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Continuing Education - Professional Certificate Programs

Interior Design: About the Instructors

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About the Instructors

Nairn Friemann holds a BA, MBA, and certification in floral design from the New York Botanical Garden, in addition to the CSP® designation. Recently named “Professional Stager of the Year” by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), she has staged more than $500 million in real estate and has been featured on television and in numerous newspapers and magazines.

Robert A. Fendler, Assoc.AIA, is an accomplished AutoCad instructor with over 26 years teaching college students and architectural professionals in the use and application of the leading computer aided drafting program.  His skills range from generating basic CADD drawings through complex 3 dimensional presentation renderings.  Having spent 28 years in the architectural field producing construction documents and providing project management, he is now a facilities planning manager for an international corporation. 

George Gaspar, an architect with Grandberg and Associates in Mt. Kisco, has been a registered architect in New York since 1993. Currently president of the American Institute of Architects Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter, he has varied professional experience in residential, custom, and production homebuilding, and architecture (from commercial to hospitality), developing both restaurant and nightclub environments. Gaspar is associated with Habitat for Humanity Putnam County, designing new residences and renovating homes for families in need.

Linda Gauvin is managing partner of the Westchester-based staging company Winning Transformations. As a Certified Staging Professional®, she collaborates with homeowners and real estate agents in transforming properties for maximum selling appeal. A graduate of Boston University, she has more than 15 years experience in advertising, marketing, and design. After being a full-time mom, she turned a hobby of real estate staging and investing into a successful new career. Gauvin has partnered with Jan Maresh, co-author of Home Staging for Dummies, on a staging seminar based on the book.  

Denise Zottola Gianna is the owner of DeniseGiannaDesigns (, a boutique interior design company specializing in green design by reuse, recycling and creative re-imagination, and the designer at A&E Cabinetry, both in Beacon NY.  Denise has an MS in Business Administration from the New School University and a BA in Psychology from Pace University. She also earned a certificate from the Purchase College Interior Design Program. 

Alice Hayes is an award-winning master kitchen and bath designer (CMKBD), certified through the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). She holds a BA in English from Pace College (Pace University) and has worked for Karpy Custom Kitchens and St. Charles Kitchens by Girard and has freelanced for various builders. She is currently employed at Deane Inc., where she has designed and implemented many kitchen, bath, and other projects over the past 24 years.

Penny Howell grew up in Wales and came to New York as a production assistant on the Broadway show Equus. While working on that show, she studied at the Studio & Forum of Stage Design and designed costumes for numerous dance companies and Off-Broadway shows. After moving to Westchester in 1997, she opened her drapery workroom and now creates window treatments for several interior designers and for private clients.

Carol J.W. Kurth, FAIA, is an architect and allied member of ASID, a LEED AP, and principal of the award-winning firm Carol Kurth Architecture PC | Carol Kurth Interiors LTD. She is a cum laude graduate and former faculty member of the Spitzer School of Architecture, City University of New York. Prominently featured in such publications as The New York Times, Luxe Magazine, and This Old House, her projects have been widely acclaimed and exhibited internationally.

Lisa McTernan, a professional in the interior design industry for more than 20 years, is the owner of Lifestyles & Interiors by Lisa, a “Best Of Westchester” retail store and design studio that manages projects including renovations, additions, and all aspects of interior design. She has participated in multiple designer showhouses, including the Madam C.J. Walker House, for which she was featured on HGTV.

Dianne Pierce holds an MA in the history of design and decorative arts and a certificate in interior design from Parsons the New School for Design and a bachelor’s degree in architectural history from the University of Virginia. She is an adjunct instructor at State University of New York, New Paltz, where she has taught History of Modern Design, Museum Studies, History of Decorative Arts, and Arts of the 18th Century. She is also a part-time faculty member at Parsons the New School for Design.

Arielle B. Schraeter holds a BA in art history from Hamilton College and an MA in the history of decorative arts and design from Parsons the New School for Design. She currently works at the Whitney Museum of American Art and has previously taught at Parsons. She has held positions at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Salon 94, Sotheby’s, Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, and Christie’s.

Jane Schwartz opened her own interior design company, Jane Schwartz Interiors, Ltd., in 1987. A graduate of the New York School of Interior Design, Jane has designed and decorated an extensive number of corporate and private residences in the New York Metropolitan area, Florida and Europe. Jane has taught Interior Design classes in Westchester County and has lectured at various New York events.

Updated July 1, 2014

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