Interior design meets therapy


Ali Norman-Franks adds a decorative touch to her office in the Norman Aid Center.


Braden Bochner, cub writer
Many know Ali Norman-Franks as the school’s counselor and founder of the Norman Aid Center. However, in addition to counseling others, Norman-Franks has a passion for designing and decorating living spaces.
“I’ve always found myself going into people’s homes and thinking, ‘What would I do in here?’ or ‘How would I decorate?’” Norman-Franks said.
After working as a counselor for two years, Norman-Franks was given the opportunity to be the school’s intervention counselor. After six years, Norman Franks founded the Norman Aid Center, a counseling center that offers students a confidential and comfortable environment to discuss problems they’re dealing with in life.
“I wanted to decorate the center around the pre-existing Norman-Aid brochures. I had students from Deb Joseph’s graphic design class create images for the walls and Michael Federman made our ‘Character Dedication’ paintings,” she said.
Not only has Norman-Franks designed the Norman-Aid center, but she has also designed her home as well.
“My daughters are moving from cribs to twin beds, so I’m working on re-doing their room. I chose a very Hollywood Regency theme. It’s vintage yet modern,” she said.
In order to create the vintage-themed room, Norman-Franks has been busy upholstering headboards, finding unique art for the walls and spray-painting lampshades.
“I love doing arts and crafts. Things like making candles, painting…It’s nice to fix something once ugly and turn it into something special,” she said.
Although interior design requires great patience and dedication, Norman-Franks finds the hobby to be very soothing and stress relieving.
“I think that arts and crafts are a great therapeutic tool because they can be very calming,” said Norman-Aid center intern Maddie Murphy.
Norman-Franks believes that the key to good design is having the ability to design around your life.
“How a space feels is the most important part. You want it to be comfortable, yet functional at the same time. I am always trying to find things that can hide my kids toys, yet still look neat and pretty,” she said.
Despite having to run a busy counseling center and juggle two kids, Norman-Franks hopes to continue her hobby of interior designing.