College for Creative Studies: Interior Design
Even at a young age, Melissa (Endress) Rodriguez knew the meaning of “good design.” She often helped her father, an engineer, and her mother with the design and hands-on work of remodeling projects they took on.
Today, Rodriguez is an interior designer with over 15 years of experience and an expansive portfolio of internationally-acclaimed work.
“It’s so important to go into a field you're really passionate about,” she advised. “I get so much satisfaction from my job and care so much about it because it's my passion.
“At first, my parents thought I should pursue a career with a more stable income than a 'starving artist,’ so my original plan was to study graphic design. I spent two years at another university before transferring to CCS. But after completing my first graphic design class, I realized it wasn't for me. I discussed my skills and other interests with my drawing professor, and he suggested I consider interior design. I changed my major the next semester. It was then I knew where I was supposed to be.”
Rodriguez's professional design career began at Assemblage Incorporated, a residential design/build firm while she attended CCS. After graduating with a BFA in interior design, she was immediately hired as a Designer at JGA Incorporated, a retail architecture and design firm ranked among the “Top 100 Interior Design Giants in the World” by Interior Design Magazine. Rodriguez worked on a number of high profile accounts, including the design of Saks Department Stores, Tommy Hilfiger and Yankee Candle Stores.
As a freelance designer, Rodriguez worked closely with a licensed builder and was involved in every phase of the design/build process, continuously demonstrating her ability to set goals, complete projects on a budget and in a timely manner. Wanting to diversify her skill set, Rodriguez accepted a project designer position at Cagley & Tanner in the fast paced city of Las Vegas. She designed high-end resorts and casinos, managed award winning projects locally on the Las Vegas Strip, nationally and internationally. Her most recent project included Crown Perth (formerly Burswood Entertainment Complex) in West Australia, an award winning $750 million refurbishment of the casino-hotel complex.
From there, Rodriguez and a colleague co-founded the multi-spectrum branding company, VISAVI. With both of their backgrounds in interior design and graphic arts, they utilized their experience to cultivate successful businesses.
“Whether it was developing graphics, refreshing marketing communications, creating a website, or remodeling a business's interior, our goal was to build comprehensive and cohesive brands,” she said.
In the midst of managing VISAVI and after tying the knot, Rodriguez's husband received a permanent change of station to Fort Bragg Army Post. As a result, Rodriguez established the Studios of Melissa Rodriguez based in North Carolina, servicing the Fort Bragg and Sandhills communities through its small businesses, local design and real estate professionals in design assistance and graphic design. She is also a full time interior designer operating out of the Village Design Group in Southern Pines, NC.
“Fifteen years of experience has given me a clear vision for my design philosophy,” said Rodriguez. “Design is about more than making things look pretty. Thoughtful design has the ability to transform a space, greatly enhance the quality of day-to-day living (and working) and increase the value of real estate.”
Check out more of Rodriguez’s work, visit http://www.studiosofmr.com.