Category: Interior Design Educators Council

The Interior Design Profession-10 Years Gone.

Belated happy 2020……hopefully your vision matches the new year….or is that hindsight?  Well hopefully your vision and your hindsight are 20/20.

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER woke up this morning feeling a bit melancholy and nostalgic ….getting older has a way of doing that to one’s psyche.  Assuming you do not wake up dead, which is a great way to start your day, one begins to question their purpose and meaning and whether their life has left a positive legacy, or any sort of legacy for that matter.  What does it all mean?  Why am I here?  Does anybody really care? Can I snooze the alarm one more time and still make that morning meeting?

Well what do you know this month represents my first full decade of blogging on the very narrow topic of professional code regulated interior design identity.  I do not have a track record of doing much of anything for as long as 10 years so this is a remarkable achievement ( yes this is gratuitous self gratification but it’s my blog).

Happy birthday PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER!  You do not look a post over 300.

lazeramazer

Because I firmly believe a little introspection is important for all of us to appreciate the continuum of our search for answers, and that a lot can change over the span of 10 years,  here is my first post from January of 2010 where my assessment….or rather opinion, of this much maligned and confused profession was broadcast to the world; https://wordpress.com/post/professionalinteriordesigner.com/11

I am actually surprised that my position on the title “Interior Design(er)” has not really changed;

“It is incumbant on the profession, as we have established it, to get it’s collective act together and figure out why and how we are going to correct our path to legitimacy. If we truly believe that we have a right to the term ‘interior design’ then we have a hell of a lot work ahead of us.”

Wouldn’t it be easier to consider another title?”

Carrying on with the theme we have to ask ourselves….okay I am probably the only one asking myself……………….

What has changed over the past 10 years?

I created this blog 10 years ago in the heat of the Institute for Justice campaign to eliminate the regulation of interior design in the State of Florida and eventually nationwide.  At the time, at least in my assessment, there were very few ways that concerned interior designers could inform themselves as to the issues at hand.  ASID and IIDA’s professional advocacy outreach were not not necessarily accessible or current.  To their credit both organizations have since stepped up their advocacy outreach greatly.  Back in 2010, and as an avowed independent designer, I felt it important to at least try to help broadcast the war on ID in Florida to those who cared about such things.   Prior to this blog the best I could do is glean news from the internet, popular media and, what was then, very active discussions on numerous LinkedIn Groups as well as the oppositions blog The Interior Design Protection Council (now defunct).  I also need to acknowledge the efforts by IDEC, CIDQ, and CIDA who expended copious amounts of time and volunteer effort to counter the IJ’s efforts in various venues. In particular I acknowledge Caren Martin whose name and scholarly counters to the IJ’s misinformation campaign, which I have cited throughout the early posts of this blog, should be required reading for any interior design student who wishes to practice at the highest levels of the profession.

FUN TIMES THOSE………

If my efforts resulted in anybody becoming more informed and engaged as to the dire situation our little profession found itself in then it was worth it.  Even if my efforts were for naught it made me feel better about the situation, well worth the cost of this blog.

So in February of 2010 Judge Robert Hinkle handed down his decision on the Locke V. Shore lawsuit in Florida.  See my post from that time here https://wordpress.com/post/professionalinteriordesigner.com/108

With that monumental precedent setting decision the term “Interior Design” and title “Interior Designer” became legally protected by the First Amendment.  In other words we lost the rights to claim the term and title as our own.  Anybody with a pulse can claim that they are an interior designer and that they perform interior design services. And they do….by the thousands.  Unfortunately that leaves those of us who practice in the code regulated realm of interior design in a bit of a quandary.  Are we interior designers with all of that label’s misunderstanding and confusion or are we something else?

In a nutshell the profession of code regulated/commercial interior design has spent the past decade trying to come to grips with this new reality as this blog highlights.

While there have been some wins in regard to our march to legitimacy and parity with other licensed design professionals I remain……..well let’s just say disappointed.

