One Year with Celia Crawford Zapanta

Celia originally joined MWA as the Energy Trust of Oregon Net Zero Emerging Leaders Intern. After she completed the internship, MWA was thrilled to offer her a full-time position as an interior designer. Celia is determined, creative, and fun to work with. This month, we are celebrating one year since Celia joined our team.

The sustainability studio gathered around a table, looking at documents together, and laughing

“Celia has been a team player from day one. She seeks out resources and sees challenges through to a successful end. I am so happy to be working with her.”

– Jean von Bargen Root

What project(s) are you working on right now?

My main project right now is the Spokane International Airport Admin Building, but I’m also working on the Clean Water Services Springer Street Facility and the Sandy Transit Operations Facility.

What is your current favorite interior design trend?

I’m always in favor of adding splashes of color anywhere I can! Right now, I’m really enjoying seeing the use of color in kitchen cabinetry, like rich blue and earthy green tones rather than a typical wood finish. While wood or a neutral white shade will always be a classic, the recent trend of all-neutral everything isn’t quite my taste, so I love seeing that color making a comeback and people not being afraid to show their personality in their spaces.

Celia is a growing talent at MWA. She is sharp, passionate about her work, and eager to learn. I am thrilled to have her as part of our Interior Environments Studio and can’t wait to see how she continues to contribute to MWA’s interior environments portfolio.”

Allison Plass, MWA Branding and Graphic Design Lead

What’s your favorite thing about working at MWA?

I think my favorite thing about working here is the fun and friendly community we have with each other. Everyone has been so kind in helping me learn the ropes in my first year, and overall, just been great team members as we work on projects together. I’ve really enjoyed all the creative activities and socials we’ve had to just spend time together.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with Celia, she’s always open to advice and eager to learn, and I have no doubt that she will become a great designer with a lot of experience in the future.”

– Yoonie Byun, MWA Interior Designer

How do you maintain work/life balance?

I’m a bit of a homebody, so typically, after work, I’ll try to accomplish most of my other obligations, such as going to the gym or cooking with my husband. This helps keep my weekends more open for get-togethers with friends, going out to dinner or a movie, or sometimes just staying in and cuddling with my cat, Evie. I do try to carve out a bit of time for myself on weeknights, maybe with an episode of a TV show or playing a video game for a bit.

What do you hope to do more of in the next few years? 

I really hope to find more time for some of my hobbies again! I’ve always loved to read but struggled to fit it into my daily routine, as well as learning to paint, which is something I’ve been interested in for a long time and have tried here and there, but it’s difficult trying to sit down and be intentional about it. And, of course, traveling! I have a growing list of places I’d love to visit; I’m hoping to make it to at least one this year!

What is your next career goal that you would like to tackle? 

I feel like I’ve learned so much in my first year at MWA, yet I know there’s still so much more to learn! While my main focus is to grow my skills and abilities as an interior designer, I see myself looking into certifications (such as WELL, for example) or licensing in the not-too-distant future.

“Celia is always willing to help. She has lots of good advice and has been a mentor to me for the Net Zero Internship. And, she’s a fun desk neighbor.”

– Madeline Phillips, Net Zero Emerging Leaders Intern

When you started your career, why did you want to become an interior designer?

I first became interested in interior design from watching my parents do DIY renovation projects at home. Witnessing all these home projects stirred the question, “What does ‘home’ look like to me, and how do I design for that?” So, of course, it started with wanting to design a space that was fully mine. Then, the idea evolved that everyone else would have a different answer to my initial question, and that really inspired me to want to pursue that further. As I progressed through school on my interior design path, I learned to broaden my question to other kinds of spaces and resolve how to design for other specific purposes; at every point along the way, I’ve loved learning how to answer that question. I especially enjoy space planning, it really feels like solving a puzzle to me, trying to find the solution that best fits all the users.

Is there a particular architect/designer’s work that inspires you? Why?

It feels a bit cliché, but I’d say Frank Lloyd Wright. Although he’s known mostly for his architecture, we learned a lot about his work in school, and even made a class trip up to tour the Gordon House, his design located in Silverton. I believe it’s Wright’s philosophy of designing for function without sacrificing the artistry of design and his desire to create a space that fulfills its users that really sticks with me.

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