Category: Uncategorized

ADVANCING THE PROFESSION OF INTERIOR DESIGN- STEP ONE

STEP #1

The profession has to muster its collective courage, creative problem solving skills, and intellectual capacity to address the disparity between those interior designers who do not practice in code regulated building design environments and those who are educated/trained/certified to practice in code regulated design environments.

 

building-permit 24HPERMIT DOT COM                                                             https://www.24hplans.com/do-i-need-a-building-permit/

Per my previous post on this subject I surmised that the identity crisis within the profession creates several impediments to advancing the profession.  My main premise is that not everyone is on board with the idea that we have to advance the profession on any level but in particular by way of regulation and licensure.  Consequently the numbers simply are not there for us to realize any momentum, or inertia, to move the profession forward on the legislative front.

So in that rather dim light how, or where, do we start in order to successfully advance the profession?

First we have to accept the fact that there are two types of interior spaces. Those that are regulated by codes and standards ……….and those that are not. PERIOD. END OF STORY……Okay not the end of this blog though.

Consequently there are two factions of Interior Designers…those that work within code regulated building design environments and those whose work is not encumbered by the restrictions of codes, standards, and concern for their clients health, life safety, and well-being.

Of course there are exceptions.  There are some interior designers that are able to cross-over into both aspects of the interior design realm outlined above, hence the title “generalist”. To be clear these generalists must prove that they are knowledgeable of codes and standards that apply to their permitted work in order to truly be considered generalists. So for all intents and purposes of this argument we consider these generalist interior designers to be code regulated.

And yes we also have a litany of ways in which we have tried to distinguish the qualified, code regulated, and professional from the innately talented, self-proclaimed interior decorator/designers. For example you can be a Certified Interior Designer, a State Certified Interior Designer, a Registered Interior Designer, a State Registered Interior Designer, or a Licensed Interior Designer.  But to the general public we are still Interior Designers.  A licensed barber does not mean by default that an unlicensed barber does not know how to cut hair. A subtle nuance no doubt.  Yet that is how I see our various labels of interior design at this point in our professional journey. No matter how we parse our legal and ethical obligations or regulate titles or add credentials to our names….. we are still “Interior Designers” and that is how society sees us for better or worse….generally worse.

So back to my point.  Again we have code regulated interior designers and we have unregulated interior designers.  Note I am not trying to apply a title to this rather nuanced distinction. I simply want to clarify this fundamental point.  More on the label issue later.

And if you think I am making this bi-polar identity issue up you need to know that this crisis has haunted the profession for decades, as noted in this lament by Florence Knoll in 1964 and this reflective editorial by Walter Ford II penned in 1967 (date crossed out on copy- reprinted by Contract Design Magazine in 2010).  Let me reiterate our identity crisis is now one half of a century old.  While we may be a “young profession” (compared to Neanderthal cave decorators) it is clear that we have not made much progress on our identity crisis. Basically while a few scholars have tried to force the profession to ponder our conflicted professional identity nobody has been willing to say “Enough! It is time to get serious”.

If you are keeping up with me you should be thinking….”yes…yes PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER that is why there is a growing contingent of interior designers who are abandoning the label “designer” and adding the title “architect” to their name even though they are not architects”.  While they are not shouting their disdain for the failure of interior design to fully describe their work, or provide a modicum of respect for their professional identity, their actions certainly speak volumes.  Frankly I do not blame them.

If you do not already know where I stand on this topic let’s just say I have been calling ‘ENOUGH”! for at least 10 years.

IT’S TIME.  LET’S DO THIS.

Call it a strategic separation.  Call it a divorce.  It is time to distance ourselves from our eternally conflicted interior decorator/designer past.  Hopefully the separation can be amicable..but if not then so be it.  Such a paradigmatic change is not going to be easy, and there may be some hurt egos/feelings, but we have to stop being everything to everybody if we are to have any control over our own professional identity.  This is the only way we are going to garner the numbers of like-minded individuals who are willing to invest the time, energy, and resources necessary to change the paradigm

I believe we can do this potentially nasty bit of business and professional housecleaning but it is going to take more than this diatribe to make it so.  As Stacy Wieland explains in her article on how individuals and organizations frame identity constructs this will require individuals within the profession to undergo a “dynamic back and forth relationship” in order to settle on an identity construct that is amenable to the “stencils” among the profession.  I understand that this platform has a very narrow market and limited, if any, influence but I know my mother reads it…so for me that is a start.

Now if you are still following me and see the need for, and benefit of, forcing a divorce between unregulated interior designers/decorators and those who practice in code regulated interior design your next question is probably something to the effect of… “what in the Sam Hill do we call this new form of interior design?”

Ahhh yes the age-old question and the one that is most difficult to answer……….which makes a perfect segue to my Step #2 “The profession must better define itself and promote that message to the public”

Stay tuned.

