Cheryl Sanders, President and CEO of Interior Images, Inc. began her interest in healthcare design while working at Disneyland as their traveling, dancing Mickey Mouse (yes, in the actual costume). During her “ Mickey” visits to children’s wards in hospitals all over the world, she noticed how stark and institutional the facilities were…very depressing. Upon finishing her dance career, she decided to follow her passion of interior design and acquired a BA in Interior Architecture from California State University, Long Beach. She then went on to attain her “C.I.D.” (Certified Interior Designer) classification from the State of California, which is the highest level of accreditation awarded in the State for interior design.
She started the design firm of Interior Images in 1990 and began working on Skilled Nursing facilities due to her connection with the industry through her husband Gary Sanders, a healthcare attorney that she had met at Disneyland (he was Dopey, the dwarf). Although she was very familiar with all of the standard codes and regulations required to attain the C.I.D. classification, no one taught the particulars of dealing with the elderly in state and federally licensed healthcare facilities, which are set apart from all other types of structures regarding regulations. As there are only a few designers willing to tackle this most highly regulated type of design, she and Interior Images began to grow as a niche design firm specializing, exclusively, in senior housing design.
Today, the company has 8 employees and has designed both the renovation of existing properties or newly constructed properties for Skilled Nursing, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Alzheimers and Head Trauma units throughout the country, from California to New York. She has been a speaker at many of the major design conferences throughout the country and has published several articles in various magazines specifically relating to Designing for Seniors.