Interior designer enjoys collaborative approach

By Katie Davis Skelley, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Public AffairsJune 10, 2024

Ginger Winberry-Huffman sits in one of the spaces she designed for the DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center.
Ginger Winberry-Huffman sits in one of the spaces she designed for the DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center. (Photo Credit: Casey Knighten, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (June 10, 2024) – Renovating one of Redstone Arsenal’s oldest buildings for the modern workforce is no easy feat.

Which is why the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center brought in a veteran commercial interior designer to spearhead the task. Ginger Winberry-Huffman joined the team after a career working on furniture designs for many of the well-known complexes which dot the Huntsville skyline.

Building 5400 has its roots in the very beginning of the Army missile program, but it needed in today’s terms: a glow up. Paint and finishes are just exactly that – surface level. Winberry-Huffman’s team’s work goes much deeper. Their goal is to provide a workspace that enables the DEVCOM AvMC team to safely perform their best work, work that plays a crucial part in the nation’s defense.

“It is not just about picking a carpet,” Winberry-Huffman said. “Interior designers understand a building, they understand the structure, a lot of it unseen. We understand how people interact with their environment and how design choices can impact human behavior. When you understand all that information, it helps you build a better space.”

Winberry-Huffman came on board in August 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when a majority of the workforce was in a remote work status. And while that eased the usual logistical challenges of moving people out to renovate their areas, it also created new ones.

“I was trying to learn the building and get a good feel of what our projects are -- what renovation projects are going on, what those customers need. That’s been one of the biggest challenges too is they did not know in this whole new telework realm how they were going to use it. We had to determine, ‘What does the office look like now?’”

Winberry-Huffman is one of those lucky few who knew from a young age what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she knew she wanted to design and create environments.

“At the time in the early 1980s, interior design was not as well-known as it is today. I had notebooks full of house floor plans, and I would go look at the floor plan magazines at the grocery store. I was always artistic and knew I liked designing and wanted to work with that.”

She earned a degree in interior design from Mississippi State University where she realized that her passion wasn’t in residential design, but rather commercial. She then went on to obtain her licensure and registration with the State Board in 2009 after working several years in the furniture dealership industry.

“I enjoy designing office environments that are functional and allow people to seamlessly perform their tasks while also being a comfortable and enjoyable place to work."

It’s a world she loves so much that even after a day of designing other spaces, she still enjoys being creative in her home space -- to the point that she is in the middle of a kitchen renovation. A process that would test anyone’s patience.

But for Winberry-Huffman, she understands the power of a well-designed space and how transformative it can be. As such she has advice for that young person who might be also looking to a career in commercial design: find an accreditation program and work towards becoming licensed, because a  good foundation is key to any successful endeavor.

“We have training on the Americans with Disabilities Act, training on fire codes and life safety, understanding building materials -- all those different aspects that ensure the spaces that people work in are safe and promotes their wellness and their health. Because that is what we do: promote the health, safety and welfare of the public. That is the goal of a professional interior designer.”