By Mellany Armstrong
Alexa Rosenblatt ’20 was expecting to do some of the usual internship duties last summer at Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design — going on coffee runs, folding fabric samples — but she ended up having her hand in every part of the design of a luxury high-rise apartment in Philadelphia.
“When I first started there, one of the design directors happened to be taking on a project alone,” she said. “She took me along on the first meeting, and I ended up being her assistant throughout the entire project. I got to do every drawing for it, every furniture selection and finish selections.”
It was a delightful turn for Rosenblatt, who didn’t have a plan after graduating from high school. She worked for two years, saving her money so she could move out of her parents’ home in Delaware.
“I was working two jobs, not working towards anything,” she said. “I realized I was missing an end goal.” Rosenblatt’s high school art teacher had told her about Moore. “Two years later, I talked with her about it. I liked that it was a small school. It was the only school I applied to.”
Rosenblatt started at Moore as a Fine Arts major. She enjoyed painting, sculpture and working in 3D installations. Before she began her sophomore year, she felt drawn to interior design.
“Everything came together at once, and I realized my work in fine arts translated really well to interior design,” she said. “Since I live on my own, I’m always interested in homes and changing things and the design aspect of it.” Rosenblatt and her girlfriend recently moved into their first apartment together. “We built outdoor furniture for our deck, a sectional couch and a coffee table. When we get home, we think, ‘What can we do to the house?’”
At Marguerite Rodgers, Rosenblatt had the opportunity to do real design work for a client. She made trips to the Kravet design center in Philadelphia to make selections, and helped design custom millwork for the apartment. She got to see her work in person in a recent trip to the apartment. “It was really fun to see everything that I spent four months of work on come to life.”
In her role as an intern, Rosenblatt found she had to get over some sticker shock with her first real client.
“In our projects at Moore, we don’t have budgets, but working with a budget for the first time and a larger budget than I can conceptualize in real life — it’s not pretend money at school anymore,” she said. “It was kind of scary talking to them, like, ‘Do you want this chair? It’s five grand.’”
She’s still on the job at the Kensington interior design company two days a week, finishing up the loose ends on the apartment project. She hopes to continue working there after she graduates.
“I think that lot of people kind of get scared, like, being the intern, you’re going to be doing coffee runs and stuff,” she said. “I was thrown off, but in the best way possible, that within a week or two of being there I was meeting clients and being thrown into this project. It changed my entire perception of what the internship was going to be, and I’m ready to work in the industry now.”