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A+D Partner Spotlight: ID Studios - Jill Russell-Layman

We sat down for an interview with ID Studios Associate Principal & Owner, Jill Russell-Layman, where she opens up about her career, passions, and hobbies.

February 11, 2021

1. Tell me a little bit about your professional background.

I received my first degree, a Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy from Washington State University (Go Cougs!), and my second, a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, from the Design Institute of San Diego. Shortly thereafter, I began my career with ID Studios, which was founded by Deborah Elliott and Amy Morway, and is stronger than ever in its 16th year of business. Over the last 15+ years, I have had the great fortune of expanding my career in the A&D world as a team member and now Associate Principal | Owner of ID Studios.

2. How did you initially get started with ID Studios?

In the early days of my design career, I met Deborah Elliott, just as she and Amy Morway were on their way building ID Studios. Shortly after my daughter was born, an opportunity to join ID Studios came my way and the rest is history!

3. How did you decide this is what you wanted to do?

Since early childhood, I was drawn to anything artistic and creative. I jumped at the opportunity to take advanced placement art and design classes in high school, which allowed me to gain a semester’s worth of college credits. I just loved those classes! When I arrived at Washington State University, architecture seemed like a great fit. As my education progressed, I gravitated toward Interior Design. I was also drawn to serving others and ended up going in the direction with a healthcare-related degree. Upon graduation, I began my work with seniors and while it was fulfilling, I couldn't shake the feeling that my career could evolve into a role in art, architecture and design. Eventually, I went back to school to get my second degree from the Design Institute of San Diego. This fluid road took me to where I am today!

4. What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I look at work and life cumulatively – everything builds upon the previous experiences. The beginning phase of a project is one of my favorites as I believe it lays the groundwork for the overall success of a project. That starting point begins with gaining knowledge and insight about the client; their functional needs, their culture, where their culture is now, and where they want it to be in the future. Each of these things are impactful to the design process and ultimately the outcome. The key is thoughtful listening. Listening brings insight, and insight provides an excellent foundation for the development of a highly functional inspiring space that will support an organization’s culture and functional needs into the future. At the end of the day, if the client feels we have hit these marks, then it is successful for the ID Studios team.

5. Is there a favorite or memorable project you did?

That's like asking which child is your favorite! I love all the projects I've worked on in different ways. If I had to pick one that stands out right now, I would say WD-40 Company. I truly believe they have one of the strongest company cultures I have experienced, and their team members live and breathe it every single day. I would highly encourage you to take a look at their website to gain some insight into their inspiring culture.

6. That's amazing! Ok let's get into some fun personal questions...do you have a favorite movie or show?

Yes! A League of Their Own is one of my favorite movies. For me, it is all about the power of the human spirit, overcoming obstacles and women doing some pretty great things during a challenging time in our country and the world.

7. How about favorite pastimes?

Anywhere I am in nature. I love the outdoors! I enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, traveling, and golfing. I am a blend of urban and outdoorsy. (laughing). In addition, I have a great love of dogs.

8. Favorite food?

Easy! Even though I am foodie; and love to cook, my favorite meal is a summer BBQ with fresh watermelon, corn on the cob, potato salad, and ribs. It’s such a nostalgic meal. It always conjures up happy memories.

9. Drink of choice?

So many! I really love chai tea, and actually make my own! Thai iced tea. Coming from Seattle, it goes without saying that I'm an avid coffee-drinker. I'm also a huge fan of craft beers, especially IPAs! Oh and Veuve Clicquot champagne is another fave! Too many favorites to count (laughing).

10. Do you have a favorite musician or band?

I have a pretty diverse taste in music. Everything from classical music to classic hard rock - I mean HARD - rock. It might surprise some people to learn that (laughing). Chris Cornell is my favorite musician.

11. Are there any "fun facts" about you that you'd like to share?

I volunteered for an organization that taught youth with disabilities adaptive skiing. Very rewarding.

12. Ok, last question...You're a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Yellow! It is bright, joyful, forward, and positive.