“Well it is a young profession and it is still discovering itself” you might counter.  Hmmm okay I keep hearing that defense thrown about….I have been hearing it for the past 40 years I have been aware of the profession of interior design.  And I know that it was bandied about for at least 30 more before I burst onto the scene.  Here’s a good question for you age conscious types…..Exactly how old does a profession need to be before it becomes legitimate?  Not a rhetorical question folks…..somebody?  Anybody?

So while arguments and excuses against creating a cogent title and a unified voice for the profession of code regulated interior design go on we continue to try to define and codify “interior design” to be what we want it to be. Those of us who do practice interior design within the code regulated realm, and wish to practice at the highest levels of the licensed building design professions, continue to suffer from the ongoing societal confusion brought about by this overly broad occupational label.  For more detail see my previous 10 years of laments on this blog.

At ground level there has been some effort to shift the focus of our identity crisis but whether it is a positive shift or not depends on which side of the label/title fence you sit.  At the professional level our two primary membership organizations continue to “represent” the profession of interior design. Although IIDA has made a strategic shift to be the “commercial” interior design organization.  Whether this is simply a semantic shift or fundamental change in how the profession of code regulated interior design presents itself to society remains to play out……maybe I can be more helpful on this shift in my It Was Twenty Years Ago Today retrospective…..look forward to that sometime in 2030.  Oh boy!

To their credit ASID and IIDA have seen fit to collaborate on legislative advocacy issues both at the grassroots level and at the law/policymaker level.  They continue to invest large sums of money and personnel capital in combating deregulation efforts and those few new legislative efforts that the profession can claim as wins over the past decade (Mississippi, Utah, and a few others).  I am happy to acknowledge their advocacy efforts.  They can also legitimately claim several wins on the deregulation front.  We can only hope that this evolving mutual experience creates an environment wherein the logic of creating one voice and face of the profession becomes obvious and unavoidable.  Let’s talk again in 10 more years.

Additionally, and very unfortunately, on the academic side of the issue many more interior design degree programs have adopted the title “interior architecture” into their program names, diplomas and recruitment messaging.  I see this as nothing but a collective vote of no confidence, by the academy, that “interior design” is a viable and unique identifier.  Another story.

So it really isn’t just me.

What’s my point and what have I accomplished here?

Now you may be wondering…….“Okay PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER what the hell have you accomplished in the past ten years of ranting and pontificating?”  Well I know one thing- I sure as hell am not getting rich off my sponsors here (I have none).  Unfortunately I do not have any evidence that this blog has had any impact on anything.  Over the past 10 years, and as of January 13, 2020, this site has had 97,564 views, 44,590 visitors and 1,504 followers, with much of that activity occurring during periods of contentious legal and regulatory efforts involving the interior design profession.  I suspect many of those views were misdirects but given I do not cross promote this blog, or pay for clicks, I am good with those numbers.  I could search the web for emerging designers, students, policymakers, and academics, who may have Googled this blog for inspiration, or a handy hotlink, but I doubt any of them would bother to cite this blog as a scholarly reference.  I get that.

Also in that time I have answered a few questions from folks looking for information on education and licensing.  But not enough to make me think that I am making an impact.  I have replied to numerous comments on my posts, both favorable and critical, and have enjoyed the banter.  But really has it made a difference?  I doubt it.

Where is this going?

With Ten Years Gone it appears that our march to legitimacy has evolved from defending our profession from the interior decorators claiming to be interior designers to defending our right to practice to our fullest capabilities within the architectural realm.  Our biggest hurdle for the next decade is convincing the American Institute of Architects that we have every right to own our little portion of the built environment and to practice as peers with, or independent of, them and other licensed building design professionals.

Instead of getting beaten up by interior decorators, the architects are now throwing hurdles in our march to legitimacy.  Seems to me this is a perfect opportunity for our professional membership organizations to decide if they want to help define and defend the code regulated interior design profession or continue to play both sides of that well designed and code compliant fence.  Many architects understand our value to society and their practice….unfortunately many of their peers, and in particular their professional organization, do not.  That is the real fight for us.

