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Interior Architecture Student Applies Graduate Education to Design Business

Nicole Noonan co-runs Beige & Bleu Design Studio while working toward her M.A. in Interior Architecture at the Van Loan School at Endicott College.
Nicole Noonan co-runs Beige & Bleu Design Studio while working toward her M.A. in Interior Architecture at the Van Loan School at Endicott College.

Nicole Noonan’s list of accomplishments continues to grow. In addition to working toward her Master of Arts in Interior Architecture, the Endicott College Van Loan School graduate student co-opened a residential design business and participated in an internship at the Institute for Human Centered Design.

That school-work-life balance has all been worth it, though, as she’s just a few months away from graduating and taking her career to the next level.

“I never could have learned what I did here outside of school,” Noonan said. “The staff here is really helpful. I’ve learned a lot about the creative process and how to push myself as a designer through different classes. We have a lot of theory classes and history classes and other things I know I wouldn’t normally be learning outside of school. With all the professors there to push you to be better and better, I think it’s helped me become a lot stronger as a designer.”

A career in design wasn’t Noonan’s original intent when she stepped foot on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus as a freshman. Instead, she wanted to become a doctor. She quickly found out a career in science wasn’t for her, though, and she switched to communications before graduating in 2015.

Soon after Noonan graduated from UMass, she enrolled at Endicott College’s Van Loan School and co-opened Beige & Bleu Design Studio with her best friend, Morgan Mackintosh.

“We’ve been in business a little over two years now, and it’s been really busy,” Noonan said. “It’s nice to have my classes here and learn stuff and then be able to use it in the field. If I have a question, I always have people here. It’s hard learning to deal with clients at first. It can get a little tricky, so it’s nice to be able to do both at once.”

The Interior Architecture graduate program has been the perfect companion for Noonan as she continues to grow her business. While there is a faster program for students already with a background in design, Noonan is in the longer program for those just starting in the field.

"Once Nicole entered into the interior architecture program, she explored and experimented with both study and practice of interior design, a deep dive of both informed her of her next steps,” Director of Graduate Interior Architecture Myoung Joo Chun said. “She enjoys inspiring and being inspired by classmates and faculty — bouncing ideas and narrowing them to the core through structured and random discussion.

“Her Institute of Human Centered Design internship enables her to confirm what she learned as theories, and consider the broader spectrum of users within her own practice. I am very glad to see that Nicole's journey for the interior architecture profession is reaching its fullest potential."

Learn more about the Master of Arts in Interior Architecture.