Senior Interior Designer Emili Spencer Joins JLA’s Madison Office

MADISON — JLA Architects is proud to announce that Emili Spencer has joined our Madison office. As a senior interior designer at JLA, she will provide design expertise to our clients on a variety of project types and sizes. Her work will span all three offices, collaborating with our project and interior design teams. Emili has 20 years of experience designing in a variety of market sectors including commercial, higher education and senior living environments. She has a passion for designing specialized environments and mentoring the next generation of interior designers. Formerly, she has served as an instructor/assistant professor at Madison College, The Art Institute of Wisconsin, Mount Mary University, University of Missouri, and North Dakota State University.

“We are excited to welcome Emili to the JLA Team!  She brings unique experiences with her that will help us continue to serve our clients’ interior design needs and to develop the depth of interior design services we offer,” explains Vice President & Wisconsin Market Director Leah Teske.

Emili holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design, a Master of Science in Interior and Environmental Design, and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Education at Edgewood College. She’s a member of the Wisconsin Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and serves as co-chair of the chapter’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) committee.


Learn more about Emili:

We asked Emili about her passion for design and community. Read on for our interview-

What drew you to design as a career?

I grew up on job sites and in a carpentry shop where my grandfather, father, and other family members were and still are contractors. It exposed me to building houses, commercial buildings, cabinetry, and detail work. Inspired by my family, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in the industry in some way. I ultimately chose interior design because I wanted to study and understand how people interact with the physical environment and how the physical environment can shape behavior and wellness.

What’s your favorite (or most unique) project you’ve worked on?

I have so many, but one of the most rewarding was a non-profit charity project with Design for a Difference in 2019 for the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Teams of designers from around the Madison area selected spaces to renovate. Working with Madison College interior design students, our team renovated the Youth Recreation space for their after-school program. All hours were volunteered by designers and laborers; products and materials were all donated through the community. It was an incredible transformation with old wood Dane County road signs, graffiti art, a basketball hoop, Lego wall, an elevated fort, cubbies, game areas, and study spaces. To see the after-school program kids experience the new space and immediately try out all new features is a memory I will never forget!

What do you do for fun – Any hobbies or special interests?

Between parenting my two daughters and working on my doctorate at Edgewood College, my free time has been a little tight.  When we can, my husband and I like traveling and discovering new wineries and wine tasting. This summer, my daughters and I took a train trip to northern North Dakota for my small hometown celebration. A first for my girls, but I’ve been taking train trips most of my life. I’ve taken the Empire Builder route from Chicago all the way to Vancouver, Washington.