June CET Designer User of the Month: Valerie Ethridge

CET Designer rendering by Valerie Ethridge

Based in Wichita, Kansas, Valerie Ethridge is a freelance contract designer for Haworth furniture dealerships. She has more than 20 years of design experience and blogs about CET Designer tips and tricks on her website valerieethridgedesign.com.

“Going to CET Experience and learning so much from all the other designers in the sessions inspired me to start a blog about design and CET Designer,” Valerie said. “Since I work for myself, one of the things I miss is being able to collaborate with other designers daily. Starting my blog allowed me to give back to the design community and share my knowledge with other designers.”

Valerie studied interior design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and got her start at a Haworth furniture dealership in San Diego where she fell in love with the commercial furniture industry. Eventually she relocated to Wichita where she worked at encompas for 10 years before starting her own business.

“It was scary and exciting all at the same time,” Valerie said. “There’s a need for experienced designers who can work proficiently in CET Designer. What I love about my job is that I get to work with different dealers across the country who are all amazing to work with.”

Valerie says freelancing has allowed her to be part of creative and inspiring projects in all parts of the country. She also says that as a bonus, working from home has allowed her to spend more time with her four-year-old son all while getting to be a designer.

As a CET Designer user for about seven years, Valerie uses the software to space plan, design, specify and create renderings and presentation drawings. She also uses it for Live Design to collaborate with clients virtually. This feature allows her to help end users visualize their project by making revisions in real time.

“CET Designer has made work more fun,” Valerie said. “Working in 3D and in real time allows for more creativity. I get to be a designer first and a specifier second.”

Valerie says one of the biggest challenges of adopting CET Designer was getting used to designing. She used CAD and Project Symbols for so long that she had to break the habit of typing part numbers into design. However, once she overcame that she realized how freeing it was to just design and not worry about part numbers until the end.

Looking ahead, Valerie sees CET Designer continuing to help her grow her business and provide high level creative services for dealers. The next thing she plans to learn is Yulio so she can create VR renderings.

“Design and technology are evolving and there is always something new to learn,” Valerie said. “I also love learning how clients think and identifying what they need to create a space that will function well and that they will love.”

When Valerie isn’t designing, you can find her in her garden, cooking and playing with her dog Sienna and son Everett.