Certainly gives me something to complain about for the next 10 years or so.

After that all bets are off that we will even have a professional domain worth validating;

https://space10.com/project/digital-in-architecture/?utm_medium=website&utm_source=archdaily.com

There is a big disruption coming and if we are not prepared it will render us irrelevant regardless of how right I am or not.  I hope to be sitting on a beach (somewhere in Kansas I suspect) sipping my daily umbrella drink drenched in SPF 1,000 sunscreen.

Since I started this little bit of reminiscing it would be a waste of time if I failed to ask myself the most difficult question;

Was it worth it?

Well we’re still here aren’t we?

If This Is Interior Design………….

and she is an “interior designer”…… then why would I want to be a “certified” version of this?

https://www.ktnv.com/morningblend/dwg-home-decor-11-22-19

Once again if we, the code regulated commercial interior designers of America, wish to establish a public image that demands understanding and respect we need to do one of two things;

  1. Establish a public messaging campaign that will overcome decades of confusion and misunderstanding of  interior design and the interior designer’s role in the design of the code regulated built environment.   OR
  2. Leave “interior design” to the innately qualified by creating our own unique professional identity* that distinguishes us from “interior designers” by default.

If anybody has a better idea please come forward.

*See Interior Architecture.

P.S. If you think the above popular media piece in the nation’s 39th largest T.V. market  is a rare one-off segment you are wrong.  It is by far the most common public face of “interior design”.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

 

 

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO INTERIOR DESIGN STUDENTS IN THE GOOD ‘OLE U.S. of A.

So this article from the Louisiana State University Reveille came across my screen yesterday;

https://www.lsureveille.com/news/some-lsu-interior-design-students-want-to-change-degree-name/article_05974fc2-01f5-11ea-9f21-170a20137f86.html

First I commend the LSU ID students and faculty for taking on this issue.  Since I somewhat follow this topic I took a moment to understand what the students were actually considering.  Well duh!

They want respect.  Plain and simple and ‘Interior Design” does not provide that.

I get it.  BUT…………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Yes there are many “Interior Design” programs that have adopted the title “Interior Architecture” in response to the same issues you are struggling with.  But that does NOT make it right nor will it eliminate your problem.  Stay with me here…………..
  2. Unfortunately the academic side of the profession of interior design has let the ‘interior architecture” cat out of it’s bag.  It is going to be difficult if not impossible to lure it back in so that we can present a meaningful, unified and independent “interior design” profession that can in fact earn its place among our peer licensed building design professions.  As an academic and an “interior designer” this deeply concerns me. I am glad that you share my concerns.
  3.  I am not so sure that “the terms “interior design” and “interior architecture” are interchangeable” as Professor Campbell states.  At a higher level I agree the nuances are arguable and is much like the line between interior decoration and interior design…mohair fuzzy.  But when one is on the ground actually practicing the design of code regulated interior spaces the nuances become MUCH more complicated and they have serious later career implications. As students it is easy to be short-sighted.  You just want to get a job in a career that you can be proud of….20 years down the road is way off your radar.  It shouldn’t be.
  4. I call B.S. on the justification that “Interior Architecture” is a more common descriptor for our peers in Europe.  Interior design students need to understand context in order to properly develop a design solution so these points should be clear;  North is up and this is not Europe. Prove me wrong.
  5. Be wary of any tacit or direct allegiance with “Architecture” lest you loose your independence and become simply a subset of “architecture” (AKA subservient).  A lot of effort has been expended to create a unique and independent  career path that, while it has its identity issues, still has far more potential in providing meaningful career options for students.  Turning your back on the effort has some very heavy long term implications.  Proceed with your eyes wide open.

Now my most important point for all U.S. based interior design students, who are not enrolled in a NAAB  accredited program in which you are earning a degree that will allow you to take the ARE so that you can pursue state registration as a licensed architect- you will not be able to use the title “Interior Architect”.  Despite what your diploma may state you will still be relegated to practice as an interior designer.  Again I welcome anybody to prove me wrong on that point.

Ultimately students, you can actually call yourselves, and academic programs can label themselves, whatever they want. We can debate the ethics of all of this title nonsense till the sun sets in the East.  It isn’t……ethical.   But when you are in actual practice within a code regulated and professionally licensed design environment titles matter.  Legally.

My final 2 cents to the LSU students and any other current or emerging interior design students is that changing your program name is not the solution.  Your time and enthusiasm would be better spent asking these larger questions of your current academic and professional organization leaders;

How can the “interior design” profession capture the societal respect and recognition that architecture and engineering conveys?

If interior designers are also interior architects, as many argue, then what is the profession doing to address that very thorny title dilemma?

Why is “interior design” constantly thought of as a lesser occupation than architecture and engineering?

What are you doing to resolve the title confusion so that we can be proud of our chosen career path and practice to the fullest extent of our knowledge and skills?

These are not rhetorical questions.  Have somebody tell you.  That is why they are getting paid the big bucks.

P.S. Full disclosure…I just do not want to pay to change my domain name to PROFESSIONALINTERIORARCHITECTANDDESIGNER.COM so stop with the interior architecture talk will ya?

 

 

FLORIDA HB 27 AND THE EFFORT TO DEREGULATE CODE REGULATED INTERIOR DESIGN- 2019 EDITION

UPDATE 5/9/2019

The effort to deregulate the practice of interior design in the State of Florida has been unsuccessful.  In other words Florida Registered Interior Designers have won their fight to remain independent of other licensed building design professionals.

Below is my original post on the subject.

I have noticed an uptick in views over the past couple of days and I hope that it is because the state of Florida is proposing to deregulate the practice of commercial interior design among many other regulated professions.

This is not the first time this movie has been shown.

If you want to see the bill as of 4/4/2019 click here http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/00027

Here is the summary of the bill as it has passed through several committees- Interior Design is addressed on page #9  http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/27/Analyses/h0027e.COM.PDF

As of 4/4/2019 The bill has made its way out of several committees and appears to be headed for a floor vote.  READ THAT AGAIN….THIS BILL HAS INERTIA AND COULD VERY WELL BECOME LAW.  BUH BYE LICENSED INTERIOR DESIGN IN FLORIDA!

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO THINK THIS IS A LOCAL ISSUE – THE PRECEDENT THIS WILL SET WILL BE DEVASTATING TO THE PROFESSION OF CODE REGULATED/COMMERCIAL INTERIOR DESIGN.

Correct me if I am wrong.  I am happy to be proven wrong on this point.  I will update the process as soon as I know.

Here is the link to the video of the Commerce Committee Debate.  It is long but very informative not only in regard to the deregulation of Interior Design but the logic behind the deregulation effort in general. https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/VideoPlayer.aspx?eventID=2443575804_2019041079

If you by chance are a Florida policy maker and are seeking some clarity to the issue let me be brief.

An NCIDQ Certification is not the same as a “license” to practice in a highly restricted code regulated building design process.  Rep. Ingoglia is unwilling to make that clarification and in my opinion is greatly misleading Florida’s policy makers.

Rep. Ingoglia claims that ‘nothing will change” when Florida Registered Interior Designers can no longer crimp and seal their drawing in order to submit them to their respective building departments.  He states and the record shows that

The bill allows interior designers who have passed the NCIDQ examination to submit plans for interior design to a local permitting agency if such agency requires such plans. 

Sure…Mickey Mouse can submit plans for interior design to a local permitting agency but if he is not a licensed/registered design professional, as stated in the International Building Code, the local permitting agency will in no way accept those plans…Even if Mickey Mouse is a NCIDQ Certificate Holder.

THE NCIDQ CERTIFICATE IS NOT A LICENSE!!  Big difference.

Ergo if you take away the Florida’ DBPR’s ability to issue a State License to qualified code-regulate Interior Designers you will put them out of business..or at best they will have to pay an Architect or Professional Engineer to oversee their work and then assume the liability thereof by applying their own seal and signature.

How does this brilliant move expand opportunities?

This is not creating a free market.  It is increasing the Licensed Architects monopolization of the building design permit process.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that most Florida Registered Interior Design Professionals are female owned small business…………

 

How Do I Become An Interior Designer?

If you reached this site because you are interested in pursuing a career in interior design in the United States (or Canada- to an extent) please know this;

  1. This site is not funded or financed by anyone. I am not here to promote any particular interior design degree/certificate program or interior design organization (do you see any ads?).  I am here to help you make informed decisions without any judgement.
  2. I am an NCIDQ Certified Interior Design profession with 25 years of commercial and residential design experience.  I have also been teaching interior design for the past 14 years at a highly regarded 4 year interior design program.
  3. Interior design is a broad and somewhat ill-defined occupation.  It can be confusing and if you make the wrong decision in your journey…it can also be very expensive.
  4. This blog post is focused on getting to the point.  The internet is getting clogged up with a lot of information.  I want to help you cut through it. Even sites such as the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics, while helpful, can be overwhelming at this stage of your journey.
  5. I will provide links to trusted sources so you can explore your options a bit deeper but know you should be on the right path.  Okay ready?

Q- WHAT TYPE OF INTERIOR SPACE DO YOU WANT TO DESIGN?

A) I want to design people’s homes.  I love to watch home make-over shows and videos.  I prefer the more artistic aspect of design and do not want to deal with a lot of technical, or complex, problems.  While I am confident in my innate sense of creativity I also know that some specialization, such as kitchen and bath design, does require some advanced training.

OR

B) I want to design restaurants, nightclubs, high-end retail, and hotels.  I like the ultra creative aspect of glamorous entertainment or shopping spaces but I do not want to get too technical or bogged down with the details.  I do not want to design people’s homes….too much drama for me.

OR

C) I want to design a variety of commercial interior spaces including hotels, retail, healthcare and offices.  I am interested in Architecture and want to help design the interior spaces of larger buildings.  I like technical challenges, working in teams, and find solving complex problems rewarding.

OR

D) I want to design residential and commercial interior spaces that are creative and also help the client live a better quality of life.  I want to make a difference for people of all ages and social levels.  I enjoy working in dynamic and challenging environments with other like-minded professionals.

If you fall on the fence between the above options that is fine.  Read the details and that should help you focus on one path.

If you answered ‘A’

Okay your options are actually pretty wide open here.  You wish to pursue a career in interior design that utilizes your innate creative skills but does not require knowledge of building structures (math…yuk!), codes, standards or regulations.  You are more interested in furnishings and colors than wall framing or floor joists.  More commonly known as interior decoration there is a lot of cross-over into interior design.  At a minimum you will need a baseline knowledge of floor plans, construction and materials.  Obviously the more you know in this regard the more valuable your skill-set becomes.  You may not need to know any advanced computer design programs but, as with any profession, a general knowledge of basic office programs is essential.  Again the more you can offer a prospective employer in the area of technical skills the broader your options.  Ultimately this aspect of interior design requires no formal design education but if you wish to pursue advanced education or certification to elevate your opportunities in this rather competitive aspect of interior design here are several legitimate organizations that can provide much more detail for your consideration.

The Interior Design Society

The National Kitchen & Bath Association

Certified Interior Decorators International

The Home Furnishings Association

A note of caution here.  Since this is the lest restrictive aspect of interior design there is a lot of misleading info on the internet in this regard.  Buyer beware.

If you answered ‘B’

If you wish to pursue a design career that deals with public commercial spaces such as restaurants, hotels or chic retail stores you have two sub-options to consider.

  1. I prefer to be involved with the furnishings and color choices for these spaces and not so much the details or technical aspects.   OR……..
  2. I would like to be involved in the planning and construction of these types of spaces. I am technically inclined and understand that there are many codes, regulations and standards that must be dealt with.

