Cara Smeltzer, Associate IIDA
I am originally from Wichita, Kansas – born and bred a Kansas State Wildcat fan.
When it came time to choose a college, K-State was a no-brainer, with their highly ranked Interior Architecture + Product Design program. After graduating in 2012, I moved to Kansas City and focused mostly on Healthcare design. I married my high school sweetheart and we were long distance for almost 3 years. My husband’s job brought us to Denver in the Fall of 2014, and I’ve been at RNL Design ever since, working on a variety of corporate office and multi-family residential projects. We have no kids and no pets, but are loving the Rocky Mountain lifestyle, and keep busy fixing up our first home in Arvada.
After moving to Denver and getting settled in at RNL, I started to see how involved the designers are with IIDA, and the relationships that can form through the organization. A wide variety of people are involved in IIDA, and this provides professionals the opportunity to make new connections and foster existing ones. The events held by IIDA are not only a good time, but also raise funds to provide future designers with opportunities they might not have had otherwise. IIDA also assists designers with educational courses to prep for the NCIDQ exams, and is overall a very empowering
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I would watch This Old House with my dad, play with Lincoln logs in lieu of dolls, and would rearrange my bedroom an unnecessary amount – so I would say I always wanted to be a designer. My mom let me explore my love of design by allowing me to paint my bedroom and bathroom – which was a terrible decision (the bathroom ceiling is still blue), but I appreciate her encouragement of my interests. My dad owns an electrical contracting company, and I spent some summers assisting with various projects, including the rewiring of a fire alarm system in a school. Being around the construction industry gave me some insight into the design industry, and when my dad explained what an Architect was, I decided that was what I wanted to be. As I learned more about the options of this career, I found that my passions lie in the details, textures, and forms of an interior space.
What is your favorite design element?
This is probably lame, but my favorite design element would be alignment. There’s something so sweet about all the forms in a space having a reason for being where they are. Other than that, I love textures in fabric or walls, and I’m definitely a classic furniture nerd.
Do you have a current obsession?
I’ve actually been very engaged in politics lately, which is new for me – it’s fascinating what people do to gain popularity and manipulate the public. A related obsession is The Bachelor – I was always a skeptic but started watching the past couple seasons, and it’s an incredibly entertaining show. My husband loves it as well, and our fantasy team is on track to win the league this year! These would both probably stem from my interest in psychology.
Which super power would you like to have?
I don’t know if it’s a super power but if I could have a “power” it would be to have a platform to save the world from itself. There is so much negativity in the world today, and as a realistic optimist, I would want to educate and empower people around the world!
What are you looking forward to this year?
I am definitely looking forward to the inaugural IIDA Through the Lens Silent Auction event on April 1, which I’m on the committee for. It’s going to be such a fun event, with delicious food and unique items to bid on. I’m also excited to see all the photos the teams come up with, and find out who wins! (Shameless plug – link here)