By Amanda Hatfield
BREVARD -- Two Brevard Community College interior design students put their knowledge and creativity to the ultimate test this school year and came out on top.
Jan Reed and Victoria Bellucci stood out among the competition in the National Kitchen and Bath Association's Statewide Design Competition.
The 2012-13 competition challenged students to design a kitchen and bath from an architect's plan using the NKBA Planning Guidelines with Access Standards, said Lesa Lorusso, full-time instructor and program coordinator for the BCC interior design technology program.
"This year's challenge was to renovate the basement of a Midwest suburban-raised ranch home," Mrs. Lorusso said. "The basement was to be converted into a downstairs apartment for the client's 74-year-old mother, who suffers from arthritis in her knees and uses a walker."
Contestants were asked to design the kitchen and bathroom areas of the space, with a choice of concentrating their efforts on either area.
"[The client] desired an interior space reminiscent of the mid-century modern period, the 1950s," Mrs. Lorusso added.
Last month, first-place winner, Mrs. Reed, received an all-expenses-paid trip to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Convention in New Orleans this April.
Ms. Bellucci, who took home second-place, was presented a trophy and a $500 cash award.
As students of the BCC interior design technology program, Mrs. Reed and Ms. Bellucci have been immersed in the National Kitchen and Bath Association standards.
"At the BCC Melbourne campus, our interior design technology program is accredited by the NKBA, and in addition to an Associate of Science in Interior Design Technology degree, we also offer a Kitchen and Bath Specialization college credit certificate," Mrs. Lorusso said.
The interior design technology program at BCC is "recognized as a provider of professionals trained according to NKBA standards and guidelines," Mrs. Lorusso added.
Upon graduation, students from this program are qualified for National Kitchen and Bath Association certification examinations and employment within the industry.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association was established in 1963 and is a nonprofit trade association that promotes the professional kitchen and bath industry.
Since its establishment, the NKBA has grown into the premier association of distributors, retailers, remodelers and other professionals.
"Students are open to apply to the state and national NKBA competition directly through the National Kitchen and Bath Association website," Mrs. Lorusso said.
BCC President Dr. Jim Richey said he could not be more excited for Mrs. Reed and Ms. Bellucci's accomplishments.
"Recognition of this caliber -- from peers, faculty and industry leaders -- may lead to internship opportunities and jobs for our graduates," Dr. Richey said in a press release.
"The project was challenging, but a lot of fun," Mrs. Reed said in a press release. "It was a great opportunity to put my education to work in a real-life way."
"All you had to do was imagine yourself in the client's shoes and how you would want your own parent to be treated," she added. "Then you go to work using creativity as your guide."
The interior design program is located on the BCC Melbourne campus and is accredited by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
To learn more about the BCC interior design program, visit www.brevardcc.edu/go/interiordesign.