Food…Er..Um..Drink for Thought

image

Now that things have calmed down in my day job I have a bit of time to ponder.  So it is timely that this little ditty came across my screen and got me to thinking.  Listen to this first;

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/506319408/506401504

Can you see where this is going?……That’s right I am going to milk this story for all it’s worth.  Okay had to work that in there.

“What is your point PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER?”  You ask.

In case you avoided my previous 300+ posts I will give you a hint.  The profession of Interior Design, like the Soy and Almond juice producers who espouse the term “milk” to market their products, are increasingly adopting the title “Architecture”, as in “Interior Architecture”, to describe and market their work.

While “Milk” and “Architecture” differ in may ways…okay there is little comparison (dairy cows could care less, Architects on the other hand care greatly) I maintain that the issue of titles, labels, terms, lexicology and the general semantics of how the profession of Interior Design defines, presents and labels itself is our most important challenge as a profession.

And that folks is no bull.

image= https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ndsuag/Dairy-cows-pict-1.jpg/

WHAT IS AN “INTERIOR DESIGNER”?

If you just Googled that question and ended up here I apologize.  Unless you want to read through my previous 350 posts on this topic I am afraid this post will not come close to answering your query.  Click on the next link.  I wish you well in your search.

Continuing my series on what is “Interior Design” and how does one become an “Interior Designer” the links below represent a one month sample of what the popular press (at least as far as Google Alerts is concerned) sees as newsworthy “Interior Design”.  I  tried to avoid blogs, webzines, 3rd party press releases, and industry/trade press (since only the trade reads their own press).  I really wanted to see what the common press/media interpretations of our professional domain are.

Is it a scientific survey?  No.  But let’s face it….it does not take a rocket surgeon to determine that the common perception of “Interior Design” is not  what we, the professionals who deal in code regulated building design environments, would prefer it to be.  But by default it defines us.

To be clear this stream of thought is not intended to impugn or lay blame on any one aspect of our varied profession.  So stretching that into the multitudes of residential decorators, occupationalist, the self-proclaimed and those DIY’ers innately blessed with a flair for color, I am merely seeking to validate my emerging revelation that we, those who practice code regulated Interior Design services, are not ‘Interior Designers”.  No matter how hard we try we cannot unring the bell of the common perception.  We cannot re-define the public perception of “Interior Design” in a way that societally, politically, and legally suits us.

It is time to leave “Interior Design” and those who legally own that title.  “Interior Design” is a noble and worthy profession and we need to let them be.  We need to stop investing our time and energy trying to change what we cannot and to redirect that energy into a discourse regarding our new identity.   It is time to realize that we have evolved the profession into a hybrid of Interior Decoration, Interior Design and Interior Architecture…whatever that may be. I have danced around this realization for years now. My future posts will be much more direct.

Anyway here are my reseaarch  findings…with some pithy comments interspersed for your entertainment.  And for fans of the new NBC soap “This is Us”….well this is us.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christie-carmelle-lopez/4-interior-design-trends-_1_b_12683242.html

This is the most stylish thing you can buy for your home right now, according to a top interior designer;

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-you-should-buy-a-bar-cart-2016-8

http://www.wtxl.com/lifestyle/consumeralert/angie-s-list-deciding-on-an-interior-designer/article_a8f0aa68-785c-11e6-9da2-2f47002dbf02.html

http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2016/08/interior-designer-and-pillow-boutique-moves-in-as-businesses-shuffle-on-e-pine/

http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/a-seattle-seahawks-running-back-is-also-an-aspiring-interior-designer-081916

First, they can enjoy the new program “Inside the Architects Mind.” According to organizers, “attendees will see and hear in-depth presentations of architect-designed homes” by local experts. “They’ll talk about the process, challenges and offer valuable tips on the home building and remodeling process,” backers say. The Saturday event’s schedule includes Danielle Gilbert, NCARB—Ar-Chi-Tecture, 11 a.m.; Steve Goggans, SGA Architects, noon; Bill Huey, Bill Huey & Associates, 1 p.m.; and Chris Rose, AIA, ASID, Christopher Rose Architects, PA, 2 p.m

And at the same Home Show;