If #1 above describes you then your choice aligns with career path ‘A’ above.  It is possible to find a rewarding career decorating and furnishing these types of commercial spaces without any advanced education or certification.  But your involvement will be limited to those aspects of the project that do not involve building codes  which are typically performed by other licensed or registered design professionals.  Again if you do pursue some advanced education or certification, or demonstrate an affinity for technical skills your options will be greater.  See the links under path ‘A’ above for more detail.

If you answered #2 above then you are beginning to head down career path ‘C’ described below.  In order to practice in any form of commercial architecture or interior design, which must abide by building codes and life safety standards, you will typically need an advanced/accredited education.  Most likely you will also need to validate your baseline knowledge and competency to work in these regulated environments by earning your NCIDQ Examination certificate.  See the links under path ‘C’ below for more details but there is one professional membership organization that will have good information for those who may straddle the professional fence between residential/unregulated design and commercial/code regulated interior design;

American Society of Interior Designers

If you answered ‘C’

Interior designers that practice in commercial spaces that are typically regulated by building codes (does it need a building permit?), life safety regulations, accessibility requirements, and other contractual obligations will need an advanced education, monitored apprenticeship, and a certification via examination.  While innate talent is helpful one must also be able to work on complex problems in a team environment that is driven by time sensitive deadlines.  If this is not your ideal environment then consider career path ‘A’ or ‘B’ above.  One can expect to invest at least 6 years in order to practice at this level of the profession.  Here are some important links to review and consider;

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (accrediting body for interior design college degree programs) I am not in the business of ranking ID programs- you are on your own there.

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (oversees work experience programs and administers the accepted industry standard examination)

The following professional membership organizations also have good “how to become” interior designer information;

International Interior Design Association (commercial interior design focus)

American Society of Interior Designers (residential and commercial interior design members)

Canadians wishing to pursue a career in code regulated interior design here you go;

http://www.idcanada.org/

If you answered ‘D’

Congratulations!  You are here for the right reasons. I commend you.  That said your career path options are a bit more open.  I am going to show my bias here but if you truly want to help people lead better lives or livelihoods, apart from a career in medicine, I am not sure of a better option.  In order to achieve some level of influence in this regard you will want to practice at a level that it is overseen by federal, state and local regulations.  An awareness of various public policies and socio-economic trends will be helpful.  Research, information gathering and problem seeking skills play an increasingly important role.  Hence an accredited education will be important to have any influence. If these topics scare you do not get discouraged.  Again your objective is noble and the profession needs you.  With that you should explore career paths as described by the links under career path ‘C’ above.  In addition you should explore the following human health, and design for social justice links;

Well Buildings (oversees programs promoting building design that promotes human health and wellbeing)

Institute for Human Centered Design

 

So there you have it.  I hope this has been of some help to someone.

If you are still confused or uncertain please let feel free to ask me a question.

Clarifying Interior Design Titles and Labels.

If you attended an educational program that granted you a certificate upon completion- that does NOT mean you are “certified” interior designer.

If you passed the NCIDQ Examination- that does NOT mean you are a “licensed” interior designer.

If you received an interior architecture degree from a CIDA accredited school- that does NOT mean you are an “interior architect”.

If you want to be a “certified interior designer” learn what that means.

If you want to be a “licensed interior designer” learn what that entails.

If you want to be an “interior architect” take the ARE exam.

I do not know how much clearer this can be.   This is not my opinion folks…the above are legally and ethically demonstrable titles and labels that are often applied inappropriately and even illegally.  It is easy to get confused.  If this helps one person figure out who they are, or what they do, then I am good.

You are welcome to ignore the above…but now you do so knowing the difference.

Confused? Feel free to ask.  Disagree? Tell me why.

Thanks for reading on.

Can We Really Legislate or Define Our Way Out of This?

Kudos to Ms. Coryell for taking advantage of her right to promote her business. I don’t agree with her methods but I admire her entrepreneurial spirit.

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