Supporting Affordable Housing Through Interior Design

To create affordable housing for low income families: that’s the long term goal for interior designer Kendall Cheston, ’16. As a volunteer, she is already making an impact in this area.

Currently, her paid work involves interior designing for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., designing office spaces, workstations, conference rooms, break rooms, and other technical spaces for facilities all around the country.

Cheston was promoted within her first year at FAA, with her first project being at Boston Logan Airport – her proudest accomplishment to date. “It’s a rewarding feeling seeing your designs come to life,” she said.

Showing an interest in interior design as early as middle school, Cheston appreciates most how altering a space can affect someone’s overall mood. “Design has the power to change how you feel when you are in a space, which is really fulfilling,” she said.

This impact that design can have is what drew Cheston to support the low income housing initiative. Recently, she started volunteering for a non-profit that focuses on providing housing for families in need. Through this organization, Cheston is able to volunteer at different affordable housing developments all over D.C. to help host events, provide tutoring, and create more of a community for the residents.

“The majority of populations in D.C. are not able to buy houses or afford rent at market price because of the high cost of living,” Cheston said. “I want to be able to create a place for those families in need so they can live an easier lifestyle.”

As Cheston continues her work with the FAA and the affordable housing initiative, she is looking at attending graduate school for either urban planning or architecture. “I’ve found that it’s important to keep your options open,” she said.

When asked what advice she would give to younger Meredith graduates, Cheston said: “Your first job will almost never be your dream job, but you have to start somewhere.” She feels that getting an education at Meredith is what gave her the confidence in her skill set that helps her succeed in her role today.

“The best part about getting an education at Meredith is that it prepares you for everything, including the unexpected,” she said. “I never noticed how much Meredith changed me until after I graduated.”

Cheston described herself as a shy girl before she came to Meredith. Now, she sees herself as a strong and confident woman. “I’m much more willing to stand up for myself, and I’ve been able to shift those qualities into my worklife.”

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330