Category Archives: Interior Design

I Love the 80’s

So I posted earlier about having an article proposal rejected by The Interior Design Educators Association Journal because the reviewers thought it was a “puff piece”. Well maybe in their end of the world it was but damn if it didn’t set me on a mission to prove them wrong.


I don’t typically dwell in the past but when I do I prefer to dwell in reality.




There have been some interesting movements recently by professional and regulatory entities to clarify the “profession” of Interior Design and how it is, or should be, perceived by the general public.

First and most significant is this missive from the current president of IIDA, Felice Silverman;

“IIDA exists to provide relevant and meaningful support to Commercial Interior Design professionals and their clients. IIDA promotes the value of Interior Design to business decision makers and to the general public. IIDA stands at the intersection of passion and strategy where Designers create the exceptional environments  that encompass every aspect of the human experience.

 IIDA is the preeminent association for the Commercial Interior Design profession.” (from IIDA membership email)

Note the use of “commercial” interior design in the title.  This semantic shift, while not surprising, is further evidence that ASID and IIDA are not planning on a merge any time soon…within this millenium… long as humanity exists….till the end of time.  This is clearly IIDA’s solution to the age-old identity crisis that the terms “interior design” and “interior designer” have struggled with.  Don’t do “commercial” interior design?- Then join ASID or IDS. Seems easy enough.

Unfortunately there are far deeper implications for such a semantic cleaving of the professional domain.

Second and on a state level is this excerpt from a letter to all Tennessee ID schools from the Tennessee Board of Architectural & Engineering Examiners:

December 26, 2013

Dear Interior Design Program Administrators/Educators:

Re: Use of term “interior architecture”

 At its planning session arid meeting on October 9-11, 2013, the Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners discussed the issue of use ot the term “Interior architecture” by interior design programs. Although the vast majority of programs accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) employ the term “interior design,” a growing number of interior design programs are describing themselves as “interior architecture” programs.
Following discussion of this issue, the Board voted to oppose use of the term “interior architecture” by interior design programs, and instructed that a letter be sent to Tennessee colleges and universities with architecture and interior design programs advising them of the Board’s position. “Interior architecture” is not legally recognized as a profession in Tennessee, and a national exam does not exist for this profession. In the context of the design and construction of buildings intended for human occupancy, the appellation “architect” should be reserved for licensed architects in order to avoid misleading the general public.

While a state level issue the precedent set here by the TBAEE is interesting.  It will be interesting to see if other regulatory boards issue a similar edict to their academic programs.


Even I was unaware that the CID was in the business of “approving” interior design courses. Does this mean that graduates of the NYIAD can eventually become CID CID’s?  (for those of you not up with whole credential acronym thing that would be Certified Interior Decorator Certified Interior Designer)

Of course I am being overdrammatically facetious.

Place hand on head…continue scratching.

P.S. Why hasn’t the Certified Interior Decorators International sued the California Council for Interior Design Certification for trademark infringement? Must be a secret amongst the Cult of CID’s.



Awhile back I posted a notice about an event in Tampa, Florida that I was the instigator of and a co-conspirator.

Yes we held a 25th birthday party for a building.


Crowd of architects, designers, landscape architects, contractors, vendors and fans of Rivergate Tower in Tampa gather on the evening of November 21st to hear a panel discussion and a feature presentation by the building architect Harry Wolf, FAIA

Why would anybody in their right mind do that?  Well I am not of right mind and this is not just any building.  Here is the back story.

Last year I submitted an article to an academic journal on this building, my experience working on it, and the subsequent decline of its interior architecture/design.  Well that Journal, published by the Interior Design Educators Association…(get it “IDEA”…..very clever acronym heh?) decided my article did not respond to their provocation They declined it with such informative feedback as “this is a fluff piece…..”.  Fluff?  Really?
This was the first time in my 9 year academic career that I actually played my professional practice card.  I have been very careful not to rely on what I did as a practitioner to advance my scholarly work.  I wanted my academic work to speak for itself.  As one who has made the transition from practice to academia I can vouch that they are two disparate worlds and it is very difficult to exist and excel while dwelling in both. I have discovered that writing about an actual experience in design that was constructed and assessing that experience is different from writing about a theoretical design construct and hypothesizing what the experience might be like.  I have come to the conclusion that I am better at the former than the latter…at least that is my excuse and I am going with that.

So with that stinging rejection I steeled myself to somehow honor the building and validate my experience as a member of the interior architect of record design team.  The fact that the building had turned 25 and that Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University had nominated it for the AIA 25 year award (since won by Piano’s Menil Collection)certainly added some motivation but there were other reasons for my conviction that this building, vis-a-vis our design effort, deserved recognition.

Controversial in its form but steeped in a level of design sophistication that few sidewalk critics can appreciate the building ultimately won numerous awards and press accolades.  Harry Wolf, FAIA was the architect  and our charge by our client, NCNB Bank (now Bank of America), was to see his vision to fruition-whatever it took.  It certainly helped that we were young, we were energized by Harry’s vision and we were lucky that we were working for a bank….with lots and lots of money.  It was the late 80’s and America’s urban skylines were the battle grounds for high rolling banking and real estate tycoons trying to outdo one another.  What a great time to be a designer.


Harry Wolf, FAIA and Mickey Jacob, FAIA (2013 AIA National President) meet while Mike Dudek, NCIDQ of PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER.COM fame ponders his next move

interior team

The Interior Architecture/Design team for NCNB Plaza with Harry Wolf- 25 years older and still looking good.

