Berkeley Today Stories
Alumna Begins Interior Design Career at Berkeley College
Amanda Amato’s dreams of a successful interior design career started at a young age as she watched her family operate a construction business. “I was surrounded by the architectural side of the industry, but I wanted to develop my skills and understand all the fundamentals of interior design,” she said. “I knew I would need my degree to succeed. As the first child to have the opportunity to go to college, I felt incredibly honored.”
Looking for a hands-on learning environment, Ms. Amato began taking courses at Berkeley College both online and on site in Paramus and Woodland Park, NJ, graduating in 2012 with a B.S. in Interior Design. With guidance from professors like Alfonso Torino, Ph.D., Chair, Interior Design, Ms. Amato learned how to expand upon her design skills. “Professor Torino would always ask questions that I hadn’t even considered when designing,” she said. “I still ask myself those same questions today as I design rooms to not only look beautiful but to be functional as well.”
A resident of Pompton Lakes, NJ, Ms. Amato got a taste of interior designing while working full-time at Pier 1 Imports in Riverdale, NJ, while she was taking courses at Berkeley. She started as a cashier before being promoted to Visual Merchandiser. However, Ms. Amato credits an internship with wallcovering company Phillip Jeffries in Fairfield, NJ, which was arranged through the Berkeley College Career Services, with kick-starting her interior design career. After her internship led to a full-time position there, she went on to interior design roles at Thomasville Furniture and Funk Design Studio before becoming Senior Interior Designer at Boonton, NJ-based firm Polo M.A. Inc.
As she continues her work at Polo M.A. Inc., Ms. Amato runs her own interior design company, AMA Designs. She also volunteers her design skills to charitable causes, including the renovation of the kitchen at Great Notch Fire Co. in Little Falls, NJ. Ms. Amato also worked closely with interior designer Nicole Facciuto to help redesign a soup kitchen in Newark, NJ, for an episode of Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible.
“It has been my dream to have my own interior design company, and work with a team of other creative individuals to provide interior design services,” Ms. Amato said. “I hope to grow the company internationally and develop home products, including a line of fabric, furniture, and décor.”