I can only assume that IIDA & ASID  & IDEC & CIDA & All state Interior Design Coalitions are aware that Louisiana’s Interior Design practice law is being threatened and that they are working together to one, form a strategy to mitigate negative fallout from this campaign and two, martial a concerted legal and policy effort to address the next ID regulation debacle….because if we do not get our collective professional act together it will happen again…..and again….and after that……

Note I did not say save Louisiana’s practice act.  ‘Fraid to say it may be too late for that.

Inform yourself here;


There is much more to this sordid story than the above video…I assume 2 minutes is all you can stomach.

Okay so fellow regulated interior design professionals…..prepare to get slimed once again.

Who’s next on this hit parade?


Here’s a New Title to Consider

How about Registered Design Practitioner?

I know…..I know….PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER tends to get way hung up on titles and credentials and the semantic implications thereof.  OCD?  Maybe.  Insane?  Duh!

So it appears that the Illinois Interior Design Coalition (IIDC) has introduced a bill in which Illinois Registered Interior Designers, and other qualified Interior Designers, will be able to become licensed as Registered Design Practitioners.  Let’s think about this.

Inform yourself here;

So with that we now have a 5th possible regulated title and credential to deal with…well 6 if you count the old school “Interior Designer”….but who’s counting?

1. Licensed Interior Designer

2. Certified Interior Designer & State Certified Interior Designer where such legislation applies.  California CID’s have a private voluntary system that is unique from all other CID legislation…confused?

3. Registered Interior Designer

4. Commercial Interior Designer  &  now….

5. Registered Design Practitioner

Please note, if you have not already done so, the absence of the term “Interior”.  And the shift from “Professional” to ‘Practitioner”.  Curious solution to the anti-ID regulation backlash and possible conflict with the International Building Code I suspect.  But wow are we ready to disavow the term “Interior” just to get a license?

While I am all for state coalitions doing what they have to to obtain right to practice/permitting privileges for the designers in their respective states I really wish we would all step back, take a breath and figure out what the implications for these semantic machinations really mean for our profession. Maybe it does not matter.  Maybe it really should be up to each state to do what they can to earn a modicum of respect for our right to practice as peers with other licensed design professionals….er um…registered design practitioners. Should we care that we may end up with numerous iterations of our professional identity?

Does it really matter?  Me thinks it does.


For several years now I have been lamenting the lack of a unified and cohesive professional identity for those interior designers who work within code regulated interior environments.  My position has evolved over several years…of endless rants and debates, but ultimately I maintain that we (the code regulated) are much more than “Interior Designers”- at least as society understands the practice of “Interior Design”.  I have gone as far to say that we should do what we can to distance ourselves from this term.  We are not merely ‘Interior Designers”.  However, as long as we try to distinguish ourselves solely by pursuing governmental regulation, that supposedly grants society the collective recognition and respect of our learned and vetted abilities to improve the quality of their lives and livelihoods, we will never achieve parity with other regulated/licensed building design professions.   I get tired of saying this….We have to create this distinction BEFORE we pursue such legal/political recognition.  Let’s assume that our current mode of distinguishing our professional domain from the larger domain of “Interior Design” by use of regulation achieves success on a national basis…it won’t, but let’s just assume for a second that all states recognize qualified Interior Designers from the innately qualified by way of title or practice legislation.  What we will end up with is a collection of Certified Interior Designers, State Certified Interior Designers, Registered Interior Designers, Commercial Interior Designers and Interior Designers. Got it?  Some of us will feel better because of the semantic title twist…some of us may or may not be able to pull permits for our work, some of us will be registered/certified via some quasi-public board with no real right to practice and some of us will just have to settle to be lumped in with the local carpet store sales person who has a flair for color and a title in his/her business card “Interior Designer”. But as I said we will not even get to this level of consistency.

We have numerous state Interior Design (note the reliance on “Interior Design” nomenclature) coalitions many of which work as private support entities for their state boards where Interior Design is legislated.  Currently there are 39 such coalitions…in various stages of activity as far as I can tell only 28 state coalitions exist in states with active Interior Design legislation. Michigan just de-regulated its title act and the MIDC appears dormant, California has a quasi private/public regulatory effort and of course there is a litany of various title and practice regulations in place.  Have I convinced you that there may be a better way?

So I have given this dilemma a bit of thought…..”how do we achieve a critical mass of societal comprehension and respect for our profession that will allow us to effectively pursue our right to practice as registered/licensed design professionals?

We need a National Board of Regulated/Registered* Interior Designers.  There I said it.