A returning staple will be top local interior designers offering free design consultations. “If you’ve never had a professional interior designer help you create the home you’ve always wanted, you literally don’t know what you’re missing,” Barkley says. Showgoers can count on a 20-30 minute design consultation with interior designers, who volunteer their time. Participants are advised to bring fabric or paint swatches, floor plans, pictures of their home, Pinterest boards and other materials. To make an appointment, call 843-577-7652.;

http://www.postandcourier.com/20160820/160829909/fall-lineup–charleston-home-show-ushers-in-autumn-with-top-notch-designs-celebrity-antique-appraisals-backyard-redo-giveaway–

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article96690252.html

http://www.kansascity.com/living/home-garden/article93523317.html

“Should Adam Lippes ever grow tired of fashion (God forbid!), he’d have an excellent career in interior design. Anyone who has been to his New York town house, which he furnished himself with a refined mix of 20th-century antiques and contemporary art, can attest to that. “It’s a passion of mine,” says Lippes, who often weaves an element of interior design into his fashion collections.”;

http://www.wmagazine.com/story/adam-lippes-fall-2016-inspiration

Consult an interior designer: Even if for only an hour, allow someone in neutral territory to offer bright ideas and help comb through the goods. We always make time and love to work with fun young couples — old too;

http://www.discoversd.com/news/2016/aug/19/small-spaces-moving-in-together/

http://www.craveonline.com/design/1019045-interior-design-trends-on-instagram

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/a63609/celebrity-interior-designers-decorators-secrets/

Not just a nursery interior designer….a high end nursery designer.  Wonder what her definition of “high end” is?;

http://www.laduenews.com/abode/design-speak-q-a-with-elizabeth-baumgartner-of-

http://www.nevadabusiness.com/2016/08/international-interior-design-niche-lands-in-las-vegas-via-norway/ 

Later in life, she launched her own interior design firm, Charmian Carr Design, which counted pop star Michael Jackson as a client….The frills are alive with the Sound of Music…..;

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-charmian-carr-20160918-snap-story.html

little-black/article_13817cc8-a142-53e4-8a62-c53384923894.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/morena-duwe/ann-lowengart-interior-de_b_11185436.html?utm_hp_ref=career–money

Looks like the U.K. has the same dilemma;

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/celia-sawyer/why-interior-design-is-a-_b_12058872.html

http://fox13now.com/2016/07/27/meet-the-couple-behind-the-design-sensation-studio-mcgee/#ooid=RndnR5NDE6gZSLIYMs1pyeEFPaKIRmpE

And of course there is the free interior design service;

http://www.good4utah.com/news/midday/how-would-you-like-your-own-personal-designer-for-your-home

http://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/hiring-an-interior-designer-what-to-expect-from-your-first-appointment/

http://www.wzzm13.com/entertainment/television/programs/my-west-michigan/frequently-asked-interior-design-questions/279807462

“How did you get into interior design? “I’m not a trained interior designer. I studied stone sculpting in [my home country of] Germany”

http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/design-interiors/article/2001231/meet-thomas-schoos-la-based-interior

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/business/2016/07/23/interior-designers-hot-jobs-selma-hammer-designs-robin-flanigan-careers/87220178/

http://www.hamptons.com/Lifestyle/Shopping/22333/INTERVIEW-Interior-Designer-Sasha-Bikoff-On-Her.html#.V5pegOgrJaQ

In this one we are actually confused as “Architects”;

http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/news/20160721/architects-reveal-interior-design-plans-for-new-plymouth-south-high-school

Okay maybe it is China but this is actually the most relevant Pop Press article I have seen in eons;

http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/design-interiors/article/1991331/fast-food-outlets-hong-kong-woo-customers

Yep this is us…;

http://cbsloc.al/2adPtf

http://www.pnj.com/story/life/light-side/bacon/2016/07/12/shop-til-you-drop-these-interior-design-shops/87005232/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-stachelski/design-101-18-pieces-of-advice-from-top-interior-designers_b_8897474.html

http://www.dothaneagle.com/news/business/dothan-interior-designer-has-inexpensive-ideas-for-updating-a-home/article_5184576e-55c2-11e6-8cdf-673f75a2751e.html

http://limaohio.com/news/195821/interior-designer-specializes-in-the-unique

http://www.thetimesherald.com/story/life/2016/07/29/zimmer-designers-becoming-fans-ceiling-fans/87699918/

Whoda thunk “Good Taste” was a legitimate design concept?  Not me……

http://napavalleyregister.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/columnists/deborah-macdonald/elegance-in-design/article_0b5464e3-3a65-57e4-a2f9-a3517f917196.html

“Wildlife motifs are poised to become (a) top interior design trend.  YOU DON’T SAY!

https://www.noozhawk.com/article/animal_prints_bring_a_bold_flourish_to_your_home_decor_20160730

“Christiansen worked as an insurance agent and decided recently to take the plunge and open her own business.”  Never thought of it as “plunge”….;

http://www.wadenapj.com/business/4082263-new-coffee-boutique-shop-open-highway-10

PPPffffttttt!  What the hell?  Why not?;

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/01/kanye-west-ikea-interior-design-aspirations-bbc

HOW DO YOU BECOME AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?

