Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.


Designing a Living Space

January 12, 2009

Have you ever watched Trading Spaces on TLC or Extreme Home Makeover on ABC? In these shows, families agree to have their houses remodeled by friends and neighbors with the help of actor professionals. Over the course of an hour, people work together to transform a living space into something more usable and beautiful. These shows bring great entertainment, but the true work of creating or renovating a space is done by interior designers. More than choosing colors and fabrics, interior designers use their skills in drawing, writing, problem-solving, and collaboration to create a living or working space.

Shannon Griess (’06) works as an interior designer at Oz Architecture, a full-service firm in Denver. There, she works on multi-family housing in downtown Denver on market-driven projects such as lofts and affordable housing for low-income populations. Griess is not only responsible for understanding the layout of the building, but for working with a host of people involved in the project: realtors, architects, mechanical and electrical engineers and clients.

Mi Casa class project

Through classroom work and internships, Griess gained practical experience that prepared her for the working world, but the most realistic project for her was a renovation of the Mi Casa Resource Center for Women, Inc., a Colorado nonprofit corporation located in Denver. “It was a great benefit to do a project that had a time crunch. We could apply our classroom learning to an actual project,” says Griess.

Mi Casa’s mission is to advance self-sufficiency for low-income Latinas and youth through entrepreneurial training, job training, education, youth leadership activities, and community development. Because of flood damage, the condition of the Mi Casa space was non-functional; radiators didn’t work, lighting fixtures were rusted, and carpet had been ripped out.

As the chairperson of the Outreach committee of the Colorado chapter of ASID, or American Society of Interior Designers, Griess managed this community service project along with the help of Donna Roller (’06). “We had to understand the function of the space and listen to how it would be used,” says Griess.

With everything clean, painted and in place, the project was complete in February 2006. “The students did a great job. They took on a languishing project and made it happen. We’re very pleased with the results,” says Ken Lyon, vice president of finance and administration of Mi Casa.

Community Service Project of the Year

For the high quality work and tremendous efforts put forth for the Mi Casa project, Griess and fellow members of the ASID Colorado chapter student committee won the 2006 Community Service Project of the Year award from ASID, a national award. According to the ASID website, Griess “reinvigorated a failing student chapter and initiated innovative programs for student members to improve their leadership skills and connect them to ASID—at all levels of the organization.”

With a bachelor’s of science degree from a program accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, Griess and all interior design students from CSU are able to analyze client’s needs, goals, and life safety requirements; formulate preliminary design concepts; prepare working drawings and specifications; collaborate with other licensed practitioners; prepare and administer bids and contract documents; and review and evaluate design solutions. A job much more involved and difficult than donning a tool belt and looking good for the camera.

This article was originally published in Around the Oval magazine. To subscribe to Around the Oval, become a member of the CSU Alumni Association.

Contact: Beth Etter
Phone: (970) 491-6533