Tag: interior decoration

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?

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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HOME DEPOT OFFERS INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICE

http://www.retaildive.com/news/home-depot-launches-interior-design-service/448020/

Well why not?

And we wonder why we get no respect.

HOME DEPOT OFFERS RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN SERVICE

Ahem…….why not? This is not a rhetorical question.  If you consider that the majority of single family homes in this country are not designed/built by “Architects” but are built by contractors, builders and developers who have a knack for adding gables and dormers to stick-frame boxes then why shouldn’t Home Depot begin promoting DIY home design and construction?  All they need is a licensed contractor to pull permits and viola Joe and Susie Blow can “design” every facet of their homes.

Bernie Marcus…you are welcome.

MY C.I.D. CREDENTIAL CAN BEAT UP YOUR C.I.D.® APPELLATION

Following up on my recent post regarding California’s Certified Interior Design, or C.I.D. credential I came across this recent missive from the CCIDC regarding the legal rights to the “C.I.D.” credential.

https://ccidc.org/consumer-alerts.html

Seems those pesky decorators at the Certified Interior Decorators International also lay claim to the acronym C.I.D. as in Certified Interior Decorator.

http://www.cidinternational.org/membership.php

I have mentioned this little alphabet tug-o-war, or mudfight, depending on your metaphorical preferences, in several previous posts and really try not to think about it too much in the hope it will all go away.  Unfortunately the three letters of C, I, and D, in that order, make for a perfect credential in our industry.

Oh the irony.

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photo credit- country-life.tumblr.com

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

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-REGULATION & THE DECORATOR vs. DESIGNER TITLE MATCH

WWE-Triple-Threat-Tag-Title-Match,-RLA-Melb-10.11.2007

I have spent a lot of bytes on this blog pointing out the drawbacks of relying on Uncle Sam to validate our professional status via title and practice legislation.  Unfortunately we tend to lump our decorator vs. designer identity crisis in with the massive effort to gain regulation that codifies our right to work in code regulated building design environments.  This broad objective for legislation causes confusion among our policy makers and raises the ire of those who feel that we are infringing on their rights to practice as interior designers.

While some see the effort to advance the profession using government regulation as the only path to distinguishing the qualified, ( earned credentials from “NCIDQ Certified” to “Licensed” to “State Registered Interior Designer/RID” to “State Certified/CID” to “ASID/IIDA/IDC/ARIDO etc”) from those who are unqualified (“Hmmm my Mom tells me I have a flair for color and I feel like being an Interior Designer today!”), I maintain that it is our responsibility to enforce the distinction.

We have to prove to Uncle Sam that we are serious about our right to work in code regulated design environments with other licensed design professionals before we can expect his full attention and respect.

In other words, it is not Uncle Sam’s (or Mother Canada’s- for our Northern neighbors) job to distinguish Interior Designers from interior decorators.  Unfortunately this common perception that interior decoration and Interior Design are interchangeable is the bane of our effort to advance the code regulated aspect of the profession. How much time have you spent trying to explain the difference between interior decoration and Interior Design?  Frankly the differences are so subtle that it is virtually impossible to educate the uninformed in an elevator pitch.  Hell I have been doing this 35+ years and I have trouble defining the nuances in way that succinctly defines our differences.  We need to stop with the academic and abstract explanations and start citing tangible and justifiable examples.

Regrettably,  for the vetted design professional, anybody can call themselves an “Interior Designer” and no amount of legislation and regulation will change that. So how do we earn respect as regulated design professionals whose primary focus is the health, safety and well-being of our clients, if others continue to blur the distinction between vetted design professionals and those who decorate and claim to be “professional” or “certified” when they are not?

Whose job is it to make sure the code regulated Interior Design professional domain is clearly defined and defended?

The answer is that it is up to us to make sure those who claim to be “qualified”, “certified”, “registered”, “professional” and most definitely “credentialed” are in fact what they claim.  While it may seem elitist or protectionist to police such claims it is essential if we want to add value to our conflicted and contested profession.

We have to ask ourselves “can the general public understand and respect the difference between someone who claims to be an “Interior Designer” and someone who claims to be a “Certified Interior Designer”…particularly when they are practicing in a state that does not have title legislation in place?

