Interior design—the marriage of art and architecture. This blend of multidisciplinary fields was what led Jessi Halliday Mesalic to the successful career she enjoys today as an interior designer at Harley Ellis Devereaux in Southfield, Michigan.
“I originally started in fine art, then made my way over to crafts,” said Mesalic. “Slowly, I realized that all of the things I was searching for—working with mixed media, fiber, furniture, having an effect on space—came together in the built environment through interior design. This career path allowed me to work with all of the mediums I loved. Everything from designing a custom piece of furniture, working with existing structures, applying material and, in the end, creating an environment people can dwell, interact, live and play in.”
In her position at Harley Ellis Devereaux, Mesalic has taken a lead design role in interior architecture, focusing on healthcare and corporate/commercial projects. Among her clients are Crittenton Hospital (New Private Patient Bed Tower), Detroit Medical Center (Heart Hospital) and Domino's Pizza (headquarters in Ann Arbor).
Prior to landing her current job in 2011, Mesalic gained extensive experience working on hospitality, sports/entertainment and corporate/commercial projects as an interior designer at Rossetti. The Quicken Loan's Executive Office Suite project she worked on was published in Interior Design Magazine (March 2012 Issue) and one of her other projects (Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium) won an AIA award.
In addition to her interior design career, Mesalic teaches the junior studio in the interior design department at CCS. She also runs a side business, Simpli Jessi: Handmade for Children, in which she creates handmade toys for children that are assembled using organic and natural materials. She has participated in a few local art shows including: Ann Arbor Art Fair, Detroit Urban Craft Fair, DIYpsi, Tiny Expo and the Makers Market. Her toys can be found at www.simplijessi.com as well as on Etsy www.simplijessi.etsy.com.
Mesalic credits the experiences she had as a student for helping her grow into the career she enjoys today.
“To succeed in this field, you have to keep yourself challenged."
“Whether taking the initiative to submit a design to a competition outside of what is required or by simply not taking guidelines literally. It takes self motivation and determination.
“I worked really hard on my portfolio and studied abroad. From these experiences I learned that the research and process of design are just as important (if not more important) than the outcome. I decided to include this in my portfolio: one, the rough process, full of sketches and scribbles on napkins which I assembled into a working piece of art; and the other, a much more refined and professional piece. Both are honest of my abilities and methods.”