Jessi Halliday

When most people think of design, they envision a finished piece—whether it's the layout and colors in a room, a glossy advertisement in a popular magazine, or the unveiling of a car at an auto show. Through her education and professional experience, interior designer Jessi Halliday understands the need to properly work through the design process to achieve such extraordinary results.

During her first few semesters at CCS, Halliday considered majoring in crafts.

"I was interested in so many aspects of design: 3D, fibers, architecture, painting - that's when I discovered interior design," explained Halliday. "It's an incredibly multidisciplinary field, and I realized that it acted as the connection between many of the things I was interested in. When you think about architecture and interiors - interiors are where the most intense human reaction takes place - I wanted to be part of that."

Confident in her decision to pursue interior design, Halliday began working on her portfolio. She gained international experience between her junior and senior year by studying/working in London.

"To succeed in this field, you have to keep yourself challenged," said Halliday. "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."

After graduation, Halliday was hired by Rossetti, an architectural design firm in Southfield. As one of her first assignments, she was asked to work on a project for Birmingham's Goldfish Swim School, Michigan's first aquatic facility dedicated entirely to indoor swim classes and programs.

"I enjoyed the entire process, from producing early concept sketches to working on construction documents and driving to the site to check on the progress," explained Halliday. "As a first experience, it was extremely motivating to have the ability to begin a design and follow it through to the end, especially when you're designing a space for children whose average age is five years old. It was very rewarding."

Since then, Halliday has worked on a number of exciting projects in the Detroit-area. Last spring, the American Lung Association of Michigan asked her to participate in the first Kids Cozy Cottages auction by designing a children's playhouse to raise money for the non-profit's asthma research and youth tobacco prevention programs. She agreed. The cottage was constructed and sold at an auction. Each entry raised roughly $4,000.

"To know that someone was benefiting from a small amount of my time was a very humbling experience," said Halliday.

  • Graduation Year: 2005
  • Major: Interior Design
  • Employer: Rossetti
  • Title: Interior Designer

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