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Butler native's design concepts pay off in scholarship

| Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, 6:21 p.m.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
LaRoche College interior design student Chelsea Constantino was part of a team that designed the new 'Teen Zone' at the Butler Area Public Library on Monday, January 20, 2014.

Chelsea Constantino, an interior-design student at LaRoche College, says she looks at a room as an architect.

“Interior design is a lot more than just picking the right colors. You have to know the technical dimensions of a room,” said Constantino of Butler, a junior at the school.

Constantino, 22, recently received a $2,000 scholarship for her academic record and for community service, including her role as manager of a student team that created the design concept for the Butler Area Library's young-adult area.

She is first recipient of the Stantec Inc. scholarship, an award for La Roche College interior-design students. Stantec is an engineering, architectural and design consulting firm.

The Butler library attracts more teenagers than before because of the redesigned space, said youth librarian Peter Bess.

“The whole aesthetic of the room has changed. We get more kids in here every day after school,” he said.

Before, the section for young adults was a single room and looked like the rest of the library. It now has three smaller rooms, including one with games and another where people can watch movies.

“It looks completely different. It's orange and blue. It is so much more interactive. We tried going for a futuristic look,” Constantino said.

The redesign began in June and was finished in September.

Constantino is president-elect of the La Roche chapter of the American Society for Interior Designers. She works at Desmone & Associates Architects in Lawrenceville.

At Desmone, Constantino helps with designs, concept boards and color samples for residential and commercial clients. She gets academic credit for working four days a week.

“Chelsea is an insightful interior-design student. Her strong problem-solving skills, along with her enthusiasm to accept design challenges, consistently produce creative and thoughtful design solutions,” said Lisa Kamphaus, chair of La Roche design division.

Constantino has had internships and design experience, including working on film sets.

“I worked on designing the sets of small-budget films, horror movies,” she said.

One film, “All Saints Eve,” produced by North Shore Productions, is set in the late 1800s and focuses on a sinister preacher, who enrages a church mob to murder a farmer and his family on the false suspicion of witchcraft.

“I was scraping fake blood off the wall as part of my job,” Constantino said.

Constantino designed sets for “Blood First,” a Nara Productions film about brothers living in Homewood. She worked as an extra in “Promised Land,” a 2012 film shot in Pittsburgh that stars Matt Damon.

Rick Wills is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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