Seems straightforward enough.  I can imagine lots of high school students or 2nd career seekers asking this question.

Of course there are lots of legitimate resources available to those who are curious, books (those things in “libraries” and “book stores”), guidance counselors, friends of friends, etc. But PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER is fairly certain that the world wide intrawebanet is your #1 go-to resource for this query.

So if you Google that question you will be bombarded with 3.6 million options. HOW THE HELL CAN THERE BE 3 MILLION WAYS TO BECOME AN “INTERIOR DESIGNER”?  I digress.

For reference the general query “How do you become an Architect” results in 15+ million hits…but who’s counting?

Visiting and reading all of those sites just overwhelmed me. I made it through 2.2 million but had to take a bathroom break.  So being the hardcore scholarly researcher that I am I went to YouTube to watch a video on how to become an Interior Designer.   Let’s face it, that is most likely how all prospective Interior Designers seek out answers to this question. So my next level of investigation was to see which videos had the most hits.  Because is that not the true test of a video’s legitimacy?  Sorting by viewer count this is the winner with 176,811 views in just under 4 years;

Just to break it down that is nearly 44,000 views per each of 4 years this video has been online.  Kudos to Ms. Robeson.  If you care about such things she has created quite a on-line presence with her decorating posing as design DIY videos.  My point here is not to impugn Ms. Robeson.  Her entrepenuerial skills are quite admirable.

It is clear that Ms. Robeson caters to the innately qualified who wish to claim the title ‘Interior Designer” without consideration for such pesky things like….oh…an education, or an apprenticeship, earning credentials via an examination (of any type) or committing to ethical practice by membership in any one of our many professional organizations.  But that is her right.  She can do that and she does it well.  But 44,000 views per year?  Back to my point.

For those of us who claim the title “Interior Designer” by earning a degree, working as an apprentice, studying our butts off for any number of professional competency examinations and paying copious amounts of dues monies to our professional organizations I wonder how our effort to define that path to the title “Interior Designer” compares.  How do our “How To” videos rate on the viewership scale?  After all do we not want our pathway to status as an “Interior Designer” to be equally recognized?

That is somewhat of rhetorical question because the domain of “Interior Designer” is so broad-much to our chagrin.  Just because we say it is one thing, that does not mean that the public perception of “Interior Design” matches our particular definition http://www.ncidqexam.org/about-interior-design/definition-of-interior-design/.  Try as we might to make “Interior Design” match the above definition PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER maintains (see previous 300+ posts) that we have lost that battle.  But let’s not get too off topic here.  The focus here is how those who seek a career in Interior Design actually find their way through the labyrinth of potential pathways.

So if go to YouTube and type in “How do I become  an Interior Designer?” you will note that not one video represents what we professional interior designers might consider legitimate or professional.  Most are independent DIY’s or for profit schills..ooops sorry I meant “schools”, all trying to persuade the inquisitive to their website.  Actually one of the most informative and relevant videos that tries to answer the basic query was created by an Interior Design student;

Kudos to Ms. Paterson.  She has 26,000 + hits in one year.  Wow.

Makes me wonder why, with all of our resources, that the profession as represented by  ASID, IIDA, IDEC, CIDA, NCIDQ, IDC, CCIDC, IDEX, cannot create a video resource that will help direct the inquisitive down the path to professional status as a “Interior Designer?”.

You know one that matches the Interior Design we proclaim to practice.

Maybe we could pool our marketing budgets and hire Ms. Paterson.

P.S. 8/5/16- Hmmmm.  Here is an answer from Ireland for what it’s worth;  http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/how-to-become-an-interior-designer-1.2745009

P.S. 11/18/16 Here is how to do it in 4 SIMPLE STEPS….http://careerswiki.com/how-to-become-an-interior-designer/#prettyPhoto 

P.S. 11/30/16 Can’t argue with these tips…http://freshome.com/2014/10/13/10-things-you-should-know-about-becoming-an-interior-designer/

UTAH PASSES COMMERCIAL INTERIOR DESIGN PRACTICE BILL!

