Meet Bethany Carlson—San Diego’s IIDA City Center Co-director!

She fell into the Interior Design world while in high school. Bethany knew she wanted to do something creative, but being a starving artist was not going to be it. She explored several different options and through an internship at a residential firm she developed a passion for the way in which people are affected by and interact with spaces. After achieving a bachelor degree from Ohio University (Go Bobcats! she says), she joined Mosaic Design Studio, a commercial interiors firm in Columbus. While at Mosaic, she acquired a large knowledge base of design, project management, client management, and onsite coordination. This is how she first learned that the best designs come from whole team collaboration. Bethany found that for her, design is more analytical than artistic and see design much more as providing value and problem solving beyond the aesthetics. In January 2013, she had the opportunity to drop everything and move to San Diego. “Packing up my life, my pup, and driving across the country was one of the easiest things I’ve done. That’s how I know it was right!” says Bethany. After 9 months of working from home, she joined LPA, Inc in order to collaborate directly with architects and further her knowledge of different markets. “I am so blessed to be a part of LPA. We are much more like a tight knit family than simply co-workers. The amount of passion and creativity I am surrounded by feeds my passion for this field every day.” She become the IIDA San Diego City Center Co-director in July 2014. She feels impressed and grateful for the SD design community’s openness and friendliness. Her goal in being a part of IIDA is to really connect the interior designers to each other to share our knowledge and be united advocates for our field and education. She looks forward to building deeper roots in this community!


1. What is your favorite activity?
Exploring San Diego – There is so much to do & so much to see in this city. I love trying new activities, seeing new places, and am always looking for partners in crime. Being able to be outside year around is a great bonus! I’ve been working on perfecting my surfing tricks aka somersaults.

2. What 5 things inspire you the most right now?
My co-workers—they are incredibly intelligent, open, passionate people.
The San Diego design community. I love to learn things directly from other people & thrive off of others’ passion.
The unique design occurring in San Diego with all of the new restaurants and shops. It’s great to see design being such an important element in creating a full picture brand.
Office Lovin’ website—Great resource for commercial office interiors imagery and projects from around the world. http://www.officelovin.com/
Last but definitely not least, my clients. They are constantly pushing us to think of new solutions for their spaces.

3. What is your favorite destination outside of California?
Chicago. It’s a great, clean, active Midwest city.

4. Beer or wine?
Beer! I’ve become a beer snob thanks to San Diego. But I’m completely okay with it.

5. If you had to live in a zoo or library, which one would you pick? Why?
The Zoo! How fun would that be! I was a bookworm when I was younger, but right now I’m enjoying learning through experience more.

Tanya Villalpando

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