What We Have Here…..

Is a failure to communicate.


Florida for years required anyone marketing their services as “interior design” to get a license that called for six years of education and apprenticeship and a two-day exam. That requirement stunned Barbara Vanderkolk Gardner, a mostly self-taught designer who worked on luxury homes in New Jersey—no license required—and wanted to open a practice in Florida. If clients wanted to hire her to pick out pillows, paints and furnishings, Ms. Gardner says, she couldn’t understand why the state would object: “I view myself as an artist, and I don’t think art needs to be licensed.”

Well maybe those who decorate should just call themselves interior “artists”. Certainly would save us all a lot of bad public relations.

6 responses to “What We Have Here…..”

  1. I just read the WSJ piece and of course there are many ‘fact’s not discussed. The confused interior designer who can not work in commerical areas is confused because should she do so she would be breaking the architectural laws first and formost. Everyone seems to want to forget that those laws trump any interior design scope.. So if the ID scope were to have been lost in that case she still could not work there….. confusing? No really.


  2. Thanks Bruce. Unfortunately what Ms. Gardner considers “Interior Design” is actually interior decoration even in a commercial setting. As I have stated the ID Regulation proponents have done a good job absolving the residential decorators and designers from any regulatory burden. Unfortunately the angry decorators haven’t quite recognized that yet and it is a point that ASID/IIDA needs to hammer home. The gray area remains non-residential, public or commercial interior decoration vs. any interior work that may require a building permit-as you mentioned. Unfortunately as proven in the Florida practice litigation, the line between interior design and interior decoration, kitchen equipment design, office systems design and event planning is confusing at best….even to the experts. This is the next battle front. We cannot expect any layperson/press soundbyte to take the time to put all this in its proper context. That will never happen. So we can continue to let the popular media cut the legs from under our regulatory efforts with half baked misinformation or we (ASID/IIDA/NCIDQ) can mount our own PR campaign to better position the profession in an environment with ever increasing resistance to government regulation. My momma told me to never discuss politics or religion with strangers and I know ASID and IIDA are walking a fine line in this regard. But we’re gonna have to talk about it.

    I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of being lumped in with florists, manicurists and hair stylists thanks to the backlash from the ID regulatory efforts. From where I am sitting that is the public’s perception and that just plain sucks for us.

    Thanks for your comment.


  3. If NJ decortor read or understood the requirements, she would also know a residential designer is exempt, in FL and anywhere else that is regulated. Just a soundbyte, that makes news. You are right, when the heck are OUR organizations going to make noise? I have held off paying my dues this year because I am so fed up with the weakness of our political views. Is this not what I am paying for- someone to fight for my profession?


  4. I think they think they are fighting for our profession. Maybe they need to take an 8 count, step outside of the ring and reconsider their strategy.


    1. They have no strategy and a significant portion of their membership is opposed to legislation. The portion that could not re-join ASID because they do not have a degree in Interior Design.

      So why should an Allied Member of ASID go to a local chapter meeting with a bunch NCIDQ snobs.

      If ASID opened their doors to all designers and got out of the legislation business they’d have a much more robust trade organization.

      Go to the Elle Decor Designer Registry and type in NCIDQ. Thousands of Designers but only 4 list NCIDQ.

      ASID is a dinosaur.


  5. The reason only 4 of the “thousands of designers” on the Elle Decor Designer Registry list NCIDQ is because they have chosen not to take the exam. Then why are you guys (& gals) so jealous of those of us that have that you would expend an enormous amount of energy and time fighting our right to choose to take it? And don’t tell me it keeps you from being an interior designer- that dog gave up the hunt about 2 years ago.


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