If you have an hour to waste here is a PODCAST of an internet radio show by Diane Plesset. Her guest last Saturday morning was the head of the Interior Design Protection Council Patty Morrow.  Click on the January 22nd link- skip the first 6 minutes.  Ms. Morrow continues her one woman campaign to de-professionalize interior design.  Wow….just head shaking wow.

P.S. Please read the comment from Ms. Plesset and my reply.


  1. I fully support Ms. Morrow in her fight against all legislation, for many logical reasons. Respect of our profession cannot be garnered through legislation. Respect must be earned on an individual basis. Name-calling, wild accusations, and vague references do nothing to increase the respect for our profession by consumers.
    Please keep in touch with my website, and call in next time Ms. Morrow is a guest, if you wish to have a factual discussion with her about legislation.


  2. Ms. Plesset with all due respect I am disappointed that you would support the efforts of the IDPC to de-professionalize your profession. What you may not realize is that I do not support government regulation of interior design as a means to define professional status or right to practice. READ THAT AGAIN-
    I actually agree with Ms. Morrow on that point albeit for different reasons. But that is where any similarity in our personal platform ends. The problem with Ms. Morrow’s efforts is that in her zeal to combat the use of government to regulate our profession she is maligning and denigrating the very foundation of the profession. Had she limited her quasi-libertarian campaign to denounce the legislative/political aspect of government regulation of professions only, I would have no qualms with her. That is her right and I respect that. But since she has chosen to cast her net of aspersion over the entire professional domain I have an issue with that and I am surprised that you would buy into and support that effort. Ms. Morrow is also quite adept at sidestepping the semantic issues of interior decoration and interior design. There is a significant difference and she is quite adept at obfuscating those occupational boundaries.
    Furthermore she obviously has a large chip….rather her shoulder appears to be missing… regarding ASID and its legislative efforts. I believe the Institute for Justice wisely limits its deregulation efforts to the legal/political aspects only. Although the whole Evil Cartel thing is amusing I think that analogy could apply to any professional organization or society that supports government regulation. I am sure this is boiler plate legal posturing for the IJ. Unfortunately this is a personal mission with Ms. Morrow and she has proven that it is far easier to bitch and moan instead of work to improve what she sees as an injustice.
    The Institute for Justice has been very successful in their efforts to protect the term and the practice of “interior design”. To my knowledge none of the states which currently regulate the title or the practice of “certified” or “registered” interior design in a non-commercial setting limit one’s right to call themselves an interior designer or to practice interior design. That battle has been settled- I guess Ms. Morrow did not get that memo.
    Finally I must say that the more Ms. Morrow touts her campaign of misinformation name-calling, wild accusations, and vague references on programs such as yours the more it provides focus and empowers those of us who wish to actually improve the public’s perception of your, and my, profession.
    Thanks for your comments.


  3. Patti Morrow is hardly a “one woman” fighter for the rights of independent interior designers like myself and countless other independent interior designers across America. We are rising up to fight back against you and your pursuit to create a cartel. Patti is a leader in our fight to expose your selfish desires to hijack an industry. What frightens you is that the masses of independent designers like Patti out number you and we are exposing your desire to try to decimate our small businesses through regulation. Take heed, Patti used to show up and stand alone! Patti Morrow now has an army of independent designers behind her!


  4. I am a structural engineer, a licensed and state regulated professional in the construction industry. It is pretty obvious that what I do has life safety consequences. My education is standardized, the codes I use are written nationally by my peers and the testing as well. This is true for the architects, contractors, electricians, plumbers, tile installers, material manufacturers and all products and those who build them. This is how life safety is covered. Interior design or interior decorating, however you want to classify it, is a gift. You can throw big words around all you want, but whether you are selecting tile, flooring, and fixtures or you are selecting furniture, carpet, and window coverings, you are still using a skill-set that does not need regulation. With all of these organizations making power plays to make their certification, registration, or new code book stand above all others, it is obvious the answer is none. Truth is, if you are doing elements of design that would require knowledge that come comes from a code, you are probably doing someone else’s job. Let’s stop all this wasteful discussion about regulating interior design so that the legislature can get back to their jobs.


