Jo Chrobak is an experienced architectural and interior design mentor who has helped hundreds of career changers successfully transition into interiors. Most interior design schools focus on teaching design academically. We take a practical approach and believe working on real projects at an appropriate level, safely, under the supervision of an experienced interior design mentor is the recipe for success.
We also know that those taking an alternative route into interiors are transitioning from another field or profession, so the guidance from our interior design mentor is designed to help you identify transferable skills, helping you to succeed as quickly as possible.
Our mission at the Interior Designer’s Business School is to provide an alternative path to becoming an interior designer which is practical rather than academic (just like the profession of interior design!) For this reason we attract a much broader range of students from minority groups into our interior design mentorship program than other interior design schools that are designed for young, school-leaving students who are academic and can afford the high student fees for university (even though this isn’t required to become an interior designer).
Jo Chrobak is an experienced interior design mentor, life and business coach and architectural and interior designer, business owner with a broad range of skills and knowledge of teaching practices. She is the course creator and mentor for students at IDBS, answering questions, providing feedback and holds the support calls on Saturdays.
“I always wondered why lecturers explained things in complex and unnecessary ways, when the aim is to help someone understand a concept – they made it more difficult than it needed to be. I think it’s why I’m a patient teacher, I genuinely understand what it’s like to be that student who doesn’t get it, needing concepts to be explained to me in different ways”.
Jo grew up in Sydney, Australia and spent her childhood dreaming about, reading about and thinking about buildings. In 1991, she moved to Brisbane, Queensland to study Architecture. In her final year of her undergraduate degree, she started her first architectural design company with her friend Matthew Anderson (Managing Director of the Steinlia Norway) and before graduating her first degree had 3 completed projects under her belt.
She graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Design Studies (the prerequisite at the time to the postgraduate architectural degree in Australia) and moved to England for two years to undertake her practical experience with a London Architect (Peter Thomas De Cruz). It was here that she met her first interior design mentor Kirsty Curnow-Baily, from Living Space architects During her assistant years she travelled across Europe and managed to get an amazing amount of experience working on small and large domestic projects across London.
After returning to Australia, Jo finished her postgraduate studies at The University of NSW in Sydney, graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2007 with first class honours and top of her graduating class. Her talent landed her a job with an award-winning architectural firm Collins and Turner.
After suffering from severe RSI (repetitive strain injury) from working long hours, in 2008, Jo moved back to the UK and spent a few months travelling and working with architects in Norway on disability and accessible design projects. She then spent a couple of years working with an award winning, international design firm, WATG designing hotels, convention centres, airports, villas and master planning destination cities. As an ambitious designer, Jo decided study sustainable design (as a LEED consultant) as well mindfulness, meditation and yoga and graduated as an Ashtanga yoga instructor with CYS in 2009.
In 2010, Jo set up her own business and started working as a freelance designer. She worked on a variety of projects, helping developers and architects win contracts with her designs, doing 3D rendering and modelling, technical drawing, small-scale master planning for development sites and working on a multitude of projects from schools to churches and listed buildings.
Jo met Mark Tavener, her next interior design mentor and the director of Attol Architecture & Interiors whilst on a surfing trip in Wales. She spent the next 5 years working for him and that is where her passion for interior design was born. Mark is also the owner of a family run high-end joinery business C. Tavener & Son, so whilst working on some of the most lucrative London projects, Jo learned all about fine joinery and luxury interior design.
After developing her own properties and evolving even more skills, Jo’s thirst for knowledge took her down a path to study a business and coaching certification program with an American Life and Business Coach Gina De Vee. The year-long coaching and business training certification program gave Jo the skills to run and sustain a lucrative business, learn about branding, sales, marketing, online marketing and e-commerce. Whilst building her architectural and interior design studio, Jo undertook her final role as an architectural designer in a corporate firm adding health care and high-density housing projects to her repertoire.
In 2017, after a having been slowly building her business on the side, she started working in her business full time. She developed an online E-design service which enabled her to provide interior design and architecture services globally, to a whole new market, that previously couldn’t afford a designer.
Late in 2017, Jo became an interior design mentor, helping aspiring designers start their own businesses using the same method she used to grow her business from scratch. She launched her first online, mentorship program 90 Days To A Freelance Life in March 2018 and it was a huge success. Later in 2018, Jo and her husband Darius joined forces and created The Interior Designer’s Business School.
Jo continues to run her architectural and interior design studio alongside being an interior design mentor at the Interior Designer’s Business School. She continues to study and grow her skills and portfolio on projects globally.
Darius is the interior design school’s director who deals with technical support. He has a broad range of skills and experience ranging from teaching, running his own successful business and project managing building sites.
Darius started his career in the Polish police army where his passion for teaching began as he was tasked with training soldiers as a corporal. Once out of the army, he moved to London and for over ten years worked his way up to site manager on building sites with specialist trades in electrics and plumbing.
In 2009, he decided to follow his creative passion and start a business teaching guitar. Using his music and technical skills, Darius mastered the art of high-quality audio and video recordings and started a You-Tube channel teaching the guitar online. In 2012 he built his online guitar teaching website (www.guitarcouch.com) which was a huge success.
By 2013, through building and refining his online guitar teaching website, Darius had taught himself to code, build bespoke websites, SEO, drive both paid and organic traffic and UX (user experience design) adding specialist IT skills to his repertoire.
In 2017, helping Jo with her various projects, Darius added web development to his portfolio of skills and built the first few courses for Jo’s mentorship programs.
In 2018, Darius joined Jo, the school’s interior design mentor as technical director providing years of construction knowledge and experience.