In Defense of Interior Decoration?

https://www.stevenstolmaninc.com/single-post/2017/07/16/In-Defense-of-Decorators

 

MoltingOwl

On the surface the above blog post ruffled my PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER feathers….Mr. Stolman clearly blurs the line between interior decoration and Interior Design which is a particular sore point with moi……..but.

While I appreciate Mr. Stolman’s impassioned plea for relevance I wonder if interior decoration just might wither away.  Maybe interior decoration will become crushed under the weight of its inability to add anything resembling real value to our increasingly harried and techno-focused lives in which the quality of those lives is getting harder and harder to manage.  Certainly it has always been an elitist pursuit and with the redistribution of wealth in the world, eliminating the middle and upper middle class, the market for pure decoration-as-art services is getting narrower and narrower.

Case in point http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/business/interior-decorator-pascale-duwat-closes-showroom-palm-beach/SRcBfTX2WbuL3EpM8oMI1N/ 

As Mr. Stolman notes technology has actually lowered the standard for entry into the interior decoration occupational domain.  Why pay when you can do it yourself?

With no real technical skills or body of knowledge to master before proclaiming oneself an interior decorator the occupation of interior decoration has always been more of an art than a necessity.  I now see a bleak future for the occupation of decoration.  Maybe that is just me hoping…….

Now we, the professional Interior Designers, have to make sure we do not suffer the same fate as predicted in this article;

https://www.inc.com/alex-moazed/is-the-interior-design-industry-getting-disrupted.html

 

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

IF WE SPEND 90% OF OUR TIME INDOORS WHO REALLY IS BEST QUALIFIED TO CREATE THAT SPACE?

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that humans (at least in the U.S.) spend 85%-90% of their time indoors¹  While this is old news to many and numerous environmental/behavioral scientists,  design scholars, IAQ advocates and professional organizations have referenced this fact, I was reminded of the importance of the “design” of interior space after reading this missive from the American Institute of Architects;

http://www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/aia/documents/pdf/aiab105700.pdf

While we could spend decades arguing and investing intellectual capital trying to prove which profession is best suited to design interior space, at the expense of actually improving the quality of those interior spaces, PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER wishes that we all could learn to play nicely in the indoor sandbox.

I know that there are numerous examples of multi-disciplinary collaborations in which Architects have relied on Interior Designers to help craft healthy and safe interior environments that enhance the client’s edifice (let’s not loose sight of who really “owns” the inside of our buildings) and their quality of life.  I also know there are qualified Interior Designers that have engaged Architects and Landscape Architects to help them create a holistic building design solution.  Sure there are exceptions to those rules in which a sole practicing architect has created a successful edifice in which he/she designed the landscape, the shell and the inside spaces including F.F.&E, lighting, finishes, hardware, accessories, artwork, etc.  However, this occurs primarily in the residential realm which truth be known is actually dominated by builders and developers not trained as architects or designers.  We should all be concerned that whoever creates our interior spaces is trained and qualified to do so and while architects may often be the lead on such efforts they know that this is simple due diligence in assembling their team of experts.

This should be the crux of the above AIA disinformation campaign.

In addition any architect worth their training knows that the design of new edifices is a holistic process that equally considers the exterior with the interior and the relationship between the two realities.  It should not be an inside-out or outside-in proposition.  This paradigm certainly changes if the exterior is existing and the design effort address only the interior spaces and functions. Kind of throws the inside-out/outside-in model out the window (most likely specified by an “exterior architect”) doesn’t it?  Yes, yes I am well aware of the contextual issues inherent in the restoration or re-purposing of an existing building and those are important.  But again any qualified designer knows this.

Can we just stop the territorial (literally) pissing (figuratively) matches and accept that the complexities inherent in the creation of safe and healthy interior spaces require the expertise of many qualified design professionals?

Wishful thinking I know.

NOTE 1: In case you have been living in a cave (which BTW is “indoors”) or your head has been in the sand (which if beach based…you may want to keep in place) here is some proof:

https://indoor.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-47713.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20040930

https://ofmpub.epa.gov/eims/eimscomm.getfile?p_download_id=458976

 

 

CALIFORNIA DREAMING

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has posted many times regarding the issue of California and its private self-regulated, voluntary Interior Design certification program.  While California is the largest interior design market in the nation it remains an anomaly in the big picture of the domestic U.S. Interior Design profession’s efforts to establish nationwide practice licensure status.

I have just finished reading and trying to understand the latest effort to better align the CCIDC efforts to do what it believes is in the best interest’s of California’s Certified Interior Design community with the IDCC’s goal of opening the door to some sort of mutually beneficial effort. Not sure I fully understand IDCC’s approach but it is clear that CCIDC is not interested.

