Stephen F. Austin State University

News

Interior design expert speaks with SFA students

April 12, 2013 - SFA Public Affairs
Cynthia Leibrock, center, an expert on interiors featuring universal design, visited Stephen F. Austin State University interior design students, from left, Imelda Badders, Trace Neal, MacKinley Donaldson, Daniel Garcia and Alexis Reado. Leibrock's home in Colorado incorporates 200 universal design features and has been featured on the cover of The New York Times.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - A nationally acclaimed interior designer and author specializing in universal design visited with Stephen F. Austin State University students this week in conjunction with Fair Housing Month. Cynthia Leibrock explained how universal design promotes the idea that all structures, public and private, should be accessible to everyone, regardless of ability level.

Universal design allows for "aging in place" and permits individuals to live without the fear of having to relocate in the event they experience mobility issues related to age or a temporary or permanent disability, according to Dr. Mitzi Perritt, SFA human sciences professor.

"They allow a person to build a new home, raise their family in the home, and then age in the home and never have to be transplanted," Perritt said.

Leibrock's home in Colorado incorporates 200 universal design features and has been featured on the cover of The New York Times. It serves as the basis for a presentation she made to the SFA students and is titled "Interior Design for Health and Longevity."

"I'm not trying to encourage people to target a product for elderly and disabled people. I'm encouraging them to design one product that works for people of all ages and abilities," Leibrock explained.

Students in Perritt's residential design studio course were tasked with incorporating universal design features into an interior design project this semester, and they shared their work with Leibrock during her visit.

"I benefited so much from having Ms. Leibrock visit and expand upon the material we learned in class," said MacKinley Donaldson, an interior design major from Houston. "She is an internationally recognized expert on universal design, and having the opportunity to discuss my project with her face to face was incredible."

For more information about the interior design program at SFA, visit www.sfasu.edu/interiordesign.