From Aspiration to Achievement: A Journey into Interior Design with Justine Orton

Imagine turning what you love into what you do every day. That’s exactly what Justine Orton, an #IDIstudent, is making happen. Moving from personal projects to a potential career in interior design, Justine's story is about blending passion with profession. If you've ever thought about switching gears or diving into the world of design, Justine’s chat with us is packed with real-life insights and plans that might just inspire you to take the leap for yourself.

Meet Interior Design Student, Justine Orton

With a growing family and a personal home build underway, #IDIstudent Justine Orton is weaving her love for commercial interior design into residential projects, drawing from diverse spaces. In our conversation, Justine shares her journey into interior studies and what her plans are for after the course.

Interview with Justine Orton, interior design course graduate

Image source: Justine Orton

What inspired you to become an Interior Designer?

My husband is a builder, and we started renovating and selling houses outside of our regular work/jobs about 13 years ago. I would choose the finishes and fixtures based on things that I liked (that were also cost-effective), and he would build them; with each project, they grew and grew. We realised as a duo that we were creating pretty special homes, and it kind of stemmed from there.

Childhood dream?

To be a mum.

Image of Justine Orton at home with her family

Image source: Justine Orton

How would you describe your design style?

I tend to blend little bits from all kinds of styles, so I guess you would say my design style is more contemporary. I like textures, playing with shapes and subtle use of colour. I also like my designs to be cohesive.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I love getting inspiration from cafes, restaurants, galleries, salons, and even reception areas. I think Commercial Interior Designers have fun and think outside the box. I love looking at the colours and design elements in fun new spaces and taking snippets of those as inspiration for residential projects.

I also tend to dress like my interiors! I’ve found over the years that I subconsciously wear colours that I enjoy working within my interiors, too 😊

Images of Orton House kitchen interior design work

Image source: Justine Orton

What makes you most happy?

Travel, sunshine, my family and friends and my dog Pretzel.

How do you find a healthy work/life balance?

We’re always working on this. I’m currently studying in the evening, working and mumming. Life is busy, but that’s how we like it. I couldn’t imagine us any other way. We like to work hard but play hard, and by that, I mean we work really hard the majority of the time but take two big trips a year where we have great quality family time that gets us through the next busy time.

Last year we made a 5-week van trip through central Australia, and we then went on another 3-week van trip over Christmas/New Year; this is where we really thrive as a family; it’s just the best.

Images of Orton House kitchen and bathroom interior design work

Image source: Justine Orton

Favourite colour?

Ohhh green or pink (at the moment).

Do you follow any trends?

Yes and no when it comes to interiors, I like to stay up to date with trends, but I also like to work with a timeless design in mind.

I do however always like to inject something new or fresh and upcoming into each of my projects to make it feel unique/special.

Further images of Orton House kitchen and bathroom interior design work

Image source: Justine Orton

What are some of your fav accounts to follow? / Favourite artist/designer/stylist?

I love Sarah Sherman Samuel and her mid-century style.

Eye Swoon by Athena Calderone, and I love the Architectural Digest celebrity house tours on YouTube.

Locally, I love Something More Design; Keeley is one of those Interior Designers who always injects something new and awe-inspiring into her designs.

What projects are you working on now?

Orton Haus 3.0 is another duplex that we are starting this month; it has a modern Mediterranean meets Japandi style. We also have our next ‘dream home’ Orton Haus 4.0, approved and ready to be built as soon as 3.0 is finished. It is going to be one to remember! I’m loving working on these concepts at the moment.

Images of Justine showing her in her workspace and a shot of Orton House bedroom interior

Image source: Justine Orton

Can you tell us about your recent awards?

Our Orton Haus 2.0 duplex project recently won the HIA Hunter Townhouse Villa Development award. We are incredibly proud of this build. It was previously our warehouse turned duplex, and it posed a lot of challenges. We had to work within the existing walls, and as such, we weren’t allowed to have windows down the boundary walls, so we installed a lot of skylights to ensure there was enough natural light. Finding space for things like air conditioning, fireplace flus, hot water units, gas metres, etc., was really difficult. We had to get creative on a lot of items, which made the build extra unique.

Orton Haus 2.0 duplex project: winners of the HIA Hunter Townhouse Villa Development award.

Image source: Justine Orton

Why did you choose to study with IDI?

I love the accessibility and flexibility of IDI. Being able to study in my own time was important to me.

What module are you currently working on?

I’m about to submit Module 7! This one was creating a finished schedule, which I work with quite a bit, so I’m finding I’m flying through this one.

What has been your favourite part of the course so far?

Working through the course has really made me see that this is what I want to be doing long term. The tutor provides really helpful and practical feedback. It’s building my confidence and giving me a lot of inspiration.

What are your plans for after the course?

I’m hoping to launch my own business after completing the course. My new business idea is in the interior space, and I'm really excited about it. It will be called Mood by Orton Haus, so watch this space :)

How can people connect with you?

The best way at the moment is either or + @ortandcobuilding.

Images of Orton House dining, living, kichen and bedroom interiors

Image source: Justine Orton

Begin Turning Your Passion into a Career with The Interior Design Institute!

Justine Orton’s journey from passionate home renovator to interior design student reminds us all that it's never too late to chase your dreams in design. Her story not only highlights the transformative power of an interior design qualification from The Interior Design Institute, but is a testament to how IDI’s online platform can seamlessly fit into your life, no matter how packed your schedule might be. This flexibility means you can fit learning around your life, not the other way around.

Justine’s story isn’t just inspiring; it’s a real-world example of the practical skills and industry insights you'll gain along the way. A huge shoutout to Justine for sharing her journey. It’s real stories like hers that show us what's possible when we chase what we love.

So, if you're looking for a sign to kickstart your design career, this is it. We’re ready to help you turn your passion for design into a thriving career. Dive into the world of interior design with IDI and start crafting a career you love today.

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