    1. Hey Jeremy who cuts your hair? Who cleans your teeth? Who keeps the books for your company? Who is your legal counsel? Who sold you your home? How does it feel to be a schill for the angry decorators?


  5. Thank you, Mr. Fellows, for your valuable insight, and your position against interior design legislation. While the interior design profession includes a wide range of titles, career descriptions, and responsibilities, there is absolutely NO evidence that legislation is needed to protect consumers.
    One point of clarification, relating to your comment, “…if you are doing elements of design that would require knowledge that come comes from a code, you are probably doing someone else’s job.” As a bath-kitchen designer, I regularly do projects that include structural changes, and every project is affected by codes. In 25 years, I’ve never worked on a building or remodeling project where structural changes are involved without a structural engineer as an important member of the team. I work hard to comply with all of the codes, and work hard to educate my clients about the reasons why we must follow the codes and engage a structural engineer for their project. I also work to maintain the highest level of product knowledge relating to bathrooms and kitchens — maintaining a balance between creativity, knowledge, experience, and professional standards.
    The foundation of my career is believing that professional standards adopted by individuals garners more individual and collective respect for interior design than legislation could ever achieve. Respect must be earned, it cannot be legislated.


  6. I agree with Jeremy and appreciate his support. As designers we cooperate as a team with engineers and architects. There is NO gap in protection to the public. This design regulation that this cartel seeks has nothing to do with health and safety. The lack of evidence that the ASID (and all of the other nefarious names of the coalitions they hide behind) is not a heartfelt concern for the public…they want to eliminate their competition. They want ALL the money! We as small business owners are mad as hell and we are uniting behind Patti Morrow to organize and fight back on a national level. The ASID (and insert coalition names) now look like a band of gypsies trying to sell snake oil.


  7. Designer Extrodinaire Avatar
    Designer Extrodinaire

    I think the thing that irks designers most about Ms. Morrow is that she perpetuates the stereotype that interior designer (and decorators) are airheaded bimbos that lack the intellectual capability and desire to receive a higher education degree, pass an examination, and provide a useful service. This stereotype is evident in Mr. Fellows extremely naive post above. Interesting though, why is someone with such a high degree of skills and credential perusing a blog for lowly interior designers??? Hmmm…Looks like someone put him up to this….COMMERCIAL INTERIORS RULE!!!


  8. Dear Ex… Bimbos? Hardly? Thump your air filled chest some more… please! Every time you attempt to argue your case it falls apart because you don’t have ANY evidence (remember your battle cry that there is a great threat to the public) you and your cronies resort to name calling. You lack the facts to back your claims up. I do not see an educated group of civil servants who labor philanthropically on behalf of the public at large. I see only the sophomoric antics of thugs who want to over run the pockets of consumers.
    Your “RULE” belongs on the Jerry Springer show.
    I am signing off now in order to properly work with my happy and safe COMMERCIAL INTERIOR design clients that require my attention.


  9. Designer Extrodinaire Avatar
    Designer Extrodinaire

    Yep, bimbos and if you do not see it, you are blind to it. Battle cry? Cronies? Thugs? Really? Are these names necessary? Guess what I’m not in ASID, IIDA or the like. Just a regular, ole interior designer here. I spoke with a plans reviewer a while back and he wishes that Interior Designers had licenses in his state because often times he gets plans from ID’s and they are crap (but yet he does get this from some arch’s as well). HUGGS!!!


  10. DE thanks for the input but you’re wasting valuable brain cells. Let me waste a few here. What part of regulating “certified” or “registered” interior designers is such a concern for interior decorators and those interior designers that feel they have a birthright to the title? If you want to practice as an “interior designer” or a kitchen and bath designer there is nothing stopping you- have at it. But if you want to call yourself a “certified” or “registered” interior designer then you will have to earn that right. Most importantly it is a choice and if you choose to not pursue certification or registration that is your free choice. As I said earlier you won the battle for the title “interior designer”. You angry decorator types have gotten so worked up by getting shunned by ASID for riding their coatails that you can’t see beyond the foam around your mouths.


  11. Plesset said “Respect must be earned, it cannot be legislated.” Wow I actually agree with you there. However I do believe that certified interior designers are just as qualified as any architect to design and accept liability for many types of interior space. For us to be beholden to the oversight of another licensed professional for work that we generally perform is unjust at best and unethical at worst. This is really not a battle for respect but for turf…at this point the AIA may have the upper hand but that is slowly changing. Now if the angry decorators posing as interior designers would just get out of OUR way we will be able to earn that respect you mentioned.


