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
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
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
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!