Utah Senate Bill 0117  which allows state certified Commercial Interior Designers to submit signed and sealed drawings (within limited scope) in order to obtain building permits in that state was approved today.  Yay!

This is the first substantial piece of ID legislation to be approved in several years.

Kudos to IDEAL Utah and their lobbyist Amy Coombs for creating the proper strategic alliances and educating/swaying/cajoling Utah policymakers.   This was the result of a monumental investment of time, effort and perseverance.

With that a precedent has been established.  Utah SB0117 codifies the title “Commercial Interior Designer”.  PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER finds the savvy semantics interesting.  As far as I know Oregon was the first state ID coalition to draft ID legislation using that particular title nuance.  It makes sense to help distinguish our work  in the regulated ID realm…but.

Are we ready to dissect the profession in this manner?  Will we evolve into Commercial Interior Designers and Residential Interior Designers or just Commercial Interior Designers and Interior Designers (my vote)?  Will we need to create Schools of Commercial Interior Design?  Will CIDA need to become CCIDA?  Will the NCIDQ Examination need to become the NCCIDQ Examination? Will this minimize the appeal of the title “Interior Architect”?

Do I ask too many questions?

ASID Counters Claims of Racial Bias In the Interior Design Profession

Wow……..the anti-ID regulationists finally played the race card.   ASID’s counter statement is well written.  Let’s hope it is well read.

https://www.asid.org/content/asid-defends-interior-designer-capital-hill

All that said, the licensed design professions have struggled to increase racial diversity.  We acknowledge this and from my experience there is, and has been, a concerted effort to address this issue.  To claim that we are conspiring to limit access to the profession due to race is simply politically correct race baiting in reverse.

Ain’t politics fun?

Defining Our Right to Work

Or in other words….what is our “work” and do we really have a “right” to it?

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER stumbled across this missive from the recent American Institute of Architects State Government Network forum.

http://www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/aia/documents/pdf/AIAB106707.pdf

I can only assume that this presentation was not meant to be public knowledge and would not be surprised if the link dies…..none the less if you are quick you will note that the issue of interior designers seeking permitting rights and those who claim to be “Interior Architects” was a main topic of conversation.  See slides #9-#14

My take away is that the AIA is clearly drawing a line in the sand by defining what a Registered Architect can legally design and what a non-licensed Architect can design…or get built.

Actually anybody can “design” a building…..getting it permitted and constructed is the real key.  I won’t even touch the issue of “Interior Architecture”……. I digress.

Back to the SGN network document.  We, as a profession, have struggled with how to define what it is that we do, where we do it and how.  Ultimately much of what passes as the common definition of “Interior Design” is simply intended to distinguish us from interior decorators. When it comes to defining our actual scope of responsibility we are not quite sure.  We know we should be able to submit permit documents for our own work but what exactly is that “work”?  Is it anything less than 5,000 square feet as some practice legislation defines or is it interior work that does not affect base building life safety systems, building egress and tenant separation? There are several attempts to define the scope of our rightful work out there….this is not a good thing.  Well why we have been trying to figure that out the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) has provided their own answer…. To wit;

“Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent: 1. The practice of architecture performed in connection with any of the following:

(a) A detached single- or two-family dwelling and any accessory buildings incidental thereto, unless an architect is otherwise required by law or by the building authority having jurisdiction over the project; or

(b) Farm buildings, including barns, silos, sheds, or housing for farm equipment and machinery, livestock, poultry, or storage, if such structures are designed to be occupied by no more than 10 persons; or

(c) Any construction of particular features of a building, if the construction of such features does not require the issuance of a permit under any applicable building code and does not affect structural or other life-safety aspects of the building. ”  ( http://www.ncarb.org/~/media/files/pdf/special-paper/legislative_guidelines.pdf ) 

So if your brain is not frozen at this point what this means is that NCARB has clearly defined our scope of practice to small scale residential, barns, silos or any construction that does not require the issuance of a permit.   “Duh.- I knew that!” you might say……

My point is…if we can’t define where the line of work truly lies then we need to accept that others are going to define it for us……and we are not going to like it.

Now does anybody know a good floorcovering material for a grain silo?