I find the efforts of the Certified Financial Planners to promote their message of qualification to the general public extremely relatable.  The CFP board seems to be focused and proactive in this regard.  The CFP enforcement of professional standards is admirable. Their national campaign to help the general public understand the nuances between a financial planner and a Certified Financial Planner are quite effective in my humble opinion;

 

Keep in mind  that it is a violation of professional ethics (ASID, IIDA, NCIDQ) to claim you have achieved professional status, or earned professional certification, within those organizations, when you have not.  That line is typically very clear and inarguable.  Of course there are many other forms of “certification” and many ways to define “professional” but to claim you are a member of the profession it is easy to confirm- or should be.

We need to do more of this self-policing and we need to start calling out the violators wherever and whenever we can.  We failed to take ownership of the title “Interior Design” in the courts but it is not illegal to begin a campaign to redefine Interior Design by shifting public perception…..or helping people understand what it is not.

Case in point.  We have all witnessed the evolution of on-line design service providers…much to our chagrin.  Laurel and Wolf Interior Design seems to be one site that has gained traction in the competitive dotcom decorator posing as designer foray.  I appreciate the convenience for those who have the money to spend on interior decorator services and I appreciate the fact that many interior designers and decorators can earn income from this site.  We should not denigrate them but we certainly can differentiate by countering their claims.

So is this really “Interior Design“?  And are Laurel and Wolf’s “top designers” actually “certified” Interior Designers?

Well in my not so humble opinion NO- it is not “Interior Design”. This site is clearly about “Interior Decoration”  and is in fact the epitome of decoration (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Let’s start calling it what it is…a website that promotes residential interior decoration. Again not that there is anything wrong with that.

To the more important question of certification or qualification…… Let’s just say that Laurel and Wolf plays fast and loose with the idea of “Certified” designers.  Many of the designer profiles do not have any certification at all and several list unaccredited degree and academic certificates of dubious origin as confirmation of being “certified” Interior Designers.  A degree is not the same as being “certified”…that is a big stretch.

Let’s start reporting those individuals who may be bending the truth about their real “certifications”.  ASID/IIDA/NCIDQ should all have easily accessible rosters of current/active dues paying members so we can confirm false claims of professional or associate membership where that applies.  With that they should also be able to enforce their membership rules.

Other cases in point. Here are a few more examples of individuals, companies and trade practices that need to be continually called out for dubious if not deceptive portrayal of professional code regulated Interior Design services and/or interior decoration presented as Interior Design.  Again I appreciate the fact that companies and people need to earn a living but to claim you are doing something you are not is unacceptable and compromises my ability to gain respect for my skills and for accredited Interior Design students to justify their significant tuition investment.

Ethan Allen’s “Free Design Services”   Our design knowledge should not be free.  Don’t even get me started on trade only pricing practices.  Ethan Allen is free to run their business however they see fit.  However, we are also free to use their questionable ethics as an example of who we are not and what we refuse to do.

“Designer” Showhouses…they are decorator showhouses…period. Let’s start calling them what they are.

Kwikie design diploma or certificate courses promising successful careers as certified “Interior Designers”.  They aren’t and they don’t!  We have to have the collective fortitude to defend the term and title of interior design particularly when an on-line decorator certificate mill makes the following claim;

‘This online interior design course is a comprehensive program that will teach you everything you need to know to become a professional interior designer.’

Again it isn’t and it will not.  If nothing else we can help unsuspecting decorator wannabe’s understand that they are being mislead.  If we do not set their record straight, these decorator mills will simply continue to produce interior decorators who are empowered to misrepresent the profession of “Interior Design”.

Finally our professional membership organizations must do a better job of holding their professional members to the highest standards.  Again I fully respect a designer/decorator’s right to make a living and their freedom to self promote..but if you are going to sell pillows please understand that your message has broader implications for our effort to combat certain stereotypes.  I am sure this will tick a few folks off….I accept that…cue the criticisms.

We have to stop being concerned who we are upsetting….if they are clearly in the wrong then let’s diplomatically help them understand the errors of their ways.  We have to stop trying to be everything to everybody.  We have to accept being offensive so we can stop being defensive.

Or maybe…..just maybe I need to heed the advice of drag star and renown interior designer Ru Paul and stop taking this stuff so seriously;

AD: Would you say that drag influences your interior design sense?

RuPaul: Absolutely! Yes! Drag is all about reminding people to not take life too seriously. Our goal, our mission, is to say: This body you’re in is temporary. Have fun with it. Dress it up. Use all the colors in the rainbow. It’s there to enhance your experience. You are God, for lack of a better term, experiencing humanity. Have fun with it. Don’t hurt anybody else. Don’t take it too seriously.

(image: By jjron (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons )