About Me

I am a professional interior designer with 30+ years of experience. I am also an interior design educator. I have dedicated the past 30 years of my life to my chosen professions. I am concerned that the interior design profession is mired in a severe identity crisis that keeps it from becoming the preeminent profession for the design of interior environments. Yes I believe that we have the opportunity to achieve that status. Call me a dreamer.

My comments on this blog are made independently of my professional affiliations. I must state this as I will be posting controversial comments that may, or may not, be shared by my coworkers, the institution that employs me or any professional organization that I may be a member of. Fortunately this is in fact my day job.  The profession of interior design and it’s struggle to define it’s position amongst building design professions is a scholarly interest of mine. Here is a link to my academic vita and professional/academic portfolio (give it a minute to load…there are lots of big words and fancy pictures)


With that I have probably given you more info than you need. However, I hope I have proven that I may actually know what I am talking about. Whether you agree with it or not is up to you.  I welcome any and all comments that relate to this topic. Again, this blog is not associated with any particular organization or professional entity -it is wide open 1st amendment territory.

I am not always right (wait I am wrong about that ;-). I may be off color and off base. Call me a visionary or call me an A-hole. It’s a free country.  I just want to get this discussion going.

Thanks for visiting

P.S. I posted this on another blog. I think it succinctly states my position on the licensing of interior design;

……………………..I will just disagree that “registration and licensure to make it clear to the public that there is a difference between Interior Design and Interior Decoration”. Again I think you are putting the cart before the horse. We cannot expect/demand government regulation without garnering the understanding and respect of the public (and vis-a-vis our policy makers) first. It is not the government’s job to tell us who is qualified and who is not- who can call themselves an interior designer and who cannot. No amount of government regulation and  bureaucracy is going to force the public to change their opinion of our profession. I AM NOT AGAINST GOVERNMENT REGULATION. But at best it should be considered as just one component of a focused, collectively supported and strategic public relations campaign not a means to an ill-defined end

P.P.S. I don’t tweet so if you need that level of connectivity I can’t help you there.


  1. Hello, I was fortunate enough to come across your blog a few days ago and started reading through the articles. Though I am not an interior designer (I am director of programs for a continuing education company that has been serving the continuing education of interior designers since 1992.), I am in contact with interior designers every day. I agree with you and think the interior design profession is not only dealing with the current economic downturn but is – more importantly in my opinion – dealing with a – first and foremost internal – identity crisis. It bothers me to see such an important profession lose credibility simply for not being able to answer and communicate on a simple question: “Who are we?” At any rate, I could go and plan on doing so on our blogs (http://info.designarts.net and http://dna.designarts.net). Hope I can help get the discussion going.


  2. Mike, thank you for the discussion. Design is so broad and varied – sometimes I think we need a lifetime to gather the experience, knowledge, and sensitivity to give it the depth and relevance it deserves.


  3. I’ve come across your comments within the LinkedIn Discussions and have found your arguments to be very well thought out and arcticulated. I agree with you on many levels regarding defining our profession and bringing awareness to the public about how our profession impacts the world around us. Sometime it feels though as if I’m “preaching to the choir”. How can we educate the public…those beyond the A & D community?


  4. Hey Michael! I found your blog when I was searching google for ID residential vs commercial. I have been reading through your posts like crazy and really been enjoying them. I am a ID student here in Oklahoma and I love design and I want ID to be my profession. I relate to the frustration ID professionals feel in regard to being labeled and perceived by the mass public as merely decorators. What I also find very frustration are the preconceived notions people have about ID when I tell them I am going to school for ID. I say “yes I am a male, yes I am straight and no I wont help you pick out a new sofa”. I make a point to always educate anyone I meet on the qualifications and design intent of the individuals who are professional interior designers, Thanks for sharing your voice!



  5. I happen to find your website while tring to find an answer to my question. I would appreciate an opinion from an experienced designer like you. My question is “is an odd window better than non in a bathroom?” No privacy issue to the backyard but because of how the roof comes down to that area, the window will only go from on top of the bathtub to 5’3″. Thank you for your time.


  6. I never understood why people would want a window in the bathtub. Too hard to clean. Go with “non”.

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  7. Your blog is fab!!! I am a 40 year old attorney disenchanted with my career and I am considering going back to school b/c I love interior design and I feel it is my passion. I can’t afford to quit work and go to school full time and I’m married with two kids ages 5 months and 2 yrs old-so I’m very busy. Would you advise someone in my position to seek a bacherlor’s degree or an associate’s degree. I would eventually like to have my own business focusing on residential design. I’m soo conflicted about the approach I should take since this is a second carrer for me and I don’t have a lot of free time. I appreciate your advice. Thanks!!


  8. Cozetta if residential design is your focus and passion and given your time constraints I would suggest the AA degree route. If you told me that you really wanted to practice in the commercial realm designing hotels and restaurants then you would need at least a 4 year ID degree. Depending where you live there are lots of good 2 year programs there may even be some art and design schools that may offer good night classes and more flexible part time schedules. I would be glad to steer you to the right resources. Good Luck and Thanks for the comment


  9. Hi Mike,
    I have a masters’ degree in Architecture, but my passion is interiors. I have worked quite a bit in this area of the field, through various positions I’ve held, but I would like to work exclusively in interiors. Do you know of any way that I can call myself an Interior Designer legitimately, without another 3 year bout in school? Thanks for your thoughts.



    1. Wow good question….If you have not taken the ARE then I would suggest that you sit for the NCIDQ. Depending on your experience you may qualify to sit with little additonal effort- you can start confirming that here;

      HOWEVER….legally you can call yourself an “interior designer” unless you practice in Washington, D.C., Nevada and Louisianna- If you are located there I would check with the state/district regulatory board. Pretty much anywhere else the- title is fair game. Of course if you want to be legitimate it will help to have the NCIDQ credential. Hope that helps- Let me know if not.


  10. Hi Mike,
    Just found your blog- good stuff. I’m in the same boat as Hope- architecture background, but also many years working in interior design (residential mostly) and related fields of furniture and product design as well as teaching. What is your opinion of IDEC and the IDEX exam? Is it reputable? respected? How does the CID stack up to NCIDQ?


  11. Hi Beth- I take it you are in California too- Seems there is some credential confusion out there. I will try to help. The CCIDC is a quasi-non-profit-non-governement entity that administers voluntary regulatory standards via the IDEX exam. I have not taken the IDEX but understand that it is modeled on an older version of the NCIDQ. As to how it stacks up to the NCIDQ that is a loaded question. The NCIDQ is the standard minimum exam for all 25 states that regulate interior design except California. IDEX is only accepted officially in California. Read between the lines. IDEX/CCIDC claim that it needs its own exam because California Building Codes and Title 24 make it unique. There may be a few earthquake related quirks but come on. Also it appears that the requirements to sit for the IDEX are more…let’s say flexible…than the NCIDQ. Again read between the lines.

    If you stumbled on my diatribes regarding ID regulation in California (read the many comments too) you are aware that another group the IDC-CA is pushing for state regulation via the NCIDQ. From what I understand this group feels that the CCIDC voluntary regulation is not all it is cracked up to be if one want’s to pull permits or be “licensed” akin to other licensed design professionals. Hence the pushback by the California AIA- Read into that as well.

    In short I would stick with the IDC-CA vis-a-vis NCIDQ effort. Hope that helps.


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