  12. Michael:

    It’s time for some civility in this debate about Interior Design Legislation, Licensing, and what constitutes a “Professional” Interior Designer.

    You claim that you are not in favor of legislation. Perhaps. I think the truth is that unlike ASID, you’ver come to realize that Interior Design Legislation is dead.

    Why is Interior Design legislation dead?

    I would argue that it’s because “decorators” and the “Allied” members of ASID don’t appreciate being “trashed” by the so called “Professional” members of ASID and educators at the NCIDQ/CIDA endorsed Interior Design colleges.

    Patti may be the Sarah Palin of the anti-licensing movement, but there a lot of very professional designer/decorators who agree with her and appreciate her efforts.

    Michael, most of your former students (especially the students that graduated in the last few years) are probably unemployed or not practicing Interior Design as you define it.

    The successful “decorators” in the marketplace are probably hiring. So you should show some respect to the employers who might be hiring your students. After all, your students decided to study interior design so they could get a job and start a career. And it might be some “Decorator” who gives them their first job allowing them to persue their dream of becoming a “Professional” Interior Designer.

    I realilze that the NCIDQ/CIDA schools are unable to train their students in the “art” or “science” of Interior Decoration. Why, because it’s mostly natural talent and the rest can only be learned in the marketplace working with real clients, with real budgets who want real products. You make a serious mistake dismissing “decorating” as pillow fluffing. It’s a serious busines with serious and demanding clients who are spending serious amounts of money on their homes and businesses.

    ASID and IIDA need to realize that the battle over licensing is doing serious damage to the industry and the students they claim they are trying to help.

    It’s time we all got along and respected each others skills, talents and education.


  13. Wow Michael Palin wink wink nudge nudge…….check it out;

    Interior Design legislation is not dead!
    It is evolving and it is doing so mainly because of the anti-regulation effort THANK YOU very much! We (and I use the term loosely) have acquiesced on the ownership of the term and the practice of “interior design”. It now appears that all state efforts are careful to craft legislation to regulate only “registered” or “certified” designers. Those that want to continue their occupational flings as “interior designers” are free to do so. WHAT PART OF THAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?-That Parrot has ceased to exist (for those of you not getting the Monty Python innuendo’s I apologize). Stumped for an answer Michael? Let’s think it through here- One key tenet of the anti regulation side is your claim that there is no evidence that interior design needs to be regulated and that the general public has the capacity to determine who is qualified and who is not. So why don’t you interior decorators, who CHOOSE NOT to validate your professional standards via education/experience/examination prove to us that this model is in fact successful. Is it that you are afraid that when a client does compare an interior designer by birthright and an interior designer that is “registered” or “certified” the client may in fact lean toward the individual who actually EARNED those credentials? That is not a rhetorical question Mr. Palin if you return I would love to hear your civil response.

    Ms. Morrow unfortunately has set the bar for civil debate on this subject in the sewer. She makes Sarah Palin a candidate for sainthood.

    Also please do not waste your time telling me about my students. Unless you are one of them you can offer your opinion but that is all it is. Bring me some facts.

    You also said “I realize that the NCIDQ/CIDA schools are unable to train their students in the “art” or “science” of Interior Decoration”. Science of decoration? Wow that’s news to me. If that is the case then why are you so afraid to call yourselves interior decorators and start your own professional society? Oh wait you already have
    So why don’t you stop impugning our professional advancements and put your effort into your own? How about it?


  14. Students of Mike Avatar
    Students of Mike

    Let’s hear from the students of Mike!

    Are you working or not?