You can read that exchange here; https://ccidc.org/SunsetReviewNews/idcc-ccidc-letters.html

Although I am simply an outside observer here and one might say I do not have a dog in this hunt-well you would be wrong.  We all have an interest in how California,the other 49 states and 10 Canadian Provinces present a unified and strong professional front.

Sadly being able to play nicely in our one big sandbox is just a dream.

Webpbg-sand27-sandbox

INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE vs. INTERIOR DESIGN

BREAKING NEWS…THIS JUST IN: TAKE THIS SURVEY….PLEEEEAAASE!

https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/interior_architecture

OR- What’s in a Name Redux Part 3 (Rev. 2) Release 3.2.

So it’s been awhile since PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER posted. I have been busy making toothpicks out of logs. But honestly not much has been happening on the Interior Design identity and regulation front lately.  That is until a couple of things scrolled across my Google Glass recently that prompted me to take pencil to paper…er mouse to pad…

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My alma matter Florida State University has decided to change the title of its Interior Design Program to the Department of Interior Architecture & Design   Not earth shattering news but this was after a recent title tweak by the Interior Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to the Interior Architecture Undergraduate Program  -dropping the term “Design” altogether.  These are two highly regarded INTERIOR DESIGN programs. This of course is in addition to numerous other interior design programs that have already adopted the title “Interior Architecture”.  I am certain there are more waiting to jump from the Interior Design bandwagon.  This, as you know, is not a new phenomenon in academia.  Interior Architecture degree programs have existed since the 1960’s in the U.S. and earlier in Europe. I am not ready to call these recent Interior Design conversions a trend…let’s just say it’s a thing.  A thing we need to be aware of.

Full disclosure I have not spoken to anyone in either of the above programs regarding their title shift. But I have plenty of opinions on the reasoning behind and of course the implications thereof.

Okay so why the worry PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER?  “Afraid you might have to change your domain name or something?”   

Good question.  I was not even going to make a point of this department title “thing” until my Google Eyes filled with this missive by Dak Kopec, respected educator and co-editor of The Routledge Companion for Architecture Design and Practice, regarding what he see’s as a trend in the field of Architecture;

“What are some current trends in the field?

Some of the current trends include Interior Design moving closer and integrating with Architecture to form the program nomenclature of Interior Architecture, and we have already seen the integration of landscaping to form the specialization of Landscape Architecture. While Landscape Architecture has already folded itself into the larger discipline of Architecture, Interior Architecture is only at the first evolutionary stages. Today, Interior Architecture continues to be a separate disciple with a separate professional accreditation body, however the use of the word “architecture” to general populace means that Interior Architecture is a branch of the greater foundational profession of Architecture. The current trajectory thus indicates that Interior Architecture will eventually become folded into the greater field and discipline of Architecture.” https://www.routledge.com/architecture/posts/9277?utm_source=shared_link&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=SBU3_mbs_3rf_8sl_1arh_ain16_stan16_X_X 

To be clear…Dr. Kopec’s assessment of Interior Design as we know it is simply not his opinion posted on some fly by night blog that nobody cares to read except the author. He is a vetted, published and widely disseminated author.  His opinion on this topic is not unique and it represents a major school of thought.

So there you have the recent trifecta of actual and perceived semantic shifts that I believe have MAJOR implications for the title and the act of “Interior Design” on the academic and professional levels.

So my point here folks is there are many of us who believe that the term/title “Interior Design” no longer applies.  It is a liability.  It fails to describe us.  Okay I do not disagree.  But if we are going to keep our collective head in the proverbial professional sand while this title shift occurs organically, or by happenstance, we may be surprised by what we see when we do pull our heads out.

Makes it a bit of challenge to demand the public’s respect if we do not know what to call ourselves.

My final plea is this; if we are going to go there (IA) we better know where there is.  Based on my POV…we don’t have a clue.

Now excuse me while I see if the domain name PROFESSIONALINTERIORARCHITECT.com is taken.

Rev. 2/18/2016    And then there is this…………

“Yet, I would suggest that fashion shares a common malaise with interior design, one that is at once borne out of shame, and an ethos that takes queers for granted given their purported ubiquity. The effects of the stereotype of the gay decorator are still tangible in a profession so burdened by shaming that not only is “interior designer” often preferred over “decorator” but the more “manly,” and by association straight, designation of “interior architect” is advocated by students and professionals alike, both gay and straight. How might we explain such a panic beyond the contemporary moment? In both the extant scholarship and popular culture to date, the “gay decorator” has been both omnipresent and yet oddly invisible, becoming the spectre that haunts the profession.”

Potvin, J. (2016), The Pink Elephant in the Room: What Ever Happened to Queer Theory in the Study of Interior Design 25 Years on?. Journal of Interior Design. doi:10.1111/joid.12068

Me thinks Mr. Potvin hit the ole nail on the head.  We are running away from ourselves.