* I don’t care what we call ourselves…let’s just stop calling ourselves “Interior Designers”.  Let the Interior Designers have it.  Confused?…..join the club

Now back to my big idea.  I have not fleshed this out, obviously.  I am sure my interpretation is rife with misunderstanding.  I do not know everything about our professional domain particularly on the public/regulated side of things.  Know that I exist in State that may never achieve legal recognition based on the current status quo.  Obviously I have made a lot of assumptions.

So here is a link to a graphic model of how I see the profession of Interior Design currently and how it might look with a National Board.

If you have ever taken the time to do an organizational chart of the profession of Interior Design (sarcasm intended) you know how difficult this can be to represent graphically.  Yes it looks confusing, and I will admit to lots of graphic mis-steps but I hope that you can see the kernel of an idea….a big idea.

While the first inclination might be to compare this idea with the architectural profession (AIA & NCARB) I am leaning toward other examples of private/state regulated professions.  Certified Public Accountants for one.  Obviously I have a lot of work to do to fully flesh my idea out.  But I am more than willing for anybody who has taken the time to hear me out to comment/question for better or worse.

Bring it.


PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has previously posted about Architecture’s image problems.  Because Architecture is, for better or worse, our bastard step-father (metaphorical stretch for amusement only) we need to be mindful that not all is comfy cozy in their professional house.  Indirectly there are lessons to be learned and in this case I believe there is a big opportunity for the Interior Design profession.  But first refresh yourself as to the issues Architects are facing;

While I do not think the image problem that the Architectural profession currently finds itself is new I do think there is a widening polarity in that profession that will make it very difficult for them to overcome.  They may need to implode and start over.  As long as Aaron Betsky and the Starchitect/Artistes as provocateurs are allowed to set the tone, or have a voice in it, it will.  Let’s face it the 1%’ers are the only ones who generally can afford to hire “Starchitects”….we get what is left which is usually value driven and profit motivated.  At our level much of the built environment is managed not by designers but by ‘Project Managers” or “Builders”.  Much of common Architecture, as Mr. Gehry posits, is Shite. While I do not disagree I find it amusing that he is the one to call out the profession in that manner.

There is no question this is as much an economic issue as one of a conflicted and increasingly polarized profession, like society in general.

Back to my point.  Architects have failed on two levels in my opinion. First they have allowed the concept of great (or even good) design to be upended by the Starchitect as Artiste faction.  Yes mind-blowing innovation is important but just because you can afford to do it does not mean you should do it.  And obviously there is a great cost to these “designs”.  The stories of blown budgets on high level projects are legendary.  This Starchitect zeitgeist has lead society to believe that good (or even great) design comes with a high cost.  Consequently this has allowed the bean counters and profit motivated builders to drive the design discussion on the common level.

 Opportunity #1=  Good design should not equate to cost.

Professional/Regulated Interior Designers can help change this paradigm.

Second, and more intrinsically tied to the near interaction of the human inhabitants of architecture (read “Interior Design”), is a constant thread through all of the non-Starchitect’s laments (with the exception of Gehry) that “Architecture’s disconnect is both physical and spiritual” (Bingler & Pederson).  Ultimately much of modern Architecture as we commoners experience, lacks a soul, or as we Interior Design academics (and Germans) call it “Gemütlichkeit”.

Opportunity #2= Interior Designers who are trained to focus on the human interaction with the built environment should claim the mantle of the profession best suited to design interior spaces that improve the quality of the users lives.

How the Starchitectural zeitgeist plays out may take awhile. All I know is that in the meantime the metaphorical door is now wide open- Professional/Regulated Interior Designers need to walk in and make their presence known.

welcome mat

Don’t forget to put out the Welcome Mat though.







How does a profession grow and prosper?

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has been involved recently in several discussions in which the issue of required work experience (AKA apprenticeship) and how to best earn it is the topic.  All professions rely on their members to apprentice under the supervision of established professionals in order to inculcate necessary practical experience that simply cannot be learned in an academic setting.  This real world experience is critical in the formative years of a professionals journey to examination, continuing education, ethical practice and ultimately professional status within the professional domain.

Unfortunately most of the above discussions regarding the experience component of the Interior Design Education/Experience/Examination process are sparked by questions (in the form of complaints) about the lack of supervised work opportunities.

“I cannot find a certified professional to work for-How can I find a job that fulfills this requirement?”  “Where are the certified professionals that I can work for?”

While not a new topic, or issue, it is one that deserves constant attention particularly in light of NCIDQ allowing recent ID graduates to sit for the IDFX component of the examination. A brilliant change in the paradigm but one that creates other issues (AKA opportunities) down the line.

