Designed to Impress

Joan Watson

Designed to Impress

Fall 2018

| By: Britten, Casey

Kitchen & Bath grad exemplifies FVTC’s success at national competitions.

Joan Watson, a 2018 graduate of both Fox Valley Technical College’s Kitchen & Bath and Interior Design programs, came in second at the prestigious National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Student Design competition for her bathroom design. The 52-year-old Appleton resident received a $2,500 scholarship and a free trip to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) next year in Las Vegas.

With more than 100 schools participating, this was a major accomplishment for both Watson and FVTC. “Placing second at the competition was a satisfying way to showcase all of the skills I gained at Fox Valley Tech,” Watson says. “In the two-plus years it took to complete both programs, I learned everything from state-of-the-art software to furniture design.”

For the competition held in Hackettstown, New Jersey, NKBA partnered with a local branch of Habitat for Humanity to design a bathroom for one of its homes. Contestants were given floor plans, some guidelines and a budget. “The budget covered flooring, lighting, cabinetry and fixtures,” says Watson. “We were judged on visual appeal, creativity and design.”

Now a cabinet designer for Valley Cabinet in Neenah, Watson looks back on the event as a rewarding challenge. “The home used in the competition would occupy a family of four-to-six but with space for one bathroom,” she says. “My design solution for the bathroom was to separate the grooming/lavatory space from the bathing and toilet area with a wall and a pocket door so multiple people could use the bathroom with adequate privacy.”

Watson credits FVTC for her success. “The courses teach students how to develop and present strong design concepts,” she says. “The classes were rigorous but having deadlines was helpful because that’s what you face in the real world.”

Spotlight on Skill

A five-year glimpse of FVTC students in the national spotlight:

  • 7 first-place finishes in: Agriculture, Business Management, Culinary Arts, and Electronic Engineering Technology
  • 21 top-three finishes, including other areas like business management, human resources, and sports and entertainment marketing