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Erika Altenhofen, 32 

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Forty Under 40

Erika Altenhofen, 32 

A Forty Under 40 winner shares her conversion from psych to remodeling.

April 5, 2021
Erika Altenhofen, 32 

Design Consultant

Neil Kelly Company / Portland, Ore.

 Finding a Personality Fit: 

My inspiration lies in what makes people tick. Why do they make certain decisions in their own homes that are unique from everyone else? I was a psych major in college and was all set to go into sociology, but it didn’t feel creative enough. Then one day I was talking a friend who was in the interior design program. She said that design is very linear and logical in terms of floor plans and dimensions, but with the addition of creative practices. I was like, “Wow!” I had never heard that before. I had seen people on TV, but didn’t realize it was an option for me.

I was a psych major, and all set to go into sociology, but it didn’t feel creative enough. 

I changed my major and thrived, really nerding out on design theory. I applied to Neil Kelly for an internship and started full time with the company in 2013. They didn’t have any design positions open, so I became an admin assistant for the solar department in home performance. I did that for a couple of years before a design associate position opened up. I worked under several talented designers and absorbed a lot. Currently, I’ve been a design consultant for three years. All of the designers here have so much talent and integrity, I am honored to be part of this team.  

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