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Montgomery College Student Success Stories

Interior Motives
Insights, Spring ’04

Gregory Wigle’92Ever since he was a child, interior designer Gregory Wigle’92 felt drawn to his current
avocation. What he could not have known was how many detours his path to success would
take. From a stint at college following high school to working as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, from horse trainer to florist, the co-founder of the Rhosymedre Design Group in Frederick, Md., discovered the direction of his true rite of passage at Montgomery College.

“I went to Montgomery College as a change of life,” he explains. “I was looking for change of
life, looking to study interior design. I stopped by the College and asked a few questions.” A few answers later, a star was all but born.

Today, the Rhosymedre Design Group has a client list to die for. “I’m not particularly big on dropping my clients’ names,” says Wigle. “It would suffice to say that they’re well known people.”

“He was just a remarkable student,” recalls his former teacher, Professor Jill Irey, who taught Wigle in three design classes. “He had so much energy and so many interests. No matter what you talked about, he would look up everything on the subject. He made it worthwhile being in front of the class.”

Professor Irey served as a mentor from 1990 –92. Wigle, modest about his own talents and accomplishments, is effervescent in his praise for Professor Irey. “I think the world of her,” he says. “She was able to impart a lot of ideals, and really prepared me for the business end of this. It’s all well and good to be able to draw beautifully and put everything to scale and put colors together, but she really prepared me to convert my ‘talent’ without it going down the tubes.”

If, as Professor Irey says, “interior design changes people’s perception of themselves,” Wigle’s change via the College was profound. “I gained the confidence to present,” he says. “I wasn’t really big on getting up in front of people and presenting ideas. Most design ideas are generally intangible. What I learned was the reasoning and argument behind presenting a design so that I could present it comfortably.” Combining his talents in drawing and painting with his penchant for planning—“I used to draw plans for airplanes as a kid, the measure of wings that would give the lift…”—Wigle formed Rhosymedre Design with his partner Kirk Denton as something of a part-time venture in the early 1990s. “It all started in Washington, D.C.,” he says. “We had a client who was an executive secretary who had quite a busy social life. We did her home. She told her friends about us, and we did their homes. It just sort of blossomed from there.”

Today, Rhosymedre—the word literally means “lovely meadow” in Welch—is housed in an
1830-vintage building that the firm is renovating. Currently the firm’s upholstery and carpentry shops are on site. Eventually, Wigle plans to open a retail design shop there as well. Rhosymedre is best described as a full-service design house. “We have done everything from rearranging clients’ clothing in their dressers to catering their dinner parties,” he says. “We do complete plans from the ground up, and have relationships with several architects for getting our plans approved.”

Despite his far-reaching success, the Gaithersburg native has never lost sight of where he launched his career. Not only has he taught design courses as a visiting professor at the
Rockville Campus—“By the end of the semester his students were wowed by what they had
accomplished,” says Professor Irey—he has employed other Montgomery College design graduates, a decision that’s based on more than allegiance: he knows they’ve been well prepared.