But alas the past quarter of a century has taken its toll on the project.  The park-like setting designed by Wolf and renowned Landscape Architect Daniel Kiley has been stripped of its original beauty. Due to a series of insensitive owners the interior of the building has also been derenovated and altered in order to create some revenue out of the shifting tide of tenants.  This is why I took on the role of event planner- to bring attention to what we achieved and what it has become.   However, there is hope that the current owner In-Rel properties will be a better steward of Harry’s vision and our sweat equity. Lots of planets need to align in order for In-Rel to restore the park and the public spaces of the project but hopefully our little soiree in November will help that happen.

Kudos to my cohort Catherine Kreher for her local assistance and perseverance in helping me make this unique event happen.  I promise to start planning for the 50th anniversary much earlier.

Oh and P.S. IDEA Journal……Fluff This!



RIVERGATE TOWER AT 25 ANNOUNCEMENTIf anybody is in Tampa, Florida on November 21st please join us as we gather to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rivergate Tower (formerly NCNB Plaza).

I dedicated about 4 years of my life helping to bring this building to fruition.  This is the source of PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER’S well earned cred.

More to follow.


Looks like the CID’ers in California get four more years to practice…..and four more years to convince state building officials that they are in fact qualified to sign and seal CD’s for limited scope code regulated interior work. 

And that the CID credential is more than just a title.

Nobody cares about signing and sealing work that does not absolve an independent interior designer from hiring another licensed design professional simply to obtain permission to see their work to fruition. 

The requirement for transparency and open meetings was brought on by ASID. So it will be interesting to see how CCIDC and ASID play in the sandbox. 


Is there any limitation on the subject matter of the courses I take?

No. ASID is not imposing any CEU mandates for health, safety and welfare coursework at this time. We encourage you to select coursework that supports your own professional development plan and advances your professionalism as an interior designer.

Is it just me or does it concern anybody that the membership organization that supposedly represents the profession, vis-a-vis the “industry”, does not care to impose some sort of expectation for professional development and continuing education based on the entire reason we can claim that we are in fact a profession?

Hello……KNOCK KNOCK… anybody home?

But then again who am I to FAQ?

Architects vs. Interior Designers vs. Interior Architects

From the Society of British Interior Designers

and from the

Leading Interior Design Company Declares 11% Increase in Cash Dividend


(What Would Ethan Allen Do?)

Offer free interior design service of course.


PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER saw this article on Ethan Allen’s success (the furniture chain, not the statesman) I had to comment;

Ethan Allen Declares 11% Increase in Cash Dividend

DANBURY, Conn. — 

Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (“Ethan Allen” or the “Company”) (NYSE:ETH) announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share, an increase in the annual rate of 11.1%, which will be payable to shareholders of record as of October 10, 2013 and will be paid on October 25, 2013.

Farooq Kathwari, Chairman and CEO commented, “We are pleased with our continued progress and the Board’s decision to increase the dividend.”

Okay I have no problem with Ethan Allen’s success and actually applaud it. But when I read the following boilerplate P.R. bio on the company my ire was raised;

About Ethan Allen

It seems that membership in your organization is all one needs to become an Ethan Allen Interior Design Affiliate

Wow what an honor….members of your organization can contractually obligate themselves to give away free design service in return for a tiny portion of EA’s increasing profits.  Oh and also note that your sister organization ASID somehow is missing from the list of illustrious organizations.  You may want to have your credential removed from that list.  Just tryin’ to keep it professional- ya know.


Introducing New Benefit For Active Certificate Holders

On July 15, 2013 the appellation “NCIDQ” and a unique mark will be available for use as an additional benefit for active certificate holders. After completing the terms and conditions on their MyNCIDQ online account, active NCIDQ Certificate holders will have the option to sign their names “First Name Last Name, NCIDQ” and/or use a unique NCIDQ logo in their professional materials, which may be downloaded from the same online account.  Active NCIDQ Certificate holders are those individuals who are current with their annual renewal payment, and in addition to the benefits already funded by the annual renewal fees, helps support NCIDQ Examination development and operations to maintain the validity and integrity of the series of tests.

Kim Ciesynski, NCIDQ Examination Board President, praises the move, saying “This new option for all certificate holders is a great opportunity for interior designers/interior architects to promote the NCIDQ credential they have worked so hard to earn, and to market themselves as successfully passing the rigorous standards tested by the NCIDQ Examination. The NCIDQ Examination is developed according to credible industry standards and we take great care to maintain its validity.  Therefore, we are very proud of our certificate holders and so pleased that they will now be able to demonstrate that they incorporate the highest standards of health, safety and human welfare in their daily practice. Certificate holders have spent years educating themselves, earning work experience and studying for the NCIDQ Examination.  They deserve the ability to showcase their hard-won and unique achievement.”

The Council for Interior Design Qualification, Inc., the corporate structure that provides resources to develop the NCIDQ Examination, is confident in the skills of those professionals who hold the NCIDQ Certificate, and is thrilled to promote those interior designers/interior architects who are the best examples of what the NCIDQ Examination stands for: health, safety and welfare within the spaces we use daily.

P.S. July 16: When I checked my Google Search results this morning I was expecting to see at least one press worthy item on the new credential. Instead Clare Danes mutters in Vogue that she thought about becoming an interior designer and the blogosphere ignites with joy;

Claire Danes, Interior Designer?

Why Claire Danes considered an interior design career

Would Claire Danes Be an Interior Designer Right Now if ‘Homeland’ Hadn’t Come Along?–homeland–hadn-t-come-along–002810920.html

The NCIDQ credential is a much needed change for the profession but evidently we have a long, long way to go.