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In conversation with… Adrian Stainsby, design student

Adrian Stainsby always had an underlying passion for design that needed pursuing. We discussed how he turned that passion into a reality.

Adrian Stainsby has always felt “that design itch.” He was working in the hospitality industry fitting out his own cafés, when he realised that it was his true passion. From there he began his course, studying a Diploma of Building Design and Diploma of Interior Design at East Coast TAFE in sunny Queensland.  

He has taken to it like a duck to water and now, only half-way through his course, has been employed in the design industry. 

We chatted to Adrian about his dreams of becoming a designer.



I chose to study Diploma of Building Design and Diploma of Interior Design because building design in particular was what I wanted to do. The more I learned about interior design, and how much of the process was actually structural (and more than simply choosing a curtain fabric), the more I became interested and added it to my studies. 

I was in the hospitality industry and had just sold my third café and coffee label when I knew I wanted to be more involved in designing for hospitality rather than the business side of the industry. Having done all my own fitouts previously, I wanted to to get formal qualifications and potentially branch into commercial and residential design. 

What I love most about the course I’m studying is the more I learn about the CAD Software the more accurate I can make my ideas come to fruition, and that plays a big part in conveying your design ideas to your clients. 



At the moment, I’m working on a new bar/restaurant on the beach in Caloundra, Sunshine Coast, where I’m lucky to be lead designer. The other project I’m working on is a lake house in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. We are doing a full refurbishment and have a great client with a realistic budget. This job will be a highlight for the year. 

In terms of side projects, I am lucky enough to have a job in the design industry after just one year at TAFE, so I’m juggling the final year of my study with office time. I work for a design studio called Zest Building Design, and also do hospitality work on the side. 

My favourite type of project to work on is construction. For me and I think a lot of others, I see the concept as the best part, but I really do enjoy the face to face time with clients and also the construction meetings with builders as you see the designs coming to life. 

I’m currently using Scyon/James Hardie products such as “Inraw”, a James Hardie interior panel,that is being used in bar project in Caloundra. It’s a feature panelling system that sits above all our booth seats and provides a great visual break between our other panelling. 


The Future

My goals for the future are to keep doing what I’m doing. I really love the position I’m in at the moment and in 6 months time, I’ll be finished with my studies and have already been offered a full time position in my current design studio. I’ll keep pushing for hospitality design work and try to make a name for myself. 

I haven’t thought of these past couple of years as studying at all, as I’m researching what I love, and creating places and spaces that I’d want to be in.  

Finally, I would say that if you have that design itch and it’s your passion, sign up to a course and you can very quickly realise that your passion can become your livelihood.