Ever watch those TV design shows where a group of designers transforms bedrooms into calming sanctuaries? Or kids’ rooms into the bestest dream world ever? Or kitchens into those kind of places you only see on TV or in store show rooms? Ever think “That’s easy. Add an accent rug here, splash some paint on the wall there, and then maybe top it all off with a wacky vase. Big deal.”?

Well, it is actually a little more difficult than that. Just ask Marilee Kainer. After 10 years spent as a Houston litigator, Kainer has turned her attention to interior design (she still maintains her law license, though, she attends mostly construction law CLEs now). Kainer is now a registered interior designer. Registered means she not only went back to school for another four years to obtain her interior design degree, Kainer worked for two years under another registered professional before taking a rigorous two-day exam. “It was almost harder becoming an interior designer than it was a lawyer,” she quips. But, she’s kinda, sorta serious too. In the process, Kainer had to familiarize herself with design theory as well as building and fire codes (not to mention the Americans with Disabilities Act). Kainer says interior designing is not the same as simply decorating — it’s about making a space visually stunning and making sure it’s safe, to boot.

With her design company, Libertas Interior Design Solutions, Kainer has focused on “aging in place design,” for baby boomers who want to remain in their homes in their older years — as her business name implies, to give them freedom and independence.

Kainer has helped a few attorney friends redesign their offices in the short year that her company has been up and running. She says her experience as an attorney has helped out because she knows the issues — like privacy issues — that attorneys must consider when redesigning their space. “I think that clients appreciate that,” she says.