    If you are working, are you working for someone who has:

    -a degree in Interior Design from a CIDA school?
    -passed NCIDQ?
    -a licensed architect?
    -a Hollywood or Washington DC Decorator to the “Stars”
    -Pottery Barn or West Elm


    1. Well SOM what’s your point?


  15. I listened to Ms. Plesset’s podcast interview with Patti Morrow. From that conversation, I do agree that interior design is special because it is a diverse profession with individuals from many different backgrounds. This has been my initial experience in the real world and this was also understood while I was in school under Professor Dudek’s direction. If you are interested, I worked for a licensed architect for a few months and now do window and retail display work in New York City. (TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS WITHIN THE INTERIOR DESIGN PROFESSION)

    It is silly that the legislation issues brought forth in the podcast and on this blog are so highly debated. I believe the IDPC is intentionally blurring the lines and making the issues confusing—this is probably because they are trying to stall the legislation for as long as possible because, once again, money and business (rather than consumer protection) are the issue. I moved to New York in June 2010 immediately after graduating in May with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. I attended an IDLNY meeting at the New York School of Interior Design to see what it had to offer and ended up getting a close dose of Patti Morrow in the process. The funny thing is that she definitely had a band of individuals present to support her, but her opponents who realized that she misunderstood the goals of the meeting mocked her efforts.

    As I understand it, earning the right to call oneself a “certified” or “registered” interior designer serves a greater purpose than protecting health, safety and welfare of consumers. It does not, however, position the market so that residential designers, interior decorators and small-scale commercial designers are left out of the circle of revenue. I believe the legislation efforts exist, or yearn to exist, to serve a small number of those in a particular sector of large-scale commercial design. It helps the Gensler’s, Perkins+Will’s, SOM’s and other large and small firms with a number of issues. For example, a record of examination and an education from a celebrated program proves that the job candidate is knowledgeable and capable of handling the workload. I agree that many consumers probably don’t care about their designer-of-choice being registered or certified. But I definitely think the Coca-Cola’s, United Nations, and Bank of America’s look at these credentials. I don’t think Patti Morrow or Diane Plessett would be interested in working for those firms, nor would they be interested in many of their large scale and widespread projects and clients. Quite frankly, after viewing their websites I don’t think they have the design and computer skills either. So what’s the big deal? (Go ahead, tell me I’m naive.)


  16. I am a former student of Mike’s, I have been practicing for 5 years and work as the Senior Interior Designer for a successful architecture firm in Colorado. I am NCIDQ Certified thanks to my excellent CIDA accredited education and work experience. I manage multiple projects with more square footage, bigger budgets and more complex programs than any residential designer could imagine.

    I may have been born with the ability or “gift” to pick out colors but my job is WAY more than that all of which I learned through education and experience. I would love to see any of you come and do my job for a day!


  17. Former Student 2 Avatar
    Former Student 2

    I am also a former student of Mike’s and have been practicing as a Certified Interior Designer for 5 years. I work in the healthcare industry where it is imperative that you have the correct knowledge base to design such complicated facilities. Please tell me what “interior decorator” is going to know how to select the right finishes for areas that require infection control and how to prevent further injuries to patients. There are strict code requirements and healthcare regulations that must be followed and that is not knowledge you are “born with.” Certified Interior Designers have a vast knowledge base to draw from and that is why my clients choose to work with a Certified Interior Designer and I have been told as much on many occasions. For those of you who do not take my profession seriously I want you to take a look around the next time you’re at a hospital. An Interior Designer has had a hand in everthing you see from the placement of the equipment to the lighting over your head. We don’t do it alone as we work with other LICENSED professionals to achieve the final product but we are an integral part of making a facility functional and comfortable. Licensing and certification of the Interior Design profession is important and it’s going to happen whether you like it or not!


  18. […] Thanks to our former students for responding to the angry decorator comments:…  The louder the designers by birthright whine the more we value our effort to earn professional […]


  19. Working in Florida Avatar
    Working in Florida

    I can agree with “deregulators” on one point…residential interior decorators do not need to be regulated. However, that is a completely different profession than “interior design”. Apples and oranges. Arguments against regulation of interior design are naive, reckless and show a complete lack of understanding of what the profession involves.
    I live and work in Florida, a state that has seen its share of natural disasters and the manmade disasters that came from unregulated construction and contractors. The state laws and codes are the strictest in the country for a reason.
    For the PE who wrote above….it wasn’t long ago that your profession was trying to keep architects from being recognized as a legitimate profession. But now they are ok and maybe have something to offer to the project?
    If you want to be an interior designer, then go to school, put in the work experience, take the exam and become licensed to do the work. No one is knocking the talent and hard work of decorators…it is simply a different career.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: