Q&A with Project Manager Alina Dolan

Project Manager - Interior Design FloridaAlina Dolan, our project leader and interior designer, uses inspiration from clients and travel to add personal touches to each space — honing in on her client’s desire to create one-of-a-kind designs. We interviewed her to get an insider’s perspective on life as an interior designer.

What is your design background? What degrees/certifications/accreditations do you hold?

Graduated from Florida State University with a BS in Interior Design

How long have you worked at Collins DuPont? What roles have you held?

I have worked at Collins DuPont for 14 years this summer. I was originally going to school for Sports Broadcasting and worked here over the summer one year. I liked it so much I took a year and a half off to make sure this was something I really wanted to pursue. I fell in love with it and changed my major. During my year and a half off I worked as a Design Coordinator. After Graduating from FSU, I moved back to the Naples area and started full time at CD again as a Design Coordinator. Then I became a Design Assistant for several years and eventually a Project Leader/Designer.

Who is on your design team and what are their positions?

Taylor Smith is a Design Assistant and also Florida State alum.

Kayleigh Riley is a Design Coordinator, with a degree from Florida Gulf Coast, who worked with us almost three years. She left to pursue opportunities in a different field, but missed the design life and rejoined our team last year.

As a Lead Designer, what does your day-to-day look like?

This is one of the absolute best things about being a designer, no one day looks like the next, which I love! It keeps you on your toes and keeps the day-to-day interesting. One day I’ll be head down creating tile designs and the next I’ll be on a delivery or an electrical walk through. I could be surrounded by fabric pulling together different schemes or working to select paint or furniture. There are always presentations, phone conferences, client meetings and more commonly now tons of Zoom meetings. These are just a few examples. All our jobs are on their own schedule and what stage each home is in dictates what a day and week will look like.

What is your favorite room to design? Why?

I honestly don’t have a favorite room to design. That’s part of what makes this job so interesting. Each room, each client each individual space gives you a totally unique new canvas to create something special. There is no monotony or redundancy.

What do you see trending in 2020?

I think most designers dislike this question. That being said here are a couple of my thoughts for this year.

  • One trend across the board is with the pandemic and stay at home orders everyone’s eyes have been opened to how important feeling comfort and happiness in your individual space is. It shows just how meaningful an investment in your home really is and people are beginning to act on this.
  • There has been zero travel and no markets to spot new trends in 2020, plus many companies have held out on new introductions hoping to launch them in the fall instead. This makes discussing trends in 2020 hard to discuss.
  • Karl Lagerfeld said, “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.”

There are so many components that go into interior design? What is your favorite aspect and why?

  • I love the personal relationships we develop with each client along the way. I love helping them take their wants and needs and helping it blossom into something they didn’t know could be possible.
  • Delivery day is always wonderful experience. You finally see all the time, energy and creativity you have invested into something come to life right before your eyes, which is so fulfilling. And walking the client through their new home for the first time is such a rewarding experience.
  • “The best rooms have something to say about the people who live in them.” – David Hicks

Where do you draw inspiration from when you’re beginning a project?

The initial inspirations always comes from speaking with the clients and learning what they want from their home and what’s important to them. It’s our job to create a special and unique space that reflects their personality and lifestyle. From there I think color schemes are the best area to work on, because they create the mood and character for a home, evoke emotions and set the tone for spaces.

In your eyes, what is one of the biggest misconceptions about interior design or working with an interior designer?

That our job is glamorous and easy. All we do is point at things and make them pretty. There is so much more to it that that. The end product may be glamorous, but the road to get there is not. Its not just picking things, we DESIGN cohesive spaces! We CREATE moods. We do ceiling details, tile diagrams, cabinet designs, elevations of wall details and more. Then we IMPLIMENT and EXECUTE the designs.