Student Success Story: Interior Design Alum, Alina Halloran
Alina Halloran has been involved in creative fields for most of her adult life, and understands the impact that functional and beautiful design can have on our lives. Prior to starting her interior design business, Alina worked in public relations and marketing communications roles for ASX listed companies in her hometown of Sydney Australia. After living in the United Kingdom for several years, Alina relocated to Silicon Valley in 2010. Her passion for design led her to study Interior Design, and Kitchen and Bath Design, at Cañada College. Alina worked with established Bay Area interior designers and started her own firm, Alina Halloran Design, in 2013.
Alina holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Business (Marketing), a Certificate of Interior Design and a Certificate of Kitchen and Bath Design. She is an Allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). She recently won two national 2018 ASID Silver Awards for her work. We sat down with this Cañada College alum and asked her some questions about her time in Cañada College’s Interior Design Program and her career.
Were you considering going to another college in the area to student Interior Design before deciding to go to Cañada College? What made you decide on Cañada College?
I looked at various Interior Design courses offered throughout the Bay Area; San Francisco, Berkeley, certificate, undergraduate course, graduate courses—everything. I knew I wanted to start my own business, and I needed to know the nuts and bolts of Interior Design. I decided on Cañada for the quality of the courses, along with convenience, and cost. Once I tried the first class, I knew the program would offer everything I needed to start my business.
What are some of your favorite showrooms in the Bay Area?
I spend lots of time visiting showrooms throughout the Bay Area, from the SF Design Center to DesignMart San Jose, and everything in between to continually update my knowledge of product. My most favorite recent discovery was the Daltile showroom on Utah Street, I was pleasantly surprised by the layout, product offering, and pricing.
What inspires you the most about Interior Design?
What makes me happiest about being a Residential Interior Designer is having clients who are thrilled with the outcome of their project, and love being with their families in a home that we worked so hard on putting together. But, in a broader sense I’m inspired by the amazing talent that is working in the industry, and the beautiful projects that you get to see in the shelter magazines. Oh, to be able to visit each one in person, and be surrounded by such beauty! That would be a dream come true.
Were you very involved in the Interior Design Student Club when you were a student? What did you get out of it?
I was involved in the Student Design Club as a member, and would participate in events. However, between studying, establishing, and running my business, and being responsible for a young family, it was difficult to do much more. I’m finding I have more time free to participate with student activities guest speaking now that I have finished my studies.
What do you love most about the Interior Design Department at Cañada College?
Being able to tap into the knowledge and experience of the instructors was a gift. They know so much about the various aspects of Interior Design and always have something to offer or teach. Having a great bunch of motivated students was super too. Everyone was there to learn and be inspired.
Do you feel the Interior Design Program at Cañada College prepared you for your career in Interior Design?
Without a doubt! The subjects provided a great foundation; the extracurricular activities extended your knowledge, and having speakers come in to be able to talk to was excellent.
What is next in your career?
Building my business, improving the way I operate and hopefully taking on a staff member or two is in my next 5-year plan.
What advice would you give to current Interior Design students at Cañada College?
Ask questions to find out what you don’t know, continually learn about things that interest you within the industry, meet people, read blogs and magazines, go to show rooms, join the industry associations and go to product seminars. You have to make it happen by working hard, knowing the industry, and thinking about and planning what’s next. Most of all don’t be afraid to try something new, especially if it’s something that you’re passionate about!