Thermador Launches Initiative Addressing Lack of Diversity in Interior Design Industry

Thermador Commissioned Survey Reveals Mentorship and Financial Support are Critical for Underrepresented Demographics to Break into the Interior Industry

Survey and Program Highlights:

  • Lack of diversity was reported as one of the industry’s top three concerns, only after lack of jobs and concerns regarding wages.
  • Within this survey, 79% of respondents said finances were the top perceived barrier while 70% confirmed that mentorship opportunities and access to potential employers are essential to ensure diversity within the industry.
  • In response to findings, Thermador has launched an initiative in partnership with the Interior Design Society to advance diversity in the design sector by supporting students from underrepresented communities through a nationwide scholarship and mentoring program.
  • Oh Joy! Founder Joy Cho, HGTV design star Justin Williams, and House Beautiful Market Director Carisha Swanson will join interior designers Jeremy Bauer and David Santiago to select incoming college seniors for this comprehensive scholarship package including $10,000 toward tuition, IDS membership, and access to exclusive trade events. Additionally, each recipient will be paired with a hand-selected Interior Design mentor who will provide valuable guidance and insight throughout the student’s final school year.
  • Students and certified interior designers are invited to apply to be selected as scholarship recipients and program mentors respectively, receiving a year of guided programming and perks on behalf of Thermador and IDS.

IRVINE, Calif., June 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Thermador, the iconic American luxury home appliance brand, has launched the Diversity in Design Pipeline to empower a new generation of talent from underrepresented communities.

The Thermador Diversity in Design Pipeline Initiative, in partnership with the Interior Design Society (IDS), will support up to five collegiate students in their senior year at an accredited interior design program. The comprehensive prize package will include a financial scholarship of $10,000 toward tuition, a one-year mentorship program with a hand selected interior designer, invitations to key industry events and a one-year student membership to IDS including access to local chapter events and larger professional networking opportunities.

“Interior designers have long been a pillar of the Thermador brand,” said Beatriz Sandoval, Director of Brand Marketing for Thermador. “We feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure we do our part to create a supportive and inclusive environment for diversity, creativity and innovation that allows talent to break into this industry and thrive.”

To select these deserving and talented students, Thermador and IDS have created an esteemed group of industry leaders to serve as the Selection Committee including, Oh Joy! Founder Joy Cho, HGTV design star contestant Justin Williams, House Beautiful Market Director Carisha Swanson, multi award-winning interior designer and co-founder of Bauer/Clifton Interiors Jeremy Bauer and award-winning interior and product designer David Santiago of Casa Santi Interior Design. This expert panel will choose five incoming college seniors to receive this opportunity to kickstart their career with all the tools necessary upon graduation.

“I am thrilled to be part of an initiative encouraging and supporting diversity in the arts and design both for our present and future generations,” said Joy Cho, Founder and Creative Director of Oh Joy! “This is a critical issue for our industry and it’s important to give talented students opportunities to thrive.”

Professional designers are also invited to participate by becoming a mentor. Five mentors will be hand selected by the same panel of judges to be paired with each student awarded. In addition to being able to give back to their community, these mentors will guide their respective mentees through the yearlong programming outlined by Thermador and be invited as guests of the company to the same industry events.

“Our mission at IDS has always included using our voices to impact our collective communities,” said Jenny Cano, Executive Director for Interior Design Society “It’s vital that we not only provide the tools for emerging designers to grow their business, but the skills and network to leave their mark on the larger industry.”

Interior design students from underrepresented communities interested in the scholarship, along with certified designers interested in becoming mentors, can both apply now via the Interior Design Society (IDS) online application portal now through July 17th. Applicants will be reviewed by the IDS Selection Committee, before the winners and selected mentors are announced later this summer.

In developing the Diversity in Design Pipeline program, Thermador sought to better understand the obstacles facing the interior design industry and commissioned research to identify the key barriers to entry into the field. In the initial survey, conducted by YouGov online in late 2020, respondents reported that the lack of diversity was a top concern for their field, only following lack of available jobs and competitive wages. According to the same survey, 79% of respondents said finances were the top perceived barrier while more than 70% of respondents agreed that mentorship opportunities and access to potential employers are essential to ensure diversity within the industry. Additionally, 34% of all interior designers said they experienced racial discrimination in their career – including 66% of Black designers and 54% of Hispanic/LatinX designers.

For more information about the new Diversity in Design Pipeline Initiative please visit the Thermador website.

About the Judges:

Joy Cho is a graphic designer, blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Creative Director of the lifestyle brand, Oh Joy!, known for bringing joy to the everyday. She has authored six books and consulted for hundreds of businesses around the world. Oh Joy creates a wide range of licensed products including home décor, baby & nursery, pet, travel, and furniture collections. For two years in a row, Joy was named one of Time’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet and has the most followed account on Pinterest with over 14 million followers.