Which begs the question…who is responsible to ensure that we (the profession) have an effective system in place to ensure that emerging professionals can gain this necessary experience?  NCIDQ is by default the agency that oversees the work experience aspect of the path to professional status. They have a voluntary reporting system in place via IDEP

However, if the IDEP candidate cannot find suitable employment and/or supervised experience opportunities a logging system does not help.

So yes this should be part and parcel of NCIDQ’s mission but this is not to say that every other organization within the professional domain should not have some skin in this game.  They should -but frankly I am not seeing it-I refuse to digress.  If nothing else it is simple self-preservation.  We should all be asking ourselves;

“How can we get as many emerging professionals through the experience gauntlet as quickly as possible?”

Well instead of simply citing a fault with the system I have a solution.  I think every newly certified/professional member of our membership organizations should be required to supervise/mentor two emerging professionals from graduation to completion of their work experience. Distance should not be a roadblock given video technology.  Money should be available for those in remote supervisory roles can at least meet with their mentees…once a year maybe in a larger forum such as Neocon……Once this obligation is fulfilled the mentor receives a merit badge, a pat on the back, or they get their picture in the newsletter, or….hell they should just do it.

It should be a routine expectation.  Do the math.

That is paying it forward…..

Image courtesy of


Kudos to John Czarnecki, editor of Contract Magazine, for coming out in a public forum to counter anti-interior design regulation rhetoric.  It’s about time our professional trade journals step up to the profession’s plate to take a swat at these misinformed and confounding missives.

For the most part Mr. Czarnecki got  a base hit….we have a runner on base…Wooo Hoooo!  Okay enough with the sport metaphor.


Mr. Czarnecki’s grasp of the issue and inclusion of opinions from other designers who have also taken the time to inform themselves of the issues at hand is admirable.    His journalistic scolding of Ms. Gowins and her ilk is spot on BUT….(you had to see that coming….) it is a purely defensive act in response to a much louder message that has been haunting our professional advancement for years, much as the previously mentioned rebuttals from ASID & IIDA which IMO are simply too little too late.

It is too bad Mr. Czarnecki was not around in 2007  for the Anti-regulation shot that started the entire Institute for Justice campaign to impugn the profession of Interior Design.

I also appreciate his subtle inference that we need it get our collective act together if we really want to move this debate from the purely defensive/reactive to a position of real progress. Maybe PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER is reading too much into this sentence;

” The rise in television programs about home decorating may have misled some of the public to believe that, well, anyone can be an interior designer. And that may have led to misconceptions about interior designers that manifest in Gowins’s article. While that’s unfortunate, it’s also an opportunity: The article might galvanize the interior design profession to present its case for legal recognition in a more unified way.”

ASID/IIDA/CIDA/NCIDQ are you paying attention?

Now all that said PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER looks forward to see if Mr. Czarnecki plays good on his pledge to provide more insight as to the state of Interior Design legislation. Moreover will he be able to truly address the crux of the ID regulation issue- right to work- without upsetting the architectural side of his readership base?

Until then we should support him as much as possible-SPREAD THE WORD.



At first I was concerned by the misinformation posited by the September 17th Huffington Post article “Arbitrary Interior Design Regulations Hurt Entrepreneurs, Consumers”. Much to our chagrin the Huff post has a pretty broad reach. Hats off to the Institute for Justice and their continued ringing of this bell.
At this point posting comments to this anti-regulatory rhetoric is just pissing in the wind….makes me feel better though. Then there were rumors of an impending rebuttal from ID professional organization ‘A’ -the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Finally 12 days later came
IIDA’s rebuttal issued via their own blog;
Unfortunately IIDA was suckered into the unwinnable debate- what is decoration and what is design. Fortunately their response was issued to its members and not the wider press. Had it been issued as a press release (which it to my knowledge wasn’t) and picked up by the wider press I am not sure any non-designer would have any interest much less be able to grasp the nuances. Hell I know many informed interior designers that can’t explain the difference.
Then ID professional organization ‘1’ the American Society of Interior Designers issue this memorandum to I don’t know who one day later;
While the ASID does a better job dancing around the designer vs. decorator issue there is one closing statement that just does not make any sense to PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER;
“Interior design laws allow designers to sell more products and hire employees as their businesses grow.”
Really…this is why we have been beating our collective heads against the legal/political wall for 30+ years?……So we can sell more product?……
Actually maybe it is a good thing these rebuttals are for a limited audience.

Here is John Czarnecki and Contract Magazine’s take on the issue;