ANOTHER LOOK AT INTERIOR DESIGN LEGISLATION

OR  54% ≠ 17%

Ask any professional interior designer how many states have Interior Design laws on the books and you might get a range of puzzled looks to quasi-knowledgable swags at a number.  The common message touted by ID organizations is that a little more than 1/2 of the states legislate Interior Design or somewhere between 26 and 27 states or about 54% (more if you include D.C., Puerto Rico). And let’s not forget Canada since our practice is closely aligned due to similar building design regulations. One of our professional organizations cannot recognize our northern neighbors since they are an “American” only entity- fair enough.  Our other professional organizations do acknowledge Canadian ID laws but understandably it is hard to compare Canadian ID laws with American ID laws.  For instance Canadians can own the term “Interior Design” and redefine it to suit- we cannot.  None the less those ID’ers that work within code regulated design environments have that common bond regardless of national boundaries.  But back to the U.S.

So should you know an ID professional that claims to be knowledgable in this aspect of our professional identity try asking them the same question. PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER bets that few will be able to cite accurate numbers. That is because the issue of ID legislation is a constantly changing mind numbing mess of political processes, legal nuances and terminology that only a constitutional scholar (or anti-ID legislation lawyer) might appreciate.  We designers are not so inclined.  There are no pretty pictures, haute design or bright shiny finishes involved to attract our attention.  Which given legislation’s importance to our professional identity is a shame.  Apparently many ID’ers are comfortable that the profession is recognized in more than half of the U.S. and that somebody else is trying to pass a bill here and a law there.  All in all it looks like we are progressing very well….but are we?

Well let’s blow away some of the smoke and crack a few mirrors.

NCIDQ recently composed a  version of the Interior Design legislative map of the U.S. and Canada that takes a different tack;

QualifiedWork3

The defining distinction in NCIDQ’s map is whether or not existing ID laws allow qualified ID’ers to sign/seal and submit their own documents to obtain a building permit for their work. Period.

You may need to read that twice….it is a critical yet very subtle distinction.  What this means is that all of those laws that regulate the title “Interior Designer” in all of their numerous incarnations (as described ad infinitum in this blog) do not factor into the legislative equation.  Let’s look at this another way.

Once upon a time there was a concerted effort to redefine the term/title “Interior Design(er)” legally.  Hence the litany of title acts in this country.  But the paradigm has changed and the goal of our regulatory effort has evolved to create legislation that allows qualified and vetted professional ID’ers to sign/seal their documents and pull permits for their work.  You may have heard it framed as “practicing to the fullest of our potential” or “earning the right to work” or “parity with other licensed design professionals”- something to that effect.  This is now our collective goal.   Title acts do not achieve this goal. If you agree then we need to measure our progress on that front and in that light.

With that….if you really look at the map of the U.S. at least….there are only 7 states and 2 territories that provide for some form of permitting privilege. Mathematically that is only 14%.  Canada seems to be doing a better job as their map is almost all colored in (that has to be good right?) but they still have differences in what they can call themselves vs. how they actually practice.  I continue to include Canada in this discussion, as does NCIDQ, because they are our allies….but again to keep the math simple I focus on domestic U.S. regulations.

So in the U.S. at least some say the ID legislative math works out to 54+/-%…..I say it is only 14%.   That is a big delta.  If my math is wrong please correct me.

Now some will say that Title Acts are simply a first step in the process to gain the ability to sign/seal and submit for permit- and they should count.  Well that may be, and Minnesota and Georgia are examples of success in this regard*, but they are hard-won rather circuitous efforts and by far exceptions to the title act paradigm.  The California CID contingent will undoubtedly proclaim that they have a working sign and seal permitting process, the success of which is suspect (cue the CCIDC counter claims*).

If we agree that the objective is practice legislation that provides us a license to practice similar to any other licensed building design profession then that should be our goal and our collective focus.  We should not be wasting our valuable time trying to sort out the qualified and the not via potentially unconstitutional and exclusionary title laws- see Louisiana.  So what should all of these states with title acts do?   Well I can’t answer that one.  I guess either start over or try to move toward some form of practice licensure or permitting process that follows our model legislative language** more closely.  We are going to have to deal with this issue though.  We have to be on the same page if we are to be taken seriously on the legal front.

My main point in this post is that the picture, or the ID legislative map, is not entirely as rosy as we may believe.  This is how I see it.  Maybe it is time to start being honest with ourselves.

* To my knowledge there is no data that verifies the success of designers in those states being able to permit their own work (note to ID policy research wonks and/or ID legal advocates).

** Currently there is no model language for ID coalitions and their legislative efforts.