in all of the architecture and had in-house architecture teams, but they were, as interior designers, leading the whole process. That experience helped me realize how important it was to be well-versed in the construction process, and how it makes me a better designer if I understand all of that. Plus, I never wanted to get on a job site and be the designer that doesn’t understand what the contractor is talking about. That motivated me, too.

Where did your career take you after graduation?
I moved down to Miami with a couple girlfriends from college and took a job with a high-end residential and commercial company. It was a small boutique firm with lots of famous clients—she did projects for Versace and Don Johnson and all the crazy celebrities that moved to Miami in the early 1980s, and that was where she got her start. We also did some hospitality projects and high-end high rises, and she had a furniture company that she started in Italy, so we did a lot of custom furniture as well. It was a really fun experience, and I got to see all different sides …….

Source: https://businessofhome.com/articles/how-this-iowa-designer-is-turning-a-family-farm-into-a-forward-thinking-development

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