Justin Williams, star of HGTV’s Design Star: NextGen is an Atlanta-based Interior Designer whose love for décor and design developed into a business where his main goal is to bring quality, as well as affordable designs, to any consumer. Williams founded Trademark Design Company in 2009, and has since seen the company gain clientele ranging from 1-bedroom apartments to million-dollar estates. Recently, Trademark has created new branches of businesses all-encompassing the home and lifestyle division that elevates with each project acquired. Along with being featured in magazines such as HGTV Magazine, AD Pro, Jezebel, Atlanta Magazine, Business of Home, and others, he’s also debuted in Picture Perfect Parties, a book filled with stylish solutions for entertaining by Rizzoli International. Although these acknowledgments are held in great regard, Justin is a southern gentleman whose design expertise attracts people across the globe. As a highly sought-after Interior Designer, Justin has had a vast amount of exposure to all elements of design which includes photo-styling, real estate staging, and blue-print consultation. This exposure has led him to have his own furniture line with TOV Furniture and the ability to grace the magazine pages of Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Ballard, and many more. Justin’s hope is to make fashionable yet functional spaces for his clients. His life’s work has been helping other live better and he will continue to do that by elevating spaces, one home at a time.  

Carisha Swanson is a Georgia native, now living in southern Connecticut. While attending Williams College in Williamstown, MA she spent a year abroad studying design in London. After completing her BA with Honors in American Studies, she moved back to Atlanta, GA to work for the publisher W.W. Norton & Co. and teach literacy classes during summer breaks. She subsequently left for Connecticut to continue her work in book publishing with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It was during this time that her passion for design led her into the world of retail management and magazine publishing. She began to work concurrently as a manager for retailer Crate & Barrel, and freelancing as Market Editor for Moffly Media, a publisher of six luxury regional and shelter magazines in Fairfield County, CT. Over the next five years she would become a full-time editor at Moffly Media, help launch two new titles, and be the lead on several custom projects, including their annual Luxury Gift Portfolio and Beauty Book. In 2013, she joined Hearst as Market Editor for the Hearst Design Group, which included House Beautiful, Veranda and ELLE Decor, with a focus on kitchen, bath, building and technology. In 2018, she was promoted to Senior Market Editor and most recently became Market Director for House Beautiful’s print and digital properties. She continues to be a global advocate for expanding consumer knowledge in the these key markets.

Jeremy Bauer has always taken a liking to architecture and landscaping. Born a Midwest farm boy, Jeremy and his grandfather renovated a 19th century post and beam barn, saving it from destruction in the mid-80s. From this moment on, his fate was sealed. When not working on the farm, Jeremy spent his time drawing houses. After receiving degrees in Architecture and Architectural Engineering, with concentrations in Art, Landscaping, and City Planning, Jeremy moved to Alaska to begin his first career in design. Drawing inspiration from his roots, Jeremy's first project was a remote Alaska post and beam cabin, and over time, his focus would skew toward interiors, though he maintains a passion and talent for landscape design. When Jeremy walks into a home, he understands its structure and absorbs its history, allowing him to see what’s meant to become. A true lover of the natural world, Jeremy explores what Alaska has to offer in camping and traveling, never knowing where he will find inspiration for his next project.

David Santiago is an award-winning designer and owner of Casa Santi Interior Design established in 2011. He caters to clients who seek the unique, creative details that elevate a project blending his traditional sensibility with the unexpected, known as his signature and trademark "Santified". His Strictly Santi brand was created as an umbrella brand in 2018 and since then, David launched several products; a lighting collection with American Brass & Crystal Lighting and a wallpaper collection entitled The Passport Collection, catering to hospitality and residential markets with Bijou wallcoverings. David is known as the “Prince of Wallpaper” highlighting his ability to master the art of wallpaper application on every project. David is acknowledged by the High Point Market Authority and Dallas Market Center as an influencer to the trade. He is the 2021 President of the NY Chapter of the International Furniture and Design Association (IFDANY), an active contributing member of the Interior Design Society (IDS), International Society of Furniture Design, and Accessory Resource Team and With It.  He also serves on charity committees for The Bailey House, Kids Need More, Hope Lodge and is the artistic director for My Face. Currently, David continues to grow as a brand ambassador and give back through the media platforms as a design and lifestyle correspondent for "The Donna Drake Show" on CBS NY and guest designer on the NBC hit television series “George To The Rescue". 

About Thermador

Since 1916, Thermador has introduced innovative breakthroughs – from the world’s first wall ovens and gas cooktops with the patented Star® Burner, to the Freedom® Induction Cooktop, the first full-surface induction appliance, as well as the Freedom® Collection, the first modular built-in fresh food, freezer and wine preservation columns. New Thermador products span two completely redesigned collections: Masterpiece® and Professional. These collections establish a true connection with consumers through the exclusive Thermador Connected Experience by Home Connect™. The Thermador Connected Experience provides access to personalized content, unique partnerships and customized product guidance. Thermador is part of BSH Home Appliances Corporation, a fully owned subsidiary of BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, the largest manufacturer of home appliances in Europe and one of the leading companies in the industry worldwide. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at:, @Thermador and @ThermadorHome, respectively.

About Interior Design Society

The Interior Design Society (IDS) is one of the country's largest design organizations dedicated to serving the residential interior design industry. It’s a group of like-minded professionals interested in broadening their network, professional development, and continued education. IDS offers its members a place to belong within a supportive and welcoming design community through local chapters nationwide, and the new Virtual Chapter! IDS was initially founded in 1973 by the National Home Furnishings Association (NHFA) with a goal of supporting interior designers working in furniture stores. IDS has long since elevated and expanded its focus to provide support to professional interior design entrepreneurs nationwide. The national headquarters is located in High Point, North Carolina, the home furnishings capital of the world. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at:, @IDSnational respectively.

Media Contact:
Liz Heyman