Interior design

USM Interior Design Students Complete Design Project for Alum, Local Entrepreneur


Fri 12/11/2021 – 9:10 a.m. | By: Ivonne Kawas

To expose students to experiential learning opportunities, seniors from the University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) interior design program, hosted by the School of Construction and Design, participated in a competition for Jackson Brothers Construction Services as part of the ID 342 Residential Interior Design II Classer. The winning teams will see their proposed designs come to life this semester.

Brandon Jackson, president of Jackson Brothers Construction Services, is an alumnus of the Construction Engineering Technology program at USM. This is the third year that seniors have entered the competition by proposing interior and exterior material specifications for specific homes under construction.

“Working with Jackson has been a valuable learning experience for our students. These projects expose students to the reality of working with a limited budget and time constraints. They also learn to work and communicate as a team and to share responsibilities, which can be a challenge at times, ”said Claire Hamilton, associate professor of interior design.

“Plus, students learn to manage their time more independently without the typical predefined classroom agenda, it’s up to them to figure out how to meet deadlines. Communicating with suppliers was also a learning experience, learning more about building materials, terminology and material estimation, ”she added.

The ID 342 Residential Interior Design II class was divided into four teams of 3-4 students. They were provided with the budget and a list of local vendors they could go to to make selections for two specific homes in Sumrall, Mississippi.

The teams prepared two presentations, one for the exterior package, which included the brick, roof, lighting, shutters, doors, hardware, paint, trim, Hardie siding, etc. and prepared renderings, specifications and quotes. The second presentation focused on the interior set and included selections of interior materials including doors, hardware, kitchen design, countertops, appliances, tiles, flooring, paint , brick, plumbing fixtures and fittings and lighting.

After the presentations, Jackson Brothers Construction Services representatives selected the best designs based on aesthetics and those that meet strict budget parameters. The challenge this year was the availability of materials and keeping to a tighter budget.

“In the end, I enjoyed watching the teams present their solutions and observe the steps they took to compete with each other. I saw creative techniques used that helped them sell their solutions, ”Hamilton said.

The winning teams included students from Lot 17: Melissa Nelson from Tylertown, Miss., Lindsay Glover from Hattiesburg, Miss., And Zoie Eddy from Mobile, Ala., And Lot 18: Madison Arabia from Carrier, Miss., Kristina Ledic of Mobile, Ala., and Holland Harkins of Gulfport, Mississippi.

Harkins, a member of one of the winning teams, talks about his experience working on the interior and exterior selections of the new construction.

“After presenting our selections for the new build, my team was chosen as one of the winning groups, and we will be able to see our designs come to life throughout the semester,” Harkins said.

“Collaborating with Jackson Brothers was the perfect opportunity for us to grow as future interior designers as we encountered challenges that we will face when we enter the workforce,” she added. “Not only did the project bring a sense of reality to my future career, it taught me the importance of meeting deadlines, staying on budget and solving unexpected problems.”

Jackson emphasizes the benefit of working with USM to provide this extraordinary opportunity for students to gain industry experience and offers career advice.

“There is no substitute for real world experience and that’s what motivated us to help create this opportunity,” Jackson said. “My advice for students is to keep learning to sell. I encourage you all to push your limits and make your voice heard to sell your work. No matter what you design or where you work, you will always sell and present your work, your information or yourself, ”he added.

Jackson’s love for construction was nurtured by his father and grandfather who worked in the construction industry. As a student at USM, Jackson was president of the Southern Miss Student Constructors Organization. He gained invaluable field experience working with some of the best artisans before going it alone in 2017 when he formed Jackson Brothers Construction Services. Today, Jackson is a licensed contractor at Miss., Ala. and La.

Learn more about the interior design program at the School of Construction and Design.