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Emmalee Lowe, ‘22, Wins Design Excellence Award from the ASID New York Upstate-Canada East Chapter

By August 12, 2021Interior Design

This week, the New York Upstate/Canada East Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers announced the winner of its 2021 Design Excellence Awards. The winning design in the Junior/Senior Student category is Ghillie’s Pub and Restaurant, designed by one of Villa Maria’s outstanding interior design students, Emmalee Lowe. 

Emmalee designed Ghillie’s during her junior year as part of her Studio 5 interior design class with Professor Sandra Reicis. In her design statement, Emmalee says she drew inspiration from a mural by Irish artist Finbar McHugh and the streets of Ireland. Her design makes use of a similar color palette and an emphasis on free-formed shapes.  

Her design features include colossal murals placed throughout the space, including a whimsical Dublin wallpaper that features Celtic plates and Celtic shoes. A corrugated metal ceiling connects to the original tin ceiling located in the historic building. 

Ghillie’s was named for the traditional soft shoes worn by Irish dancers. These ballet-like shoes offer the utmost flexibility to create graceful and precise movements. Similar to the expressions an artist makes using their selected medium, ghillies allow the dancer to exhibit strength, grace, and individuality. 

Through her designs, Emmalee aims to allow Ghillie’s Pub to bring a taste of Ireland through the lens of modern hues and contemporary furniture selections while holding true to the lore of Ireland and its infamous pub life. 

To see all of Emmalee’s renderings for Ghillie’s, including her inspiration and process work, click here. 

This is not the first recognition Emmalee has received for being an exceptional student designer. Last semester, she was named the Outstanding Student in Interior Design by the program’s faculty and was inducted into the national scholastic honor society Delta Epsilon Sigma. She is enrolled in the College’s Honors Program and is a repeat Dean’s list recipient.  

In 2019, she won a scholarship content hosted by California Closets. Her design was selected as the winner by a panel of interior design professionals from the WNY community. In addition, Emmalee participated in Villa Maria’s 2019 study abroad program to Portugal and Spain. She is also the vice president of the College’s student-run interior design club and serves the college as a student ambassador and an orientation leader.  

Emmalee is currenting leading a team of other interior design students from the College as they design a room in the 2021 Junior League of Buffalo Decorator’s Show House. The Show House is nearing completion and will open to the public on August 21. To learn more about this project, visit 

Emmalee is the eighth Villa Maria interior design student to win an ASID NYU/CE award. 

For more information on Villa’s Interior Design program, visit 

To learn more about Emmalee’s experience as an interior design student at Villa Maria College, watch her interview with Brian Emerson, the College’s Vice